Posted by: maboulette | October 9, 2020

UN’s World Food Program wins the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

The World Food Program on Friday won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity around the globe.  The announcement was made in Oslo by Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Nobel Committee.


The Nobel Committee said that the coronavirus pandemic has added to the hunger faced by millions of people around the world and called on governments to ensure that WFP and other aid organizations receive the financial support necessary to feed them.


There was no shortage of causes or candidates on this year’s list, with 211 individuals and 107 organizations nominated ahead of the Feb. 1 deadline.  However, the Norwegian Nobel Committee maintains absolute secrecy about whom it favors for arguably the world’s most prestigious prize.


The award comes with a 10-milion krona ($1.1 million) cash prize and a gold medal to be handed out at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death. This year’s ceremony will be scaled down due to the pandemic.


On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus.


Tuesday’s prize for physics honored breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of cosmic black holes.


The chemistry prize on Wednesday went to scientists behind a powerful gene-editing tool.


The literature prize was awarded to American poet Louise Glück on Thursday for her “candid and uncompromising” work.


Still to come next week is the prize for outstanding work in the field of economics.

Posted by: maboulette | September 26, 2020

Sowing the Seeds of Doubt

President Trump has been throwing everything he has at the 2020 election to make sure a favorable result or otherwise damage the outcome: Sowing doubt in the legitimacy of mail-in ballots. Screwing with the Postal Service that will handle them. Trying to recruit “law enforcement” as poll watchers. Flirting with delaying the election and openly stating that he will not accept any results he does not like.


Now the Trump campaign is said to be considering another, even more outrageous approach: In a thorough and deeply disturbing piece about the constitutional crisis that may await us between November 3 and the inauguration in January, the Atlantic’s Barton Gellman reports that the Trump campaign has been discussing “contingency plans to bypass the election results and appoint local electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority.” Citing the president’s baseless claims of fraud, Team Trump could ask GOP-controlled state governments to choose electors, completely ignoring an unfavorable or uncertain popular vote, state and national Republican sources told Gellman.

“The state legislatures will say, ‘All right, we’ve been given this constitutional power,’” a Trump adviser explained. “‘We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state.”


Does completely ignoring the will of the voters seem anti-democratic? Unconstitutional? Impossible? One would think. But as Gellman points out, however authoritarian this kind of end-around may seem, the Constitution does not forbid such a move, and it’s something the Trump campaign could pull off. Indeed, state Republican leaders have already casually indicated that they’d be all too happy to enable this kind of power grab.


Lawrence Tabas, chairman of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania, one of the swing states on which the 2020 race could hinge, told Gellman.

“I’ve mentioned it to them, and I hope they’re thinking about it too. It is one of the available legal options set forth in the constitution.”


Disturbing as the prospect of bypassing the popular vote in GOP-controlled battlegrounds may be, it’s but one of several liabilities in the electoral system Trump and his flunkies are trying to achieve this fall, ranging from complex legal fights to declaring absentee ballots fraudulent before they’ve even been processed to the possibility — likelihood? — that the president will simply pronounce himself the winner before all votes are tallied. While Joe Biden and the Democrats are sounding increasingly loud alarms, it remains unclear what they can do to prevent the country from sinking into this looming crisis. Only a quick and overwhelming Biden victory would certainly help, but it’s a tough offer:  While the Democrat retains a strong lead over his counterpart nationally, polls suggest the two are locked in tight races in several key states like GeorgiaIowaFlorida, and Arizona.  The idea that typically deep-red states like Texas and Georgia are in play for Biden would seem to reflect the president’s challenging reelection prospects—but those states all are controlled by Republican-majority legislatures, creating just the opening Trump needs to call the votes bogus and appoint electors that will decide in his favor. 


This is a dreadful scenario, and one that could be upon us in a little over a month. The normal campaign fare of stump speeches and debate performances and policy rollouts may help Biden win election over the unpopular Trump — but establishing the validity of that victory and actually taking office is another story. That, it seems, might require an extraordinary fight against an onslaught of dirty tricks for which there’s no easy defense.

Posted by: maboulette | September 21, 2020

‘Low Even For You’: Adam Schiff Crushes Trump

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Monday struck back at President Donald Trump after he said the House Intelligence Committee chairman may have fabricated late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish.


During a Fox News interview on Monday, the president said he didn’t really believe that Ginsburg had said that she didn’t want to be replaced until after the 2020 presidential election so that the election’s winner could select a new justice.

“I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi,” the president told “Fox & Friends.” “I would be more inclined to the second.”


In response Schiff wrote: “Mr. President, this is low. Even for you. No, I didn’t write Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish to a nation she served so well, and spent her whole life making a more perfect union. But I am going to fight like hell to make it come true. No confirmation before inauguration.”


The move is likely to anger many who will see it as disrespectful to the millions of Americans mourning Ginsburg’s death, as well as a tasteless attack on the legacy of the pioneering woman justice.

Ginsburg died on Friday, from pancreatic cancer at the age of 87. NPR reported that she had dictated a statement to her granddaughter.

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” it said.

Posted by: maboulette | September 19, 2020

Who Are Trump’s Supporters?

Donald Trump’s supporters are sticking with him, no matter what. 

They heard his voice, clearly on audio, admitting to deceiving and misleading the nation into 200,000 coronavirus deaths and counting. One day later, they are cheering him on at an airport hangar in Michigan, no masks needed, and continued doing so through the weekend in Nevada and Arizona.


With each passing day, Trump’s lies get more and more obvious, numerous and bold. His supporters’ response: More adulation.


Book after book after book — from John Bolton to Mary Trump to Michael Cohen to Bob Woodward — all get released in rapid-fire succession, and all say essentially the same thing. Donald Trump is not just ill-suited to be president, he is a danger to us all.  For 40 percent of the country, Donald Trump is their guy, come hell or high water. They are not holding their proverbial nose while voting for him. They love him so much that they are willing to risk their lives to cheer him on.


Everyone knows by now that Trump gets the lion-share of his support from white men without a college degree. Makes sense. Most educated people see through his bullshit quite easily, while many uneducated people do not. But it goes beyond that.  Here they are broken it down into seven categories that pretty much covers all. Of course, many of his supporters fit several of these.

RACISTS: This is the most obvious. Not every Trump supporter is racist, but all racists support Donald Trump. There are clear-cut examples, like the people waving their Confederate flags and confronting Black Lives Matter protesters with their AR-15s slung over their shoulders. These are the white supremacists, militiamen, and Boogaloo Boys. But this also can include your seemingly inoffensive friend or colleague, who never seems to get upset when a cop murders a person of color, but then is always quick to express outrage on Facebook when riots break out in the aftermath.

EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS: Why do evangelicals support Trump so strongly when it is so obvious, he is not religious? Abortion. Even though Trump is clearly not a Christian man, he is nominating hundreds of anti-abortion federal judges. Abortion is the No. 1 issue, by far, for evangelicals, so they are more than willing to make their deal with the Devil in order to get what they want.

LAW ENFORCEMENT: Cops, perhaps, have the most at stake in this election. They have lived in a world for decades in which they have been essentially above the law. Suddenly, their ability to kill and assault people with immunity has been restricted. If Joe Biden wins, and Democrats take over Congress, cops across the nation will soon be living in a brand-new world in which they will be held accountable for their actions.

THE WEALTHY: Donald Trump’s signature piece of legislation was to slash taxes for millionaires and billionaires. If Biden wins, there is a strong chance those tax cuts will be repealed.

BUSINESS OWNERS: Trump has attacked regulations on all fronts, resisted raising the federal minimum wage and slashed corporate tax rates.

GUN ENTHUSIASTS: Never has there been a more firearm friendly president. He has snuffed out any and all attempts to pass even the smallest, most common-sense gun-reform measures.

CONSPIRACY THEORISTS: These are the truly wacky people who support QAnon and believe that Donald Trump is fighting the “Deep State” and a cabal of pedophile, cannibals who have infiltrated Hollywood and the Democratic party. They are the people who record themselves making pledges that, “Where we go one, we go all,” and think 5G towers are responsible for COVID-19. Sadly, their ranks have swelled, and one of their members, Marjorie Taylor Greene, is poised to win a Congressional seat.

Posted by: maboulette | September 16, 2020

Trump and Patriotism

Just when you think there is a bottom with this president, Trump does something to show that for him, no bottom exists. The Atlantic story made clear just how much Trump disrespects the military. He called the fallen soldiers — who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms — “losers” and “suckers” and said that he doesn’t want the wounded to march in his parades.


What kind of a commander in chief is he to have such disdain for our military and veterans? There are tapes of Trump calling generals “pussies,” and he has posted tweets that insulted war heroes as well as POW John McCain. Trump’s track record shows his lack of respect for veterans, so I am one who believes he said these awful things about our military and vets.


Today the Right is confused about what patriotism is. It is not loving or worshiping the flag: it’s standing up for those who serve, for the Constitution, and for our values of freedom, and holding our leaders responsible when they violate the law.  A real patriot stands up to the enemies of our country, foreign and domestic. Quite frankly, many believe that Trump is an enemy of America.


Aside from Trump’s hostility towards the heroes who defend our country, he has publicly lied to the American people about this pandemic that has killed close to 200,000 Americans so far. I can’t help but think how many Americans would be alive today if he had told us from the beginning how serious it was, if he had worn a mask and persuaded social distancing, if he had told people that it is not a violation of their rights to do these things. I can’t help but think that his actions were premeditated. 


Trump is also taking advantage of the presidential elections by spreading misinformation about mail-in voting, claiming it is fraudulent and should be illegal. He hopes to coerce voters so they won’t vote by mail, knowing Democrats are wary of going to polling places due to the pandemic.  You would think that a president would do anything possible to help voters especially during a pandemic.


Real patriotism is not being afraid to call for the resignation of this tyrannical president, Donald Trump. That is why many military vets who has served in the United States Armed Services and been deployed to Afghanistan, uphold the oath they took when enlisting to defend the Constitution, and call for the resignation of Mike Pence and Donald Trump.  

Posted by: maboulette | September 15, 2020

Trump’s Alma Mater States Biden Has Plans to Lead to Growth

Along the campaign trial one of Trump’s favorite lies is that he has built the strongest economy ever in the United States and that he will do it again if only the American voters will give you a 2nd White House term.  But recently a new analysis from Trump’s very own alma mater – the University Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, said that Joe Biden actually has the economic proposals that will lead to greater economic growth.


CBS New reports, “Joe Biden’s economic proposals would create a faster growing economy, higher wages for American workers and reduce the debt compared to where the U.S. is headed under President Donald Trump, according to new analysis from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.”


Of course, the business school was unable to do any analysis of Trump’s 2nd term economic proposals since there are none.  But it was able to “compare Biden’s proposals to where the Congressional Budget Office believes the economy will be in a decade with Mr. Trump’s current plans, including the 2017 tax cuts, in place.”


It seems on that score, it is Biden’s policies that will lead to a much more robust economy “productive spending” such as education, health care and infrastructure.

More from the report:

[T]he analysis, published on Monday, found that Biden’s proposals on education, infrastructure and health care would largely pay for themselves. That would be in part by raising taxes, but also by boosting wages and lowering health care costs.

“If you got the U.S. on this path, you would lower the debt and raise GDP,” said Richard Prisinzano, the director of policy analysis at the Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan group at the top business school. “It is productive spending that Mr. Biden is proposing.”

Wharton’s analysis was compiled over the past few weeks, and does not include Biden’s recent proposal to penalize, through higher taxes, companies that move jobs and manufacturing overseas. Penn Wharton could not do a similar analysis for Mr. Trump, according to Prisinzano, because the Republican incumbent has not offered any plans for his second term with enough detail to do an analysis.

But Wharton school researchers were able to compare Biden’s proposals to where the Congressional Budget Office believes the economy will be in a decade with Mr. Trump’s current plans, including the 2017 tax cuts, in place.


Since President Trump’s negligence and incompetence on the handling of the coronavirus, the United States is suffering through one of the most devastating economic downturns in its history.  During hours of fact-free press conferences and unhinged super-spreader rallies, President Trump does not even acknowledge the economic damage he has cause, much less offer a plan on how to fix it.  


Meanwhile, Joe Biden is proposing a plan to do what he and Barack Obama spent 8 years doing when they were in the White House. Which is save the economy and get America back to work which is something Trump can’t quite figure out right now. Biden’s plan is one that Wharton Business School says will get the job done.

Posted by: maboulette | September 10, 2020

What The 1918 Pandemic Tells Us About Today

The pandemic of 1918 influenza was the most severe pandemic in recent history.  It was caused by the virus H1N1 with genes of avian origin.  There is no universal consensus regarding where the virus actually originated, it spread worldwide during 1918 to 1919.  In the United States, it was identified first in military personnel in the spring of 1918.  It is estimated that over 500 million people or 1/3 of the population of the world at that time became infected with this virus.  The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million around the world with about 675,000 occurring the United States.


Mortality was highest in those individuals younger than 5 years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older.  The high mortality in otherwise healthy people, including those in the 20-40 year old group, was a unique feature of this pandemic.  While this 1918 H1N1 virus has been synthesized and evaluated, the properties that made it so devastating are no understood very well.  With no vaccine to protect against influenza infections, control efforts around the world were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly (sounds familiar doesn’t it).


Everyone is familiar with the signs of the flue: sneezing, coughing, aching and overall signs of physical weakness.  This is probably no different from what our American ancestors encountered before World War I.  But, all of this changed in 1918, when a particularly virulent form of influenza – the so-called Spanish Flu – appeared causing more deaths than had results from the entire First World War which lasted four years.


The victims of the Spanish Flu suffered massive pneumonia and fatal pulmonary complications that caused them to literally drown in their own body fluids. The lungs filled with fluid and then skin became markedly discolored from the lack of oxygen.  Mysteriously, this flu killed more young than old.  The death rate was greatest among the ages of 15 to 40.


Navy medical professionals were among the first to be overwhelmed trying to fight this virus.  Treatment was basically non-existent.  The US Navy was forced to rely on quarantine or infectious disease protocols as the brave doctors, hospital corpsmen and nurses cared for the daily needs of the patients.


Josie Brown, a Navy nurse, who served at Naval Hospital in Great Lakes, Illinois in 1918, later described what occurred there and in many hospitals around the country.

“The morgues were packed almost to the ceiling with bodies stacked one on top of another.  The morticians worked day and night.  You could never turn around without seeing a big red truck loaded with caskets for the train station so bodies could be sent home.   We didn’t have the time to treat them.  We didn’t take temperatures; we didn’t even have time to take blood pressure.  We would give them a little hot whist toddy; that’s about all we have time to do.  They would have terrific nosebleeds with it  Sometimes, the blood would just shoot across the room. You had to get out of the way or someone’s nose would bleed all over you.”

NAVY MEDICAL FACILITIES Navy and Marine patients totaling 121,225 during 1918, were admitted to Navy medical facilities with influenza.  Of these patients, 4,158 died of this virus and sick patients spend over one million sick days in facilities worldwide.


This describes the same situation that we are currently in with the CONVID-19 pandemic – the same prevention strategies are being used while a search for a vaccine is currently underway.   You would think that having gone through this in 1918 our elected officials would take this more seriously – but instead they seem more interested in getting re-elected than in helping the American people.  Do we learn nothing from or past.

Posted by: maboulette | September 8, 2020

Trump and Campaign Spending

President Trump has been discussing spending as much as $100 million of his own money for his re-election campaign, if need, to beat Democratic nominee Joe Biden who is currently leading overall by 10%.  This is according the people who are familiar with this situation.


Trump has been seeking about on whether he should self-fund as he examines heavy spending by this team earlier in this year that failed to push him ahead of the former VP in the polls.  Additionally, Biden’s campaign and other associated Democratic bodies have recently raised more than Trump and his allies.


A Trump campaign spokesman, Tim Murtaugh, has refused to say whether there has been any consideration of using the president’s personal funds to help fund his re-election effort.

“President Trump’s fundraising is breaking records and we are paying close attention to the budget, allowing us to invest twice as much from now until Election Day than we did in 2016,” Murtaugh said in an email. “President Trump has also built the world’s greatest digital fundraising operation, a dominant ground game, and a third advantage Joe Biden can never match — enthusiasm.”


Trump’s effort for re-election, including the Republican National Committee, has spend over $800 million so far, while Biden and the Democratic National Committee spent about $414 million through July, according to recent financial reports.


But Biden as well as the DNC raised $365 million in August, shattering a previous record one-month record of $193 million set by Barack Obama in 2008.  Biden had $294 million in cash on hand at the end of July, about $6 million less than Trump’s re-election effort.


Trump and the RNC have yet to release their fundraising numbers for August.  They said they raised $76 million during the 4 days of the Republican National Convention last month.


Trump’s advisers seem to have mixed opinions on the president doing any self-funding, with some saying that his re-election effort has enough cash and that he does not nee to dip into his own money.  The campaign will have twice as much money as it had in 2016, and new outside groups are beginning to spend as well, one person familiar with campaign planning said.


It is no clear how quickly Trump can come up with $100 million for his campaign.  His net worth has declined $300 million in the past year to $2.7 billion, erasing 10 percent of his fortune since he took office – according the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.


Trump supposedly have between $46.7 million and $156.5 million in an assortment of savings, checking and money market accounts at the end of 2019, according to his most recent financial disclosure.  Government officials disclose the value of their assets in broad ranges.


Trump also listed 20 assets as being worth more than $50 million which is the highest value the disclosure.  This includes Trump’s signature properties such as:

  • Mar-a-Lago resort Palm Beach, Florida;
  • Golf clubs;
  • Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Also listed are debts of at least $315 million, including mortgages on Trump Tower in New York and his Washington hotel.


Brad Parscale, Trump’s former campaign manager, has drawn some criticism for spending during his term.  The New York Times reported Monday that Trump’s re-election effort faces a “cash crunch”, with less than 60 days before election.


The Trump campaign has spent $40 million by airing as on cable and broadcast television in May and June, according to Advertising Analytics.  At the time, the president’s support started to fall in polls during the early parts of the coronavirus pandemic together with the protests over racial injustice that was sparked by the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.  Unfortunately, the spending on ads did not improve Trump’s standing in pivotal states, which include:

  • Wisconsin;
  • Pennsylvania;
  • Florida;
  • Arizona;
  • North Caroline.

During this same time period, Biden spent $4.9 million.


Bill Stepien, who took over from Parscale as campaign manager in July has sought to rein in expenses and volunteered to take a pay cut when he was promoted, according to those who know about this matter.


The Associated Press reported last week that the Trump campaign has pulled much of its TV advertising, allowed Biden’s team to outspend the president by other 10-to-1 at if the writing.  The Trump campaign’s decision to stop most ads during summer was part of the strategy to focus on key states, and to reply on free media attention during the Democratic and Republican conventions.

Posted by: maboulette | September 6, 2020

Part of Trump’s Border Wall Risk Collapse

It is being report that part of Trump’s border between the United States and Mexico is at a risk of collapsing only months after it was constructed.  This is due to flaws in construction alleges new reports being filed in federal court this week.


The part of the wall that stretches 3 miles only the river was built earlier this year by a construction firm know as Fisher Sand and Gravel that is based out of North Dakota.  According to the documents, which were obtained by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, sections of the wall are at risk of collapsing if erosion issues are not fixed and maintained.


Last year, Alex Mayor, a civil engineering professor at the University of Texas, raised concerns about the wall and said the project is like a “$500 (£378) used car,” and added: “It seems like they are cutting corners everywhere.”    Tommy Fisher, the owner of the construction company, dismissed any concerns of erosion and said that “the wall will stand for 150 years,” according to the Tribune.


Mr Fisher did agreed to an inspection, when the National Butterfly Centre and the International Boundary and Water Commission filed a lawsuit against the building of the wall.  Construction still went ahead after the proceedings, as a federal judge ruled that building could not be halted until the potential negative environmental impacts could be determined.


In one of the reports, that will be filed later this week, environmental engineer Mark Tompkins, concluded that heavy rain has caused erosion at the border.

He wrote that “Fisher Industries private bollard fence will fail during extreme high flow events,” and called the construction company’s maintenance inspection plans “completely inadequate.”


In the second report, undertaken by Millennium Engineers Group of Pharr, Texas, after an inspection of the site, the organization said that the fence is stable at the moment but will face problems in the future.


The organization’s conclusion is that “the geography at the wall’s construction location in comparison to the river bend is not at a favorable location for long-term performance.”


When speaking to the Tribune, Mr. Fisher stated that he has not yet read the reports but claimed his company has fixed the issue with erosion, partly by adding a road made of rocks next to the wall preventing border traffic from displacing the structure.  He told the Tribune: “Bottom line, if you want border security on the border you have to think outside the box,” and added: “I feel very comfortable with what we’ve done.”


The wall was partly funded by the We Build the Wall campaign, who raised more than $25m (£18.9m) to help the Trump administration’s project, before its founder Brian Kolfage and president Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Steve Bannon were indicted for fraud related to the organization.  Last month, Mr Bannon was indicted alongside three others, for allegedly funneling “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from the We Build the Wall online fundraising campaign to Mr Kolfage.


We Build the Wall started as a GoFundMe campaign in 2018, and was created to help raise money from public funding to go directly towards building the the US-Mexico border wall at a time when the president was struggling with Congress.


All four of the men have pleaded not guilty and Mr Bannon claimed that “this entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall”, as he left federal court in Manhattan, New York, last month.  Trump has attempted to distance himself from the project, and told reporters last month:

“I know nothing about the project, other than I didn’t like — when I read about it, I didn’t like it. I said, ‘This is for government. This isn’t for private people’”.

Posted by: maboulette | September 4, 2020

Are We Children of Alien Organisms?

Panspermia means “seeds everything” and that is the concept that represents the idea that life on Earth might have been seeded by biological lifeforms from outer space.  This is a long-divisive idea that recently receive some support experimentally from a new study that came out of Japan.


These extremes of life were tested at the International Space Station examining how microbes might live in space and its extreme conditions.


“The origin of life on Earth is the biggest mystery of human beings. Scientists can have totally different points of view on the matter. Some think that life is very rare and happened only once in the Universe, while others think that life can happen on every suitable planet. If panspermia is possible, life must exist much more often than we previously thought”.

This is an explanation from Dr. Akihiko Yamagishi, a researcher at Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences.


Dr. Yamagishi in 2018 and his team collected Deinococcal bacteria that floats about 7.5 miles above the earth.  These are microorganisms that have been known to come together in balls with some as large as 1/25 inch across, protected them from UV radiation.  Its hardiness suggests to researchers that these tough bacteria might be able to sustain the conditions and rigors of space.


Back home, researchers rehydrated these bacteria and tested each sample.  The thinnest layers of bacteria were utterly destroyed by the experience, having genetic material completely fried by UV radiation.  In 2015, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly affixed pellets of Deinocuccus (stored as various-sized pellets inside aluminum wells of an aluminum plate) on exposure panels that were outside the International Space Station. These microbes were exposed to the harshest environment of space for periods of 1, 2 and 3 years before samples were returned to Earth.


Samples of half a millimeter to a millimeter in thickness showed damage that was significant from exposure to space.  Most of these samples were killed by the loss of water and UV radiation.


All samples that were thicker than half a millimeter (1/50 inch) thick showed roughly 4% of microbes survived through their ordeal.  As microbes on the outer layers of the samples perished, they created a barrier that protected the rest of the colony.

“We exposed the microbial cell pellet with different thickness to space environments. The results indicated the importance of the aggregated form of cells for surviving in the harsh space environment. We also analyzed the samples exposed to space from 1 to 3 years. The experimental design enabled us to get and to extrapolate the survival time course and to predict the survival time of D. radiodurans,” researchers describe in an article on the experiment, published in Frontiers in Microbiology.


Researchers calculated that any pellet with a diameter greater than half a millimeter (1/50 inch) would survive for between 15 and 45 years on the outer skin of the orbiting space station.  Calculations show a colony twice that thick (roughly the width of a dime) would protect microbes for up to eight years traveling in space — far more than enough time to travel from Mars to Earth.


There is one variation of the panspermia idea, which is the “lithopanspermia theory”, which suggests that microbes might hide within the rocky confines of asteroids, protected from the often-damaging effects of radiation.


One of the great questions of Panspermia is this – once life develops on one planet; how does it travel to another world?  Meteorite impacts could, on occasion, lift life-laden rocks into space.  Some material from other worlds, such as Mars, have been known to land on Earth.


In 1996, news agencies around the world ran stories making the announcement of a possible sign of ancient Martian life in the asteroid Allan Hills 84001, a piece of Mars that crashed into Earth 13,000 years ago, followed a 17 million-year-long-journey.  This evidence for alien life was later found to be inconclusive.


This new study shows that even without shielding from rocks, microorganisms may be protected from swings in both radiation and temperature by huddling into balls.  This idea – known as massapanspermia – could explain how the microorganisms could survive while in space without needing to be shielded by layers of rock.


Life is quite resilient and is found in some of the most extreme conditions on Earth.  Recent studies suggest that radiation might even play a role in supporting life processes, perhaps making life more likely than first thought in the subsurface of Mars and other worlds.  This study might provide a new look at our own world, showing how life may have developed right here on Earth.

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