Searching alien life in outer atmosphere

October 3rd, 2010 - 6:08 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 3 (IANS) Life from outer space could be surviving on the fringes of our planet’s atmosphere.

British scientists, working with the European Space Agency, will this week launch a balloon carrying instruments to search the stratosphere for bugs and other microorganisms.

They believe there could be species capable of surviving in the high levels of radiation, extreme cold and near vacuum found on the edge of space.

The organisms could be entirely new to science and may even have been brought here from outer space by hitching a ride on asteroids or comets, reports the Telegraph.

If they succeed, it would be the first time alien life had been captured and would fortify theories that all life on Earth was brought here from elsewhere in the galaxy.

They also hope they may find new types of bacteria that have been thrown up into the atmosphere by erupting volcanoes.

Clara Juanes-Vallejo, who is leading the research team at the Cranfield University in Britain, said: “There are theories that life on Earth came from space, so we need to know that life can survive the conditions of space for this to be true.

“The environment in the stratosphere is very extreme. It can get down to minus 90 degrees Celcius and is a near vacuum. There is also a lot of harmful radiation as there is not the same level of protection as we get from the atmosphere.”

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