Science: Microscopic UFOs

During a study of air pollution in 1968, two researchers using an electron microscope at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, England spotted strange polyhedron-shaped particles, each only .00002 inches across. Uncertain whether they were looking at a new form of life or merely a speck of soot, the scientists spent a year trying to identify the airborne organisms. They enlisted the aid of a dozen outside research institutes. Last November, still unable to identify their discovery, they described it in a paper published in Nature, and asked the world's biological community to help solve the puzzle.

The correct solution was...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!