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A Search for Evidence of
Interplanetary and Atmospheric
Microbial Delivery Systems

Robert S. Fritzius

Presented at the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting
6-11 October 2002 in Birmingham, Alabama

Installed as a web page on 16 October 2002. Latest update 27 Jul 2018.
Except for error corrections, updates are restricted to keeping URLs current.

(Links to original webpages will be given at the beginnings of sections
that have been extracted and tailored for this presentation.)


From http://www.shadetreephysics.com/vel/1918.htm.

In her book on the 1918 influenza(1) Gina Kolata calls attention to the often repeated phenomenon of how influenza epidemics can move quickly through a country, "hopscotching over some towns while felling others." She reports that "After an influenza pandemic of 1789, a young American doctor named Robert Johnson puzzled over how the infection could spread so far and wide, and so quickly" Dr. Johnson had discussed the rapid outbreaks in Great Britain and on ships at sea. Kolata reports that the 1918 flu's mortality rates peaked in Boston and Bombay in the same week, but New York, just a few hours from Boston, had its peak three weeks later" Kolata reports that Johnson finally decided that "influenza must arise from some sort of changes in the atmosphere but that, once it got started, it could spread from person to person."(Ref. 1, pp. 62-64)

In 1950, amongst his other breaches of scientific protocol, Immanuel Velikovsky claimed that ancient texts provided evidence that various life forms, including some insects, exist in the atmosphere of Venus, and that in about 1450 BC some of those life forms were transported alive to Earth in the (then) comet-like tail of Venus.(2)

In 1953 Sir Fred Hoyle is reported to have informed Velikovsky that "his work was not properly scientific." Even so, Hoyle eventually came to champion the idea that pathogenic bacteria and viruses are brought to Earth by comet tails and meteor streams.(3) He and his colleague Chandra Wickrasminghe found evidence that the severity of influenza epidemics seems to be related to sunspot activity.

In 2000 a research team, lead by another long-time colleague of Hoyle, Jalent Narlikar, reported (to the SPIE) what they consider unambiguous evidence of the presence of clumps of living cells [from space] in air samples from as high as 41 kilometers above the Earth's surface.(4)

But are the 2000 findings the "first evidence" of live drop-ins?

There is an earlier report on what was speculated to have been a "dropping-in on Earth" of alien bacteria which occurred during the middle part of the twentieth century. The report was published in 1963 by Donald Barber, who had just retired as Director of the Norman Lockyer Observatory at Sidmouth England. His article(5) documents a series of nine "unidentifiable" rain-water borne bacterial invasions which occurred at the Lockyer observatory between 1936 and 1961. Based on the bacteria's phenomenally rapid liquefaction property (of astronomical photographic plate emulsions), its toleration to highly toxic silver halide salts, and the unique correlation of their arrival times with certain "space weather related" events, Barber came to speculate that the bacteria were of extraterrestrial origin.

This presentation gives highlights of Barber's findings and uses them as a springboard to investigate another set of potentially exobiological visitors.

In Barber's article he stated, "An American suggestion that the virus responsible for endemic influenza emanated from the planet Venus, led to a fresh examination of the 1937/1948 Sidmouth data, and also to a search among the large collection of spectrograms obtained at Sidmouth prior to 1937 for earlier evidence of bacterial attack. As a result of the latter, two earlier outbreaks--one probable event in 1930, and a second well-determined occasion in 1932--were discovered."

particulate matter 
blown from Venus to earth

It was found that the onsets of six confirmed Lockyer major microbial invasions occurred, on average, 55 days following inferior conjunctions of Venus, when accompanied by strong geomagnetic storms.* (The shortest interval between conjunction and outbreak was 35 days and the longest was 67 days.)

*Actually the delays summarized by Barber pertained to the time between the geomagnetic storms, which occurred timewise closely to the conjunctions, and the onsets of the bacterial invasions. [Added 13 May 2008.]

Barber came to speculate that the bacteria responsible for the repeated photographic damage events were transported from the upper atmosphere of Venus by solar wind to earth's auroral belts and, in Lockyer's case, from the Northern auroral region to Southwestern England by northerly winds, reaching the ground in rain-water. 1918-2.gif
The Sidmouth events were bacterial in nature but, getting back to the "American suggestion," it is of interest to note that in 1918 an inferior conjunction of Venus preceded by 28 days, the first known U.S. cases of what became the 1918-1919 "Spanish" flu.

From http://www.shadetreephysics.com/vel/1918ss.htm

The following table shows: (I) the dates of Venus inferior conjunctions which preceded the 20th century influenza pandemics and pandemic scares, (II) onset dates for the disease outbreaks and (III) the intervals (in days) between conjunctions and onsets. These intervals have been converted to decimal fractions of the 584 day Earth-Venus synodic period and are displayed in a histogram in which the width of each bin is 1/20th of the synodic period.

Influenza Pandemics
and Pandemic Scares
1918 H1N1 Spanish
1957 H2N2 Asian
1968 H3N2 Hong Kong
1976 H1N1 Swine
1977 H1N1 Russian
1997 H5N1 Avian
Venus Inferior
09 FEB 1918
21 JUN 1956
29 AUG 1967
27 AUG 1975
06 APR 1977
11 JUN 1996
Dates of
08 MAR 1918  
15 JAN 1957*
30 OCT 1967  
05 FEB 1976  
15 MAY 1977  
15 NOV 1996**
        584 Day Synodic Period
(The column location for the 1918 pandemic was corrected on 08 Sep 2007.)
The # sign marks the end of the six month interval between the 1918 Earth-Venus conjunction and the beginning of the 1918 pandemic deadly phase.

  * Some scholars think the 1957 Asian flu started in Vladivostok in 1956.
**The bird-to-human phase of the 1997 Hong Kong flu started in March 1997.

Testing the Venus Influenza Hypothesis

From http://www.shadetreephysics.com/1918rd.htm.

Three of the four influenza pandemics in the twentieth century had onsets that followed Venus inferior conjunctions by 30 to 60 days. (Barber found that geomagnetic storms seemed to be a co-factor, in addition to the conjunctions, when the Lockyer bacterial events occurred.)

"The Non-Prediction Prediction"
3 April 2001

At 1015 Universal Time (UT) on 29 March 2001 the sun produced an intense X-class Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) which gobbled up a lesser CME from the day before and reached Earth at 0100 UT on 31 March. At approximately 0400 UT 30 March (on the day in-between) Venus passed through inferior conjunction.

It wouldn't, of course, be prudent to make predictions about what this combination of events might lead to, some 30 to 60 days from March 30. On the other hand, if really out-of-the-ordinary viral (not necessarily "influenza") and/or bacterial outbreaks do occur in pockets around the globe during that time frame, then we might opt to examine the Venus connection hypothesis more closely.

*The not necessarily influenza phrase was added (as a long shot) because the author had come across news information about other diseases, including legionnaires disease, breaking out shortly (within one to two months) following Venus inferior conjunctions.

Influenza Related News in the Northern Hemisphere
April thru July 2001

The majority of the information in this section, (and in two other sections below) is anecdotal in nature, but it is hoped that readers can discern an underlying pattern.

References to the on-line resource LEXIS-NEXIS®Academic Universe are indicated by the abbreviation LNAU.

Friday 13 April 2001
Personal observation by author - Columbus Mississippi area - U.S.A..
For about two weeks, starting on April 13, 2001 many of the author's co-workers and members of their families (toddlers through adults) experienced rapidly spreading illnesses characterized by intense stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, accompanied by extreme exhaustion. [These symptoms might be considered as evidence of some "not necessarily influenza" maladies suggested in the non-prediction prediction above, but they started two and a half weeks before 1 May.]

Saturday 14 April 2001
Financial Times Information - Global News Wire
Karachi, Pakistan
Influenza from a new form of flu virus is spreading in the Pakistan seaport city of Karachi. Throat ailments and tonsils infections noted in particular.
(LNAU - Medical. - Search Term: flu)

The following graph, which is based on CDC published data, shows the two most pronounced May 5, 2001 (week 18) regional activity "bumps" in influenza related activity in the United States.

Total Number of Isolates Tested vs Week
(The lower branches on the profiles are based on week 18 data.)
MTN = Mountain; ESC=East South Central.

5 May 2001 was 36 days following the 29 March 2001 Venus inferior conjunction. Whether or not the bumps are related to new forms of influenza is yet to be determined.

Sunday 6 May 2001
The Edmonton Sun
Calgary, Alberta - Canada
Mystery illness spreads from school children to family members. 179 students and staff at Elizabeth Barrett elementary school in Calgary became suddenly sick on Wednesday 2 May with vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Lightning-fast stomach flu was believed to be blame. City water system ruled out as source. The diarrhea generally lasts 24 hours.
(LNAU - World News - Search Term: influenza - 29 May 2002.)

10 - 13 May 2001
Information received via personal e-mail on 16 May.

On May 10-13th the television of Alma-Ata reported that an epidemic of an unidentified influenza has passed [through the region]. The illness starts with a cough, a high temperature runs and dyspnea [difficult or labored breathing] develops. The illness is treated badly by conventional drugs. ... Children are sick more often [than adults].

Friday 11 May 2001
St. John's Telegram
North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada
Community struggles to cope with cryptosporidium parasites that have crippled 52 residents and 74 visitors with cramps and diarrhea and have shut down businesses. Most residents thought they had been having a bout with the flu. Outbreak occurred just before Easter, which was April 15th. Questions as to how water supply became contaminated and why it took so long to have the problem identified are widespread.
(LNAU - World News - Search Term: influenza. - 29 May 2002)

Thursday 17 May 2001
Isolation of influenza A(H5N1) virus in poultry in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China - "No human cases of H5N1 virus have been detected. The strains isolated from the birds differ genetically from the H5N1 virus which caused human disease in 1997." (They killed all the chickens!)
Source: World Health Organization - Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response (CSR).

Thursday 17 May 2001

Extracts from
The Pacific Dust Express

"North America has been sprinkled with a dash of Asia! A dust cloud from China crossed the Pacific Ocean recently and rained Asian dust from Alaska to Florida."

pacific dust

"Above: While much of the dust cloud remains over the Pacific Ocean, the leading edge has reached as far east as the American Midwest by April 13. Images such as this one are a principal tool for scientists who study aerosols." [The NASA image has been "resized" and cropped.]

[April 13 was the date that the rash of flu-like gastro-intestinal problems began occurring at Columbus, Mississippi in the U.S.A. With that in mind, note the apparent aerosol "blob" over north Mississippi. If that blob turns out to have been part of the asian dust, then the plot thickens!]

Wednesday 23 May 2001
Financial Times Information - Global News Wire
A Jakarta Indonesia writer describes the plight of "a lot of people" that are being infected by cold and flu viruses. The viruses seem to circulate from person to person and back again. "They won't go away."
(LNAU - Medical. - Search Term: flu)


27 May 2001
In response to an inquiry by this writer, Jay Herman, Principal Investigator for the NASA system that was used to track the Asian dust cloud mentioned above, stated "We have found bacteria and molds on dust coming across the Atlantic from Africa, but no such studies have been done on the Asian dust." The African dust study, by NASA and USGS, was published in the September 2001 issue of Aerobiologia(6).

Friday 8 June 2001
Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response Report
Acute haemorrhagic fever syndrome in Kosovo
[Haemorrhagic fever is similar to the final stages of the 1918 influenza.]

The WHO Office in Kosovo has reported 27 cases and 4 deaths between 18 May and 7 June 2001 in the south-western area. . . .

[Haemorrhagic fever was a real problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina between December 1994 and May 1995. That outbreak began one to two months following the 5 November 1994 Venus inferior conjunction.]

Friday 22 June 2001
Financial Times Information - Global News Wire
Flu Spreads in Karachi
A flu virus is still making the rounds in Pakistan seaport city.
(LNAU - Medical: Search Term: Flu)

Wednesday 4 July 2001
Arizona, U.S.A.
A visitor to the website from Jerome, Arizona (about 50 miles southwest of Flagstaff) wrote: (Many people in the local area) have been suffering from recurrent bouts with some kind of flu for around six weeks now. It is characterized by abdominal cramps, diarrhea, headaches, weakness and lightheadedness. [Six weeks ago would have been around 23 may.]

Global Influenza 2001-2002

From http://www.shadetreephysics.com/vel/1918h1n2.htm

Influenza A(H1N2) 2001-2002

The globe above shows (in red) states and countries where the new influenza strain A(H1N2) has been identified (isolated) during the 2001-2002 influenza season. (Where known, the numbers of cases are shown in superscript.) As of 30 August 2002, the season total for A(H1N2) in Canada was 72.

The first acknowledged case of H1N2 in the United States occurred in Texas in July 2001, followed by another case in Nevada in September. (See the 14 February 2002 entry below.)

Selected Influenza A(H1N2) Related News Items

18 January 2002 - England
Outbreak of flu-like illness in a Cornwall comprehensive school -
About half the students are suffering respiratory symptoms but initial tests for influenza are negative. Further tests are underway. A second outbreak has occurred in a school in Scotland.
[At the time of this report Influenza A(H1N2) was not on the books.]
Source: Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) - Infectious Diseases in the News. http://www.phls.co.uk/news/bulletins/2002/020118id.htm [No longer available on www.}

6 February 2002 - England.
WHO announces the isolation of a new strain of influenza virus- A(H1N2), . . .
"The new strain has been so far been isolated from humans in England, Israel, and Egypt in the last few weeks. A similar event is reported to have occurred in China in the 1988/1989 influenza season when a number of influenza isolates were detected which were determined to have arisen as a result of reassortment. Further spread of these reassortment viruses in humans did not occur at that time." - Source: Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) - Infectious Diseases in the News.
http://www.phls.co.uk/news/bulletins/2002/020206id.htm [No longer available on www.]

7 February 2002 - United States - Wisconsin.
Unusual Influenza Strain Identified in Wisconsin -
A six month old child in Outagamie county became ill in December 2001 and has made a complete recovery. No additional cases have been detected. "The evolution of this virus, which has been named A/Wisconsin/12/2001(H1N2), appears to have resulted from the combination or "reassortment" of the genes of the currently circulating A/New Caledonia(H1N1) and the A/Moscow(H3N2) strains of influenza A."
Source: Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services - Reference Center - 07 February 2002.

14 February 2002 - United States.
"On February 6, 2002, WHO and the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) in the United Kingdom reported the recent identification of a new influenza virus strain, influenza A(H1N2), isolated from humans in England, Israel, and Egypt. In addition to the viruses reported by PHLS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified influenza A(H1N2) viruses from patient specimens collected during July, September, and December 2001 in Texas, Nevada, and Wisconsin, respectively."
Source: CDC - National Center for Infectious Diseases - Influenza Summary Update - Week ending February 9, 2002-Week 6.

8 March 2002 - Global.
Influenza A(H1N2) viruses (update) "Between September 2001 and February 2002 reassortant influenza A(H1N2) viruses have been isolated from outbreaks or sporadic cases in Canada, Egypt, France, India, Israel, Latvia, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States."
Source: Weekly Epidemiological Record - 2002, 77, 77-80 - World Health Organization -
PDF http://www.who.int/wer/2002/en/wer7710.pdf?ua=1

2 May 2002 - Wisconsin USA
Influenza A(H1N2) Viruses in Wisconsin - The initial Wisconsin isolate was recovered from a specimen collected December 7, 2001 from a six month old child [in Outagamie county]. Eight additional A(H1N2) isolates were detected between January 11 and February 11, 2002 from patients aged 9 through 31 years. Seven of these came from St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay [Brown county]. All of the Wisconsin H1N2 isolates to date have been from [the] two adjacent counties. [Names of counties added.]
Source: Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, Madison, WI.
http://www.virology.org/Newsletter/May02/May0205.html - [Link needs updating - 11 Jan 2018.]

Was the Influenza A(H1N2) of 2001-2002
Derived from Terrestrial Reassortment?

From http://www.shadetreephysics.com/vel/1918h1n2.htm

Most, if not all, of the summaries about the new influenza strain, A(H1N2), state that it has arisen as a result of reassortment. In this case it means that a victim gets attacked by two different strains of influenza A, which mix and match parts to produce a new strain. For the new strain A(H1N2) the requisite originals are said to have been A(H1N1) and A(H3N2). (There is usually the unstated implication that the process took place in Earth's biosphere .)

The following graphs show the relative abundances of influenza strains during the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 flu seasons.

Comparison of flu seasons

It can be seen that in the 2000-2001 flu season there was a relative abundance of A(H1N1) (blue bars) but very little A(H3N2) (red bars). In 2001-2002 the situation was reversed.

On 30 August 2002 the Canada National Microbiology Laboratory published its 2001-2002 seasonal summary for influenza. They reported antigenically characterizing the following influenza subtypes: 333 A(H3N2); 72 (H1N2) (the new strain); and one case of A(H1N1).

On 22 May 2001 the U.S. National Center for Infectious Diseases published its final report for the United States 2001-2002 flu season. They reported the following influenza A sub-types: 3,996 H3 viruses and 83 H1 viruses. What these numbers don't tell, is that at the time the first H1N2 case in Wisconsin was detected (on 7 December 2001) there had been approximately 175 H3N2 cases detected antigenically throughout the United States but only one H1N1 case, and that case had occurred five weeks earlier at an undisclosed location. From 11 January to 11 February, when the remaining eight Wisconsin H1N2 cases were detected, there were approximately 2251 H3N2 cases detected nationwide, but only 15 of the H1N1 strain. NCID has not published where these cases occurred or how many of them (if any) were in Wisconsin.


Asian Influenza B Leaves Home

This phenomenon was overlooked by this investigator during the 2001-2002 flu season. The attitude was, "Who cares about influenza B?"

24 April 2002 - WorldWide
Influenza B viruses currently circulating worldwide can be divided into two antigenically distinct lineages: B/Yamagata/16/88 and B/Victoria/2/87. B/Yamagata viruses have circulated widely since 1990, and the B component of the current influenza vaccine belongs to this lineage. Since 1991, B/Victoria viruses have not been identified outside of Asia. However, since March 2001, B/Victoria lineage viruses have been identified in many countries, including the United States. Of the 96 U.S. influenza B viruses characterized antigenically this season, 53 were of the B/Yamagata lineage, and 43 were of the B/Victoria lineage.
Source: CDC MMWR 2002;51:276-279 (Reprinted in the Journal of the American Medical Association
http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v287n16/fpdf/jwr0424.pdf - JAMA April 24, 2002 -- Volume 287, No. 16, page 2068. [page not found]
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/issue/287/16 [Haven't found the report yet. 15 Jan 2017]

Results, Discussion, and Recommendations

The 13 April 2001 arrival of the Asian dust storm in the mid-west of the United States and the coincident onset of gastrointestinal flu-like symptoms in northeast Mississippi may be related. (Data from other areas visited by the dust cloud are needed to beef up the picture.)

It is speculated that the early April Pacific Dust Express delivered the B/Victoria viruses to U.S. doorsteps. The dust, albeit greatly thinned out, traveled on to Europe as well.

The mid-may 2001 outbreak of a new strain of avian influenza in Hong Kong and the unidentified influenza that swept through in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, fell right in the middle of the non-prediction prediction window.

No report, seen to date by this investigator, has suggested a migration from one geographical region to another of the new influenza A(H1N2) strain. Its distribution pattern seems to have been a global non-spreading sporadic affair.

The sporadic global nature and the timing of the outbreaks of the influenza A(H1N2) strain are considered to be consistent with the idea of an extraterrestrial source. (Timing, as used here, includes a month (or less) to penetrate Earth's atmosphere plus a two-month-or-so recuperation period, inside 98.6°F surface dwellers, to repair space radiation damage incurred en route.)

There is apparently no clinical evidence from Canada or the United States of terrestrial (Earth's surface) reassortment of influenza A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) to produce A(H1N2).

Real world conditions matched the non-prediction prediction very well. That doesn't prove that the new flu strains were from an extraterrestrial source, but it does strengthen the idea that there may be something to the hypothesis. Further study is warranted.

The World Health Organization (WHO), through the offices of their Global Agenda on Influenza, and appropriate space agencies may need to join forces to examine possible connections between wide area aerosol movements and the arrivals of airborne pathogens

If no convincing clinical evidence comes to be found for terrestrial reassortment, which produced the new influenza A(H1N2) strain, and if no compelling geographical spreading pattern is established for the new strains, then epidemiologists should think about "getting outside the box."

With a possible outer space connection in mind, the WHO should perhaps think about setting up a space-borne monitoring capability to obtain previews of what's coming our way.

* * *

The full study is available online at http://www.shadetreephysics.com/vel/1918.htm


(1) Gina Kolata, Flu, The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It, Simon & Schuster, Touchstone, New York, (1999).

(2) Velikovsky, Immanuel, Worlds in Collision, The Macmillan Company (1950), Double Day (1950).

(3) Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Diseases from Space, J.M. Dent & Sons, London, 1979.

(4) Jayant Narlikar, Chandra Wickramasinghe, et al., Dramatic new evidence of living bacteria coming from space. Presented at the Astrobiology session of the 46th Annual SPIE meeting in San Diego, CA, July 29, 2001. See an online summary at http://www.cf.ac.uk/news/releases/0107/010729.html

(5) Donald Barber, Perspective, Focal Press, London, Vol. 5, pp. 201-208, (1963). For a recent thumbnail sketch of Barber's report, see the online article: Living Micro-Organisms From Space : Real or Apparent? - Norman Lockyer Observatory News 01/1997. http://www.ex.ac.uk/nlo/news/nlonews/1997-01/9701-14.htm - [Link no longer works.]

(6) Dale W. Griffin, Virginia H. Garrison, Jay R. Herman and Eugene A. Shinn, African desert dust in the Caribbean atmosphere: Microbiology and public health, Aerobiologia, 17:203-213 (2001).

End of document

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