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are we alone?

            More than 400 years ago, Giordano Bruno, an Italian monk, wrote that "In space there are numberless earths circling around other suns, which may bear upon them creatures similar or even superior to those upon our human Earth." Giordano was also a very well known and accurate prophet in his time as well. Because the thought of outside life was unheard of at that time, he was burnt at the stake for his beliefs.
             Giordano Bruno was not the only one who believed in extra-terrestrial beings. Even going back to Egyptian hieroglyphics, pictures and writings of flying saucers and aliens were common. Many people who don't believe in extra-terrestrials only think that way because they have never seen one for themselves. Well the rareness is what makes outside life so interesting.
             In the late nineteenth century science fiction books and movies introduced ideas and images of what aliens might look and act like. While they did popularize the idea of outside life, they also made the idea sound too make believe for people to take into consideration. The movie E.T., for example, forced people to ask themselves the question "Are we alone?" Although the movie was based on fiction, the idea of aliens is not too farfetched in my eyes.
             On January 20 of last year, the TATA Institute Balloon launching facility in India conducted a very interesting and long overdue experiment. A group of Indian scientists collaborated to see if it life is possible in outer space. To do this they shot several steel cylinders into outer space to collect stratospheric air. When the chambers were full the cylinders were parachute back to earth and recovered for further testing. Any bacteria or clumps of bacteria present in the stratosphere would then be collected on the filters of each tube. .
             The outcome of the experiment is as follows. According to microbiologist Professor David Lloyd, there were clumps of living cells in air samples from as high as 41 kilometers, above which no aerosols from lower down would normally be transported.

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