SCIENTISTS believe they have found alien life arriving to Earth from space – in the skies above Chester.
A balloon was launched 27 kms into the stratosphere from a field near Dunham-on-the-Hill during a meteor shower.
When the balloon returned, the team of scientists found small organisms that could have come from outer space. They believe the discovery could be revolutionary.
Professor Milton Wainwright, who led the team from the University of Sheffield, said: “If life does continue to arrive from space, then we have to completely change our view of biology and evolution.
“In the absence of a mechanism by which large particles like these can be transported to the stratosphere, we can only conclude the biological entities originated from space.
“Our conclusion is that life is continually arriving to earth from space. Life isn’t restricted to our planet and it almost certainly did not originate here.”
The balloon’s microscope studs were only exposed to the atmosphere when it reached heights of between 22 and 27 kms.
Once the balloon landed safely and intact near Wakefield, the scientists discovered that they had captured a diatom fragment and some unusual biological entities from the stratosphere, all too large to have come from earth.
Prof Wainwright said: “Most people assume these biological particles must have just drifted up to the stratosphere from earth but it’s generally accepted a particle of the size found can’t be lifted from earth to heights of, for example, 27 kms.
“The only known exception is by a violent volcanic eruption, none of which has occurred within three years of the sampling trip.”
Prof Wainwright said stringent precautions had been taken against the possibility of contamination during sampling and processing, and said the group was confident that the biological organisms can only come from the stratosphere.
The team is hoping to confirm their results by carrying out the test again next month to coincide with the Haley’s Comet-associated meteorite shower when there will be large amounts of cosmic dust.
It is hoped that more new, or unusual, organisms will be found.
Prof Wainwright said the next step would be to carry out tests on the samples believed to be from space.
He added: “If the ratio of certain isotopes gives one number, then our organisms are from earth. If it gives another, then they are from space.
“The tension will obviously be almost impossible to live with.”
See full story in the Chester Leader