By Yury Garcia GUAYAQUIL (Reuters) - Camped on streets with sleeping bags and stocked with food supplies, thousands of excited Ecuadoreans congregated in the coastal city of Guayaquil on Monday for Pope Francis' first mass of his "homecoming" tour of South America. On the first full day of his three-nation trip, the Argentine-born pontiff was heading south from Quito to Ecuador's second city, a steamy port sometimes referred to as the world's "banana capital," given its bustling fruit trade. "It's going to be a very special day which I'll share with those I love," said Silvia Flores, a 43-year-old doctor waiting on the streets.
Astronomers proposed a novel explanation Monday for the strange appearance of the comet carrying Europe's robot probe Philae through outer space: alien microscopic life. Many of the frozen dust ball's features, which include a black crust over lakes of ice, flat-bottomed craters and mega-boulders scattered on the surface, were "consistent" with the presence of microbes, they said. Observations by the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet orbiter has shown that 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko "is not to be seen as a deep-frozen inactive body, but supports geological processes," Max Wallis of the University of Cardiff said in a statement issued by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).