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The astrobiological case for our cosmic ancestry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2010

Chandra Wickramasinghe*
Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology, Cardiff University, 2 North Road, CardiffCF10 3DY, UK


With steadily mounting evidence that points to a cosmic origin of terrestrial life, a cultural barrier prevails against admitting that such a connection exists. Astronomy continues to reveal the presence of organic molecules and organic dust on a huge cosmic scale, amounting to a third of interstellar carbon tied up in this form. Just as the overwhelming bulk of organics on Earth stored over geological timescales are derived from the degradation of living cells, so it seems likely that interstellar organics in large measure also derive from biology. As we enter a new decade – the year 2010 – a clear pronouncement of our likely alien ancestry and of the existence of extraterrestrial life on a cosmic scale would seem to be overdue.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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