Feeds

Douglas Adams was RIGHT! TINY ALIENS are invading Earth, say boffins

Typically get swallowed by a small dog

High performance access to file storage

Aliens rained down on Earth from space, possibly sprinkling microbes on our once lifeless planet, according to boffins from the University of Sheffield.

And the scientists claim they managed to photograph one of the extraterrestrial blighters from a balloon.

The balloon was launched to a height of 27km, which the eggheads argue puts it above the usual height of any terrestrial microbes floating around the atmosphere. To collect the samples, the balloon was fitted with a drawer which could be opened and closed remotely. Once the balloon reached altitude, the boffins on the ground opened the drawer and let space gunk samples fall into it.

Careful cleaning of the sample drawer, along with a shield to prevent contamination from the balloon itself, means – so the scientists say – the microbes collected at that altitude must have come from space itself.

Alien Invasion

An electron microscope spots the blighters in the act of invasion

The study, published in the (get your pinch of salt ready) Journal of Cosmology [PDF, suspiciously easy to read], points out that organisms at 27km must have either floated up or fallen down to get to that height.

Crucially, for the “aliens from space” theory, the study's authors point out that the samples the balloon collected were too large to have floated up to such an altitude, where air pressure drops to a fraction of its level on the ground.

Volcanoes can, apparently, generate the required updraft but none were erupting in the three years prior to the July launch, which took place in Chester, north west England. This leaves us with the irrefutable conclusion that aliens are falling to Earth in huge numbers.

Panspermia, the theory that life on Earth originated from space, has various adherents, and it's true that life on our planet sprung up suspiciously quickly from randomly-mixed amino acids. But with a sample size of one it's impossible to tell if the Earth is typical, or a freak, the anthropic principle demands that Earth supports life (so we can be here to observe it, in brief) – but makes no such requirement anywhere else.

Monumental discoveries require monumental proofs, and one sample trip isn't enough. The team will repeat the process next month, and other teams will hopefully replicate their work. The report cites Occam's Razor while arguing that it's quite likely aliens fell on our heads; we reckon sample contamination remains the most obvious explanation for now.

Only repeated experimentation will establish if the Sheffield team really has found the ultimate source of life on Earth. We'll leave you with this quote from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. ®

For thousands more years the mighty ships tore across the empty wastes of space and finally dived screaming on to the first planet they came across - which happened to be the Earth - where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.