By Kerry McClure and Chase Kloetzke
Metallic spheres containing biological matter were found in the stratosphere by Professor Wainwright and his team in the U.K. Similar spheres were found a reported UFO landing site near Moscow. The composition of one of the Wainwright spheres – Titanium and Vanadium, is shown to be custom-manufactured. The presence of microorganisms in the stratosphere is established and the various possibilities of how the bacteria got into the sphere is argued. Is it from outer space or Earth? The Field Reports researched this enigma for the MUFON Special Assignment Team and this article was featured on the cover of the February MUFON Journal.
The search for proof of life outside of our own planet is a pursuit undertaken by those whose ideas and hopes cannot be constrained by our own atmosphere, by Earth’s gravity, or even by the accepted theories of the origins of life. For example, the SETI scientists are famously scanning the heavens for electromagnetic radiation, NASA’s rovers are scouring the red planet for signs of previous habitation, and a British professor and his team are sending weather balloons far up into the stratosphere with surprising results.
During July of 2013, Professor Milton Wainwright and his team from the University of Sheffield and the University of Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology sent a weather balloon almost 17 miles above the Earth to collect samples. The balloon was equipped with a sampling device, much like the tray that opens to hold your favorite Star Wars DVD (Empire, of course) and this drawer opened when the balloon was at it’s desired height, remained open for 17 minutes, exposing electron microscope stubs, and closed, keeping the samples safe from contaminants. In fact, many protocols were followed to ensure the validity of the collected matter.
Some of the particulates left small craters, which may signify that they were falling at an accelerated speed, not merely floating matter. The most noteworthy sample was a metallic orb measuring 30 micrometers in diameter and composed of a combination of mostly titanium and a tiny amount of vanadium.  Testing revealed that biological material was inside the sphere and oozing out, and that the outside had a fungus-like covering.
“It is a ball about the width of a human hair, which has filamentous life on the outside and a gooey biological material oozing from its centre.” – Dr. Wainwright
Metallic Spheres Found at Reported UFO Crash Site
In 1984, the passengers of a train traveling through Padriesko, Moscow witnessed a metallic craft landing in a nearby area. Yuri Simiakov, a biologist and Russian Ufologist who performs experiments at possible UFO landing sites, discovered not only elevated magnetic levels at the site, an absence of all living things – including microbes, but also tiny metallic spheres containing DNA. Could these spheres be the same as those sampled in the stratosphere? More research needs to be done to track down the (American) unnamed labs that carried out research on the spheres in or around 1996. This is proving to be a difficult task. However, here we can compare images of the Wainwright spheres (to the left) to the Simiakov spheres (center and right)…
Is the Metallic Composition of the Sphere Unique?
Using electron scanning microscopy, the tiny sphere discovered by Dr. Wainwright was shown to be composed of mostly titanium with a little vanadium. This combination of metals, although not one of the most common alloys produced, is not unheard of. In fact, a stay-at-home mom laying on her couch can place a custom order from a metallurgical company of any ratio of these two metals, in a powder form which results in a diameter size between 10-50 micrometers. (The 30 micrometer size of the sphere sits well within these parameters.) What might be interesting is what these metals are used for…
- Titanium – it’s lightweight, highest strength to density ratio of any metallic element, corrosion resistant, and doesn’t react with human biology, mostly made into a white pigment, but also used in implants and (as an alloy) in aircraft engines, spacecraft, and missiles, expensive
- Vanadium – rarely found as an element in nature, corrosion resistant, good resistance against both extreme acids and bases, used mostly as an additive to alloy other metals for increased strength, used in nuclear reactors because of it’s low-neutron absorbing properties, expensive
- Titanium + Vanadium – increases strength and high heat resistance, and requires higher temperatures (up to 850 degrees C) to combine smaller amounts (1%) of Vanadium, very expensive
One can surmise from these factoids that, the metallic spheres were not a natural phenomena, but could have originated from earth, perhaps used as a powder coating on an airplane engine. Custom manufacturing of this particular combination would have been extremely expensive, as most titanium/vanadium alloys available also include aluminum, so this was perhaps a military product.
Dr. Wainwright, along with Professor Chandra Wichramasinghe, director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Buckingham in England, have a different theory – that this sphere and others like it came from space to carry DNA to Earth, contributing to the theory of “panspermia” – that life is spread throughout the universe by means of asteroids, comets or spacecraft. As previously stated, the sphere was manufactured, so this implies a purposeful use of the orb. Thinking as an intelligent being wanting to transport biological matter to Earth from elsewhere, the decision of using small titanium-vanadium balls is an excellent choice. They would be lightweight, high heat resistance (for entering the atmosphere), no reaction with human biology (for keeping biologicals free from toxins), and also helpful for shielding against some of the solar radiation.
How Did Biological Matter Get Inside the Spheres?
Dr. Wainwright reported finding “gooey biological material” coming from inside the sphere. First, let’s establish any findings, natural or otherwise, of living matter in the stratosphere and beyond:
- Scientists do find bacteria and fungi in the stratosphere, including known strains such as the disease-causing Staphylococcus and completely new strains not found on land or sea, including three that are highly resistant to UV radiation.
- A team of Swiss and German scientists have proven that DNA can survive the stresses of atmospheric reentry.
- A U.K.-based research team has discovered a stratospheric bacteria strain they describe as knitting themselves into a “slime community”.
- Nasa is conducting the MIST (Microorganisms in the Stratosphere) Project and has found “microorganisms from every major domain.”
- The theories of how the living matter physical got into the stratosphere varies greatly: rising on plumes of gas from erupting volcanoes, riding up the vacuum left by blue lightning traveling up, or catching a ride on a projectile from space.
So, as we can see, the stratosphere is alive with microorganisms, and they are of an extremely hardy variety. The question remains; is it terrestrial? This evidence supports both theories: 1) that some bacteria can be tolerant of the conditions to travel through space and break through our atmosphere, and 2) that finding (even slimy) biological matter surviving in the stratosphere is not a rare occurrence and can sometimes be proven as coming from Earth. What about the new strains of bacteria? Studying the ecosystem of the stratosphere is a new undertaking, therefore not surprising that discoveries are being made. Perhaps if a meteorite or incoming rocket were tested, or a scientist collected biological matter from an asteroid or the surface of Mars and then compared that to the newfound bacteria species and found a match, we could then definitively say the microorganism were of extra-terrestrial origin.
A better question may be, how did bacteria get into the manufactured spheres? If one adheres to the theory proposed by Wainwright and Wickramasinghe of panspermia, it is possible that intelligent beings purposefully placed the microorganisms within the protective spheres to seed Earth. Perhaps these spheres were manufactured in a way that they would open when they came down to earth, maybe by calculating the change of pressure or that the bacteria would reach an ideal temperature at which they would start metabolizing and again create enough gaseous pressure to spew out of their casing, as the picture of the Wainwright sphere shows. Panspermia theorists believe this could be a possible explanation for the sudden appearance of certain plagues and infectious diseases to which scientists can find no precursors.
An additional theory is that the biological matter found within the metallic spheres was a natural occurrence of bacteria and fungus that love to eat particular metals. One just has to recall the time they cut themselves on a rusty nail and had to get a tetanus shot. Why? Because certain bacteria (in this case, infectious) lives on metal, and even decomposes it. An example of this is the modern method of bioleaching – or extracting metals from ore using bacteria and fungi, although this does occur in nature as well. Titanium, the main component of the sphere, can be leached by a heterotrophic microorganism – which are abundant in water and can exist in low oxygen environments (and incidentally what human pathogens are made out of). Examples of these are members of the bacterial genus Bacillus and the fungi Aspergillus and Penicillium. Recently, the following microorganisms have been found in the stratosphere: Bacillus stratosphericis, Aspergillus niger, and Penicillium notatum.
It is quite possible then, that these microorganisms found this tasty titanium snack that jettisoned off of a rocket engine, entered from a crack or hole already existing in the custom-manufactured metal powder and had a feast. The spewing of matter seen in the photograph could be because of the warmer temperatures and more abundant foodstuffs in the atmosphere closer to land, the tiny titanium tenants outgrew their shelter and under the pressure of excess gases and matter, were evicted in the forceful manner depicted.
Conclusions and Moving Forward
In this particular mystery, there are two possibilities: the spheres are from Earth or from an intelligent, other-worldly source. The facts show that both possibilities exist, but each theory would need similar findings from continued experimentation or testing for comparison in order to have a more precise answer. Nasa continues to conduct stratospheric testing, as do scientists around the world. We need to keep our ears perked and our Google alerts on to compile any similar studies being done, especially if they find titanium/vanadium spheres filled with bacteria. In addition, just as Dr. Simiakov collected spheres from a reported UFO landing site, we should all be more aware of any such findings and do what we can to encourage proper evidence collection and testing by third parties to get accurate, provable results. Having the actual results, even DNA, of the distinct types of biological matter found in these spheres would be extremely helpful in proving their origin. Until then, we congratulate those scientists who keep looking for answers where others fear to tread.