Mysterious Rain

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Whenever it comes to rain, we start thinking about pakoras and FOOD KA LOVE with 7up 😉 because showers are joyful. I, being a hostelite can’t have pakoras so we usually rely on C1’s fries and roaming around on never-ending roads of NUST. ‘Rehmat ki barish’ is nature’s gift which clears away all the dust and brings out the scenery. But sometimes this rain becomes a cause of fear and panic among people, like, when clouds shower red-colored rain.

Red Rain

In November 2012, unusual blood red rain falling from sky frightened people of Sri Lanka and South India. Hindus related it with God’s punishment and a sign of destruction. These showers continued for about two months and arrested the attention of researchers. Instant explanations pointed to several possibilities that could have caused red-colored rain which included meteor explosion near clouds, sand/dust, or algal contamination (Trachelomonas).

Microscopic and molecular analysis of red rain clearly revealed the presence of red cells strangely having no trace of genetic material or, in layman language, it was like a microbe with no brain. This finding ruled out the presence of all terrestrial microbes. Red thick-walled cells of about 10 microns were found to grow or ‘reproduce’ unusually at 121°C. The daughter cells appear inside the mother cells and are released later. So far, no microbe has been found that can reproduce at a temperature as high as this.

Red Rain

For the time being, research has concluded that these microbes are not algae (because of absence of DNA) and neither are these red cells or blood cells because blood cells have thin walls that cannot survive such harsh conditions (and they do not reproduce). What exactly are these mysterious organisms? Are they a result of ‘panspermia’ or is it some Alien microbe? Or, hush… may be Aliens are trying to invade the Earth 3: )

Sources:

1http://www.theguardian.com/science/2006/mar/05/spaceexploration.theobserver

2http://www.sott.net/article/254006-Mysterious-red-rain-scientists-wonder-whether-its-extraterrestrial

3http://www.technologyreview.com/view/420610/the-extraordinary-tale-of-red-rain-comets-and-extraterrestrials/

Hafsah Akhtar

First year MS student at SMME.

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