Is the red rain phenomena of Kerala, India, proof of extraterrestrial life? Does it contain ET DNA? Does it demonstrate a panspermia mechanism?

The answers, in order, are: no, no, and no.

The red rain issue seems to come up a lot. I want to use it as an example of how research focused on UFOs and ET life sometimes annoys me.

It takes little effort to find peer-reviewed material on red rain. Scientists are aware of it. Here is a 2006 article, published in an astrophysics journal, that angles toward an ET origin explanation, but acknowledges there is no DNA in the red rain – just molecules similar to earthly biological molecules. The gist of the argument that the material came from space is its dissimilarity to terrestrial alternatives (like dust or volcanic ejecta). Sounds good, right? Well, hold on ….

A year later this short essay was published in Analytical Chemistry (2007, 79:9, pp 3238–3238). Its focus was isotope analysis of the red rain. It’s terrestrial as far as anyone can tell, but the essay doesn’t totally rule out extraterrestrial. There’s just nothing to support an extraterrestrial conclusion to this point.

In short: scientists aren’t completely sure where the red rain particles are from, though analysis to date points to terrestrial origin. They’ll keep working on it until they can be completely sure where the stuff came from on earth (that’s what’s needed to nail it down).

What annoys me is that so many UFO “researchers” simply take pull quotes from studies that angle for the ET origin (or worse, from other UFO websites) and then steer their readers to the conclusion they prefer. That falls somewhere between incompetent and dishonest, but that’s the sort of thing you see all the time in this field, unfortunately. I’m not an astrophysicist. I’m not a chemist. It took 15 minutes out of my day to find the above resources, which are high in quality. If I can do it, others can as well. It’s not magic.