Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology is a Sri Lankan-born British mathematician, astronomer, and astrobiologist of Sinhalese ethnicity. Along with collaborator Fred Hoyle, the two worked jointly for over 40 years as proponents of panspermia, the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by space dust and meteoroids. In 1974 they proposed the hypothesis that some dust in interstellar space was largely organic, later proven to be correct.
Regarding the recent coronavirus pandemic, Professor Wickramasinghe noted that the most remarkable aspect of the outbreak was its origins localized to a specific province in China. The professor suggested that panspermia was the origin of the pandemic.
In October last year a fragment of a comet exploded in a brief flash in North-East China.
“We think it probable that this contained embedded within it a monoculture of infective 2019-nCoV virus particles that survived in the interior of the incandescent meteor.” Professor Wickramasinghe told Express. “We consider the seemingly outrageous possibility that hundreds of trillions of infective viral particles were then released embedded in the form of fine carbonaceous dust. We believe infectious agents are prevalent in space, carried on comets, and can fall towards Earth through the troposphere.”
“These, we think, can and have in the past gone on to bring about human disease epidemics.”
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe have advanced the argument that various outbreaks of illnesses on Earth are of extraterrestrial origins, including the 1918 flu pandemic and certain outbreaks of polio and mad cow disease.
“We believe this could have happened with the novel coronavirus. While it is likely it arrived as a new infective agent, there could be an element of mutation triggered by DNA arriving in a similar manner. We have evidence that even in the human genome, 40 per cent of our DNA is viral, and it has been incorporated during our evolution. There is growing evidence that says this DNA comes from space and it is carried into our atmosphere on micro-meteorites before dissipating. It is then taken up by bacteria and viruses. That new insert could have come from space. This disturbing outbreak is due to this, there is no doubt meteorites carry living structures.”
In fact, panspermia has already happened, initiated by a technical glitch in the failed Israeli moon-shot. After eight years and $95 million, the Beresheet lander failed in its final moments when a gyroscopic failure sent it crashing into the moon’s surface at over 300 mph on April 11. Several thousand moss piglets, technically known as tardigrades, were placed aboard the lunar lander by the Arch Mission Foundation (AMF), embedded in epoxy on sheets of nickel.
Commonly known as water-bears, they are among the most resilient animals known, found almost everywhere even in the most extreme environments. Able to survive exposure to extreme temperatures, extreme pressures (both high and low), air deprivation, radiation, dehydration, and starvation. Tardigrades have survived all five mass extinction events that have occurred in the earth’s history.
They can also go without food or water for more than 30 years, only to later rehydrate, forage, and reproduce. In 2007, a NASA experiment determined that Tardigrades were the first known animal to survive in outer space. It has been speculated that the tardigrades on board Beresheet could have survived the crash and may be revived at some time in the future.
“The pattern of further global spread of the new coronavirus is likely to follow a high level of person-to-person infectivity, the virus will then acquire endemic status,” the professor concluded.