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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 Fallen Andy (795676) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @10:27AM (#35388938)
    Not consistent with known minerals - yet - the environments we inhabit, the planet we inhabit is clearly a small subset of geological processes, same with biology i guess - but as a miserable amateur dreamer with scientific experience i figure we will see some delightful surprises....

    ---> open verdict, let the usual scientific bloodbath begin

    ---> quit the lame marketting crap NASA please

    (one day i'll wake up and we *will* have good exobiological evidence - at least i hope so)

    I'll stay a sceptic (although the optimist inside me would love to see a few cages rattled ;-) )

    Andy

  • by Trapezium Artist (919330) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @11:28AM (#35389288)
    Well, while I'm certainly of the opinion that the scientific content is highly dubious, it's not necessarily the case that it's a scam per se. That is, I don't think it's a money-raising scheme, fleecing unwitting cranks by deluding them that they're publishing in a reputable journal. I rather think that they all know what they're doing and are doing it willingly, namely that they're a bunch of iconoclasts who've decided to club together to promote their decidedly non-mainstream ideas. I imagine the money involved just covers some minimal costs of running the website etc. No-one's getting rich off this.

    After all, the editor-in-chief, Rudy Schild, is a staff astronomer at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics, a completely unimpeachable organisation, and has published many perfectly serious astrophysics papers over the years (although that doesn't necessarily vouch for some of his latter-day publications). Similarly, I imagine that many of the other authors publishing in this "journal" are legitimate scientists of various kinds, but who've decided to take a position against some of the mainstream views of modern cosmology, including the Big Bang.

    Of course, being a scientist doesn't automatically make you right and reading through some of the papers on the site, you do have to have to wonder whether they've approached their studies with such open minds that their brains have fallen out.

    [p.s. For what it's worth, I also posted the original "Not exactly a mainstream journal" entry, but had forgotten to log in when I did so]

  • Maybe not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by laing (303349) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @12:16PM (#35389622)
    I read the paper. He points out that there is a lack of detectable nitrogen in the fossils. This is the basis for his belief that they are extraterrestrial in origin. He also notes that fossils of cyanobacteria on Earth from 2.7 billion years ago have a lack of detectable nitrogen. He shows lots of charts and graphs of mass spectrometer data with most other Earth based fossils showing nitrogen. He does not explain the correlation of lack of nitrogen in these fossils and the 2.7 Gya Earth based cyanobacteria fossils. It's staring him in the face and he doesn't see it.

    Here's my theory and I would be happy if someone could point to some element of the paper that would disprove it: A large carbonaceous chondrite meteor hit a swap on Earth 2.7 billion years ago and caused some ejecta to fly off. The ejecta consisted of a mixture of the original asteroid and the swamp (including the bacteria). Some of the ejecta landed elsewhere on the earth and appeared to be a meteor. Several billion years later an ambitious NASA scientist wants to prove his theory of extraterrestrial life so he writes this paper without considering other possible explanations for his observations. His conclusions are not based upon the facts. They are speculation.

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