Michael Crichton in his 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain deals with a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism that rapidly and fatally clots human blood. A military satellite designed to capture upper-atmosphere microorganisms upon reentering the Earth wreaks havoc in Piedmont, Arizona, where the satellite lands. This may not seem like the stuff sci-fi anymore, now with some leading scientists claiming that the microorganism found in ‘red rain’ in Sri Lanka is of extraterrestrial origin.
Red rain which caused fear and panic in four different areas in the country namely, Monaragala, Polonnaruwa, Sewanagala and Manampitiya leaving red frost in the latter two districts, continue to baffle local scientists still studying samples of the freak showers. Similar showers of ‘blood rain’ were experienced in Kerala, South India during two consecutive months from July to September this year, spawning several scientific and non-scientific theories with regarding to its origin.
So from where exactly does this mysterious rain originate? Is it from the earth whose natural elements we are familiar with having growing in these environments since the day we were born? Or from some extraterrestrial origins we are completely alien to? Was Sri Lanka’s best known expatriate resident, Sir Arthur C Clarke was correct when he said that alien life existed wishing that he would live to see proof of this before his death? Are we at the brink of a close encounter with aliens, which has coincided with many other strange happenings occurring both here and in other parts of the world? For example the mysterious allergies in school children, the cause of which scientists are still trying to work out.
Does the red rain have a cosmic ancestry – a hypothesis first trotted out by Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar (of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam) in a paper that won world recognition, which pointed to higher life forms including intelligent life?
In a bid to allegedly prevent ‘bio-scientific problems in the future’ to quote a leading state paper, the Health Ministry is to dispatch six doctors to the affected areas. The same paper states that further studies by the Industrial Technology Institute and Nano Technology Institute also found the algae was harmless and had no impact on human health.
Meanwhile scientists studying samples of the red water at the Medical Research Institute and other institutes such as the Industrial Technological Institute (ITI) and universities told The Nation that they have yet to come to a definite conclusion, although not ruling out algae as a possible cause.While Health Ministry officials claim that the microorganisms contained in the ‘red rain’ is Trachelomonas, Medical Research Institute (MRI) Microbiologist Dr Sujatha Pathirage said that the microorganisms are usually found in contaminated water.
“This is a very rare and unusual occurrence as we have never experienced red rain in this country before. But whatever microorganisms we have been looking at, appear to be living natural organisms usually found in contaminated water, which we can’t co-relate to the red rain,” said Dr Pathirage.No definite conclusion has been reached by scientists studying the red rain samples in neighboring Kerala, either. “Kerala scientists have two theories which we share: That the red rain has been caused by algae from the ocean or from an asteroid from outer space,” she told this writer in a telephone interview.
Read the rest of this story: Mysterious “red rain” scientists wonder if it’s extraterrestrial.