I agree that this is quite hyped. When discovering a previously unknown
bacterial strain at an altitude of 10 miles, it seems a more reasonable
hypothesis that the bacteria originated terrestrially and has evolved to
exist at that altitude, rather than supposing that it was deposited there
by a passing comet.
Bacteria are rather highly evolved in the grand scheme of things. If the
earth was indeed seeded extraterrestrially, I would expect those seeds to
be complex organic chemicals (which there are reasons to believe could form
in space) rather than complete organisms.
Scientific American had an article on the topic last year, which is
available online at
http://www.sciam.com/1999/0799issue/0799bernsteinmike.html (Sadly it is
quite poorly formatted in the online version.)
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