(The "SARS From Space Theory
", reposted by direction of the powers that be
into this node...)
In a rather counter-intuitive
theory, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe
of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology
has argued in a letter to the British medical journal The Lancet
that the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
originated from space.
As evidence for the plausibility of his theory, he points to an experiment he participated in, in which collection bags were launched into the stratosphere
, 41 kilometers above India
, and were found to contain microorganism
s which he was unable to culture
on terra firma
Dr. Wickramasinghe considers these organisms "highly evolved
", and postulates that historical events such as the plague of Athens
in the fifth century BC and the influenza epidemic of 1917
may also have originated from space-faring microorganisms.
Professor Wickramasinge explains that this idea is a logical extension of the "panspermia
theory" which postulates that the evolution of life began elsewhere in the cosmos
, and expanded to other planets via comet
Other researchers point to the similarity of the SARS coronavirus
to other viruses of mundanely Earthly origin, generally finding the theory "farfetched".
Sources: cnn.com, wired.com, theage.com.au, news.bbc.co.uk, globeandmail.com