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Searching for 'our alien origins'
In July 2001, a mysterious red rain started falling over a large area of southern India.
Locals believed that it foretold the end of the world, though the official explanation was that it was desert dust that had blown over from Arabia.
But one scientist in the area, Dr Godfrey Louis, was convinced there was something much more unusual going on.
Not only did Dr Louis discover that there were tiny biological cells present, but because they did not appear to contain DNA, the essential component of all life on Earth, he reasoned they must be alien lifeforms.
"This staggering claim is that this is possibly extraterrestrial. That is a big claim I know, but all the experiments are supporting this claim," said Dr Louis.
His remarkable work has set in motion a chain of events with scientists around the world debating the origin of these mysterious cells.
Professor Wickramasinghe explained: "Bacteria have got to endure the extreme cold of space, the vacuum of space, ultraviolet radiation, cosmic rays, X-rays.