Some detailed analysis by scientists of meteorite fossil paper

Here’s some detailed analysis by scientists of the meteorite fossil paper.

Once again, there is a great deal of skepticism, most of which appears reasonably and justified. Though a number of scientists have applauded his work, it really looks like Hoover does not have sufficient evidence to claim his samples are alien biology. However, this quote stands out:

It appears likely that Hoover’s study may soon be ignored by the majority of the scientific community, instead of enjoying a healthy debate such as that raised by McKay’s 1996 paper on the Mars meteorite. Redfield says that a microbiologist that she knows refused to read it. [emphasis mine]

That hardly seems the right response from an open-minded scientist.

Planetary scientists reject meteorite fossil paper — without reading it

Richard Kerr of Science is attending the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas, and has written a short article describing the reaction of planetary scientists to the meteorite fossil paper by NASA scientist Richard Hoover. Their reaction, hostile and disinterested, isn’t pretty. These two quotes will give you the flavor:

Whether they have closely examined the paper by astrobiologist Richard Hoover of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center or only heard about it in the hallways, the reaction is the same: not again.

Rather than taking a look themselves, researchers have other things in mind. One leading scientist half-jokingly suggested hanging Hoover in effigy in the conference center lobby.

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NASA Statement on Astrobiology Paper by Richard Hoover

In an unusual move, NASA has issued a statement on the alien fossil paper written by Richard Hoover. Key quote:

While we value the free exchange of ideas, data, and information as part of scientific and technical inquiry, NASA cannot stand behind or support a scientific claim unless it has been peer-reviewed or thoroughly examined by other qualified experts. This paper was submitted in 2007 to the International Journal of Astrobiology. However, the peer review process was not completed for that submission. NASA also was unaware of the recent submission of the paper to the Journal of Cosmology or of the paper’s subsequent publication.

This suggests that Hoover was having trouble getting published in one journal, and did an end-around to get published in a journal more agreeable to his conclusions.

Though this does raise questions about the validity of the research, it is always the research itself that matters. In this case I remain skeptical, but intrigued. I really would like to know why the peer-review process on Hoover’s paper was taking so long at the International Journal of Astrobiology. I would also love to read a critique of Hoover’s papers from scientists in the field.

Has a NASA scientist discovered alien fossils in several meteorites?

alien fossil?

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.)
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