Very very intriguing: A NASA scientist has claimed in a peer reviewed paper the discovery of alien fossils in several meteorites recovered on Earth. From the paper’s last paragraph:
The absence of nitrogen in the cyanobacterial filaments detected in the CI1 carbonaceous meteorites indicates that the filaments represent the remains of extraterrestrial life forms that grew on the parent bodies of the meteorites when liquid water was present, long before the meteorites entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
The news article describing this discovery is a bit more breathless in style than I would like, and makes me suspicious about these results. Moreover, that NASA held no press release or press conference for a result of this significance gives me pause. (Though NASA might have felt burned from the reactions they got from the arsenic-based-biology press conference and decided therefore to take a low profile here.)
In doing a quick review of the paper I remain skeptical but very intrigued. Hoover, the paper’s author, compares the alien fossils with similar terrestrial microscopic life forms as part of his proof. To me, there is a resemblance, but some of these fossils also resemble a variety of geological formations having nothing to do with life. Moreover, that they resemble terrestrial life forms suggests the possibility of contamination, which Hoover addresses but does require independent verification.
I should note that the paper and its editors appear totally legitimate. I have not read much from the Journal of Cosmology previously, but that means nothing. Moreover, the publishers have recognized the controversial nature of these results, and are calling for feedback from scientific community:
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. Our intention is to publish the commentaries, both pro and con, alongside Dr. Hoover’s paper. In this way, the paper will have received a thorough vetting, and all points of view can be presented.
That they did not do this before publication, however, gives me further pause. It makes me worry that they might prefer web traffic and publicity over vetting the paper thoroughly. Moreover, why Hoover brought such a paper to such a minor journal rather than one of the major journals like Science or Nature also makes me suspicious. A discovery of this note would surely merit the attention of these important journals. Moreover, the publication of a scientist’s work within such journals is always a feather in the cap for any legitimate scientist. That Hoover did not go to these journals first with his results suggests he might have been avoiding the kind of hard scrutiny such journals routinely give.
Either way, we shall see. The reaction to a paper with such extraordinary claims should certainly be extraordinary. Which is only right.
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