Nov 30, 2014 I Paul Seaburn

DNA Survives Trip Into Space: Proof We May Be ETs

For those who believe that life on Earth came from another planet or galaxy on an asteroid or a comet (panspermia), this is exciting news. Scientists attached DNA to the outside of a rocket and the strands survived the launch, trip into space and intense heat of re-entry intact

According to a recent report published in PLOS ONE, the purpose of the Texus-49 sub-orbital mission launched from Kiruna, Sweden, was to study the affect of gravity on the genes of human cells traveling inside the rocket. At the last minute, researchers from the University of Zurich painted small, double-stranded DNA molecules on the outside shell of the payload section of the rocket. On this sub-orbital flight, the exterior was exposed to temperatures exceeding 1,000°C (1,800°F).

Inspecting the rocket upon return, the scientists found that 53 per cent of the DNA remained in the grooves of screw heads and a third of it was fully functional. The DNA contained genes for fluorescence and antibiotic resistance and proved their functionality by transferring antibiotic resistance to bacteria and driving a fluorescent marker in cells.

Dr. Cora Thiel, one of researchers, said:

We were completely surprised to find so much intact and functionally active DNA.

What do these results mean? Professor Oliver Ullrich, who headed the test, explained:

This study provides experimental evidence that the DNA's genetic information is essentially capable of surviving the extreme conditions of space and the re-entry into Earth's dense atmosphere.

This also means that spaceships from Earth could contaminate other worlds with whatever might be attached to the outside, Ullrich warns.

The results show that it is by no means unlikely that, despite all the safety precautions, space ships could also carry terrestrial DNA to their landing site. We need to have this under control in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Remember the plankton found on the outside of the International Space Station? Perhaps those UFOs spotted near it are trying to wash off the outside.

DNA 570x480
Panspermia - not just a theory anymore?

Paul Seaburn
Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

Join MU Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions & much more! Subscribe Today!