Little red cells from outer space?

Here’s a weird little story from the world of science. has an overview of a paper that discusses an anomalous ‘red rain’ that fell on parts of Kerala in southern India back in 2001. Here’s a snippet for you:

The mystery began when the scarlet showers containing the red specks hit parts of India in 2001. Researchers said the particles might be dust or a fungus, but it remained unclear.

The new paper includes a chemical analysis of the particles, a description of their appearance under microscopes and a survey of where they fell. It assesses various explanations for them and concludes that the specks, which vaguely resemble red blood cells, might have come from a meteor.

A peer-reviewed research journal, Astrophysics and Space Science, has agreed to publish the paper. The journal sometimes publishes unconventional findings, but rarely if ever ventures into generally acknowledged fringe science such as claims of extraterrestrial visitors.

If the particles do represent alien life forms, said Louis and Kumar, this would fit with a longstanding theory called panspermia, which holds that life forms could travel around the universe inside comets and meteors.

Much like the scientists themselves, I’m going to keep a cautios stance on this one. But the implications of what these findings *could* mean are nothing short of fantastic. It may be that life (albeit very basic forms of life, or simply the necessary building blocks thereof) is more common ‘out there’ than we had previously thought. I expect this one will hit the mainstream media in a week or so, and be run as the ‘silly science’ story by most outlets. Further developments could be very interesting though…watch this space!

(This story found on Slashdot)

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