By Chris Taylor on September 19th, 2013 on mashable.com
But that is exactly what a team from the University of Sheffield says happened, according to a new paper in the Journal of Cosmology. Professor Milton Wainright launched a balloon with special sterile studs that would only deploy when it reached the stratosphere, then retract on the way down.
That led Wainright's team to propose that the organisms are constantly arriving in the stratosphere via comets and meteor showers, such as last month's visit from the Perseids.
"Our conclusion is that life is continually arriving to Earth from space," the professor wrote. "Life is not restricted to this planet and it almost certainly did not originate here."
Further tests are being conducted on the organisms. If fellow researchers agree with the study and are able to replicate it, Wainwright says, "we have to completely change our view of biology and evolution."
The hopeful study arrives just as a paper from NASA in the journal Science reveals that the Curiosity Rover on Mars has failed to find any traces of methane — suggesting it is very unlikely that it will find any bacteria on the Red Planet.
So there may not be life on Mars, but it could still be more abundant in the universe than we can possibly imagine.