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Making the Case For Microscopic Life In Meteorites 103

Posted by timothy
from the told-my-sister-she-was-an-alien dept.
An anonymous reader writes "NASA scientist Dr. Richard Hoover claims he discovered evidence of extraterritorial life in a meteorite. He published his results in the March issue of Journal of Cosmology. In front of the article there is an official statement form the editor in chief: 'We believe Dr. Hoover's careful analysis provides definitive evidence of ancient microbial life on astral bodies some of which may predate the origin of Earth and this solar system. Dr. Richard Hoover is a highly respected scientist and astrobiologist with a prestigious record of accomplishment at NASA. Given the controversial nature of his discovery, we have invited 100 experts and have issued a general invitation to over 5000 scientists from the scientific community to review the paper and to offer their critical analysis.'"
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Making the Case For Microscopic Life In Meteorites

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @11:28AM (#35388944)

    Lest anyone get the wrong impression, The Journal of Cosmology is not exactly a mainstream journal. A quick perusal of the website should make that abundantly clear. I am not qualified to judge the paper as presented and I'll leave it to others with specific expertise to comment on that front (even if I have pretty clear opinions already).

    However, as an academic, I am perfectly well-qualified to judge whether something like this should be taken terribly seriously from the outset. For one thing, the fact that Dr Hoover's article is flanked by images and links to Amazon for books about the hypothesis that life on Earth was seeded from outer space written by him and the chief editor of the journal should raise immediate questions about academic standards in anyone's mind. And a skim through some of the other papers on the website serves only to reinforce that judgement.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @12:00PM (#35389148)
    The site is a scam, the model is you pay $35 to have your article submitted, then pay even more, $150, when it publishes. Content-wise it's like the national enquirer of cosmology and xenobiology but business-wise fleecing dumb writers instead of dumb supermarket shoppers. The 1970's comic book style images are a nice touch though, let's break out the tie-dye T-shirts and lava lamps and roll up a J and flash on ET riding a bicycle to Meatloaf rock operetta.
  • Re:Life? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @02:34PM (#35390276)

    How exactly does this differ from the studies and analysis done on ALH84001 some ten or so years ago?

    The biggest thing is size. The ALH84001 "bacteria" were 20-100 nanometres in diameter, these "bacteria" are on the order of 5 micrometers. Bacteria on Earth range from 0.5 to 20 micrometers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:49PM (#35391416)

    I just posted an article on my blog about this [discovermagazine.com]. My opinion: we need to be very skeptical (shocker, I know). The scientist involved is legit, even if the journal in which the study is published has some very shaky stuff in it (they published an insulting ad hominem screed against me, for example, linked in my post). His evidence is interesting, and is more than just pictures; he did a chemical analysis as well. I am not an expert and so I cannot say whether this finding will hold up or not, but I wanted to get some facts out there before the media blow this up into an impending alien invasion in December 2012. :)

If it smells it's chemistry, if it crawls it's biology, if it doesn't work it's physics.

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