Re: Flu From Outer Space

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Feb 05 2000 - 23:43:54 MST

On Sat, 5 Feb 2000, Mitchell Porter wrote:

> Amara suggested that I send this to the list...
> >I have before me a 1979 book by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe called
> >_Diseases from space_ [...]

While, I respect Hoyle's theories as well thought out (though
going against the conventional wisdom) and am mildly optimistic
about the possibility of microorganisms or their precursors
arriving from space (panspermia), I have to draw the line
at blaming the flu on this.

Variances in the flu (influenza) are quite adequately explained
by the multi-part genome that recombines with different strains
from ducks or pigs in farm settings producing new, more virulent
strains every few years. This is simple genetics. Spores from
outer space are not required!


> It's quite a visionary idea, though: clouds of quadrillions
> of bacteria, free-falling their way around the galaxy, a few
> occasionally getting hoovered up by a passing star, and living
> off interstellar organic chemicals.

True, but the major flaw is the lack of energy concentrations
to drive chemical reactions. This is life in a very slow lane.
Much better is that space serves as a stasis environment until
the next fertile location is encountered.


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