Thursday, March 10, 2011


Scientists Dismiss Alien Life Report
from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)

A report claiming to find remnants of alien life in meteorites has been broadly dismissed by scientists after its publication Friday in an eccentric online journal. The report was written by Richard Hoover, an engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. He had sliced open a couple of small meteorites, looked at them under a microscope and seen what he thought were the fossils of tiny bacteria called cyanobacteria.

Hoover wrote his report, concluding that life is common throughout the universe. He submitted a paper to the Journal of Astrobiology, which rejected it. Hoover then sent his paper to the online Journal of Cosmology, which promotes the idea that life on Earth came from outer space. A report by Fox News on the paper triggered a meteor storm of publicity over the weekend, followed quickly by derision from mainstream scientists.

NASA has distanced itself from Hoover's work. In an unusual step Monday, Paul Hertz, chief scientist of NASA's science mission directorate, issued a statement saying, among other things, that "NASA cannot stand behind or support a scientific claim unless it has been peer-reviewed or thoroughly examined by other qualified experts.... NASA was unaware of the recent submission of the paper to the Journal of Cosmology or of the paper's subsequent publication."


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