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Terrestrial Titanospirillum velox along-side its purportedly alien look-alike.  (Source: Riccardo Guerrero / Richard B. Hoover / Journal of Cosmology)

Another close-up of the possible "alien".  (Source: Riccardo Guerrero / Richard B. Hoover / Journal of Cosmology)
Astrobiologist shattered meteorite, reports finding fossilized microbe E.T.s inside

An astrobiologist working at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center outside Huntsville, Alabama has made an astounding claim.  In a recently published journal article, he claims to have discovered a preserved alien life form residing inside a meteor that journeyed through the vast black of space before impact our planet.

This extra-terrestrial may not be a bulbous-headed humanoid like in the movies, but it may offer up an answer to one of mankind's greatest inquiries -- are we alone in the universe?

The researcher, Dr. Richard B. Hoover [profile], had to go to extraordinary lengths to make his discovery.  He reasoned that if alien microbes were to hitch a ride on a meteorite, they would likely have to do so in a special meteor.  

Specifically, he zeroed in on the CI class of carbonaceous chrondite meteors.   These meteors are rich in water, amino acids, and other organic compounds -- seemingly a virtual pantry for a microorganism.  

Picking the most ideal type of CI meteorite -- CI1 optimized his chances, but narrowed his pool of available specimens.  In total only nine such meteorites are known to exist on Earth.

After going to great lengths to obtain one of these meteorites, he destroyed a piece of it, smashing it apart.  Using scanning-electron microscopes and field emissions electron-scanning microscopes he images the result dust and fragments and made the extraordinary discovery he was hoping for -- what appears to be a fossilized bacteria.

The identified specimen appears remarkably similar to the bacteria Titanospirillum velox, a sulfur-loving archaebacteria, which was discovered in 1999 mud samples from Spain.

The meteorite was reportedly broken under carefully controlled sterile conditions.  Now the only unknown is whether the meteorite could have somehow been contaminated.  The meteors were sterilely harvested in the frigid reaches of Antarctica immediately after their observed fall.  The fact that they were collected so quickly limits the possibility that indigenous microbes contaminated them.  The possibility of atmospheric contamination still remains, though.

Dr. Hoover believes that this is not a case of contamination.  He is convinced that he has become the first human to record a scientifically verifiable encounter with an alien being.  He states in a recent interview, "I interpret it as indicating that life is more broadly distributed than restricted strictly to the planet Earth. This field of study has just barely been touched -- because quite frankly, a great many scientist would say that this is impossible."

The discovery has been met with a great deal of skepticism, but also fascination.  Dr. Hoover writes in a note to the editor's note accompanying his study, "Given the controversial nature of his discovery, we have invited 100 experts and have issued a general invitation to over 5,000 scientists from the scientific community to review the paper and to offer their critical analysis. No other paper in the history of science has undergone such a thorough vetting, and never before in the history of science has the scientific community been given the opportunity to critically analyze an important research paper before it is published."

With the paper currently peer-reviewed and published [abstract] in the Journal of Cosmology, Dr. Hoover's discovery will face its next critical test, with the collected materials being examined by a second research team for verification and validation.

Dr. David Marais, an astrobiologist at NASA's AMES Research Center states, "It’s an extraordinary claim, and thus I’ll need extraordinary evidence."

Dr. Hoover is confident his discovery will be validated.  He comments, "A lot of times it takes a long time before scientists start changing their mind as to what is valid and what is not. I’m sure there will be many scientists that will be very skeptical and that’s OK."

"If someone can explain how it is possible to have a biological remain that has no nitrogen, or nitrogen below the detect ability limits that I have, in a time period as short as 150 years, then I would be very interested in hearing that. I’ve talked with many scientists about this and no one has been able to explain."

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Journal of Cosmology.....
By GreenEnvt on 3/7/2011 9:27:40 AM , Rating: 2
'Nuff said.
(website looks like my 2 year old designed it, 15 years before her birth).

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By Moohbear on 3/7/2011 9:31:00 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I was thinking, the journal is very recent and does look very serious. Besides, with a discovery of the sort, you'd think he'd go for Nature or Science, except if he didn't want his paper really reviewed...

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By Moohbear on 3/7/2011 9:32:01 AM , Rating: 2
edit: "does look" should read "doesn't look".

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By RjBass on 3/7/2011 9:42:33 AM , Rating: 2
Really? A guy makes what is possibly one of the most important scientific discovery's of all time and your concern is with the website?

You really need a new hobby.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By Motoman on 3/7/2011 10:05:12 AM , Rating: 3
Really? Do you think a respected, peer-reviewed journal of record would have a website that would look iffy on Geocities?

Have you read any of the articles on that site? It's a is a secondary priority on that site...they're a lot closer to the National Enquirer than they are to Nature.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By Boze on 3/7/2011 11:14:47 AM , Rating: 2
It could be possible that he's trying to push this new journal from what appears to be obscurity into the scientific public's eye.

I still think he would have been better off submitting this to Science, but I think I'd rather wait till qualified scientists review this paper before shooting it down. If its true, it could be one of the greatest discoveries we've ever made.

And on the other hand though... the Journal of Cosmology could have paid a local college kid in a computer science program $500 to make a jam up web site.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By Boze on 3/7/2011 11:16:22 AM , Rating: 2
One other thing I should add... Gregor Mendel's research was published in an extremely obscure journal and sat around for decades before anyone reviewed it again.

Just sayin'... he's the Father of Genetics and all.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By Motoman on 3/7/2011 11:33:10 AM , Rating: 2
It could be possible that he's trying to push this new journal from what appears to be obscurity into the scientific public's eye.

No, I don't believe that's possible at all. The only reasonable conclusion one could draw from the submission of a paper to that "journal" would be an expectation that it wouldn't pass muster anywhere else.

If you have verifiable information about a newsworthy subject, you send it to Reuter's, or the NYT, etc. You don't send it to the National Enquirer. This "journal" is effectively the National Enquirer of "science" journals.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By melgross on 3/7/2011 1:46:33 PM , Rating: 2
It's a good thing you're such an expert.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By Motoman on 3/7/2011 2:09:48 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the issue at hand is that it's very sad that you're such a gullible chump, apparently.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By kingius on 3/10/2011 9:36:10 AM , Rating: 2
There he goes again; in motorman's world, everybody but himself is an idiot. He smells an awful lot like arrogance, and you know what they say… ignorance and arrogance go in hand.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By DNAgent on 3/7/2011 8:50:24 PM , Rating: 2
would look iffy on Geocities?

You're dating yourself with this...did you pop out of a meteorite, too?

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By Motoman on 3/7/2011 11:23:15 PM , Rating: 2
...go look at that website and we'll see who's "dated."


RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By nafhan on 3/7/2011 10:27:09 AM , Rating: 2
If a guy living in a van by the river claimed to have discovered a new energy source in his van, you might be skeptical. A bad website is the internet version of that.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By MozeeToby on 3/7/2011 11:58:22 AM , Rating: 3
The researcher is apparently well enough respected in his field that he was allowed to destroy a sample of one of the rarest kinds of meteorites on the planet, not something they just hand out to anyone.

That said, the Journal of Cosmology was apparently only started a year and a half ago and is known mostly for publishing some fringe alternatives to black hole physics. I suspect that the researcher is well respected but overstepped his evidence with the sensationalist way that he wanted to publish causing the better publishers to be wary of this paper.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By nafhan on 3/7/2011 1:31:22 PM , Rating: 2
The scientist and his research may be totally legit (I'm certainly not in a position to judge that). My comments were completely in regards to the journal in which he chose to publish and specifically how that journal's awful website may relate to the quality of the work published within it.
As you mentioned, there may be a reason why he wasn't able to get it into one of the more well known journals. Hopefully, additional peer review and publication may be forthcoming.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By JakLee on 3/7/2011 4:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
Of course, they could have offered him 10x what Nat Geo/Science/ect offered him for exclusive first publishing rights.... Scientists got to eat too

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By Moohbear on 3/7/2011 6:30:09 PM , Rating: 2
Scientists PAY to have their papers published in peer-reviewed journals, not the other way around. If he wanted money, he would have sent his finding to the National Enquirer, they might have bought it and added a picture of Elvis or Michael Jackson...

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By JediJeb on 3/7/2011 6:22:14 PM , Rating: 2
Check out the AOAC(Association of Official Analytical Chemists) website. It is one of the major players in the Chemistry field yet the website is just now even beginning to look like something I could have made using basic HTML. Just because a group puts more money into their work than their website is not a reason to denigrate them. Now if it were a computer related site that would be another matter.

RE: Journal of Cosmology.....
By MrBlastman on 3/7/2011 10:51:40 AM , Rating: 2
I want this to be true, I really do. However, he is going to face quite an uphill battle to get this accepted in the scientific community.

For starters, these rocks crashed a long time ago:


So who knows what went on after they hit the dirt. The publication does state they were collected shortly after impact, but, given how long ago they hit, do we really know for sure that this is so? Even after they were collected... what about how they were stored?

The one thing that does shed some hope in this finding is he goes on later in the text (have barely touched the surface so far but I'll read some more) to state that the significant finding he seems to have made centers around the bacteria being cyanobacteria--i.e. bacteria that photosynthesize their energy. Alone, you'd think the rocks could be contaminated. He then goes on to state that the rocks are rich in salts and when exposed to water, they dissolve into microparticles--further shedding plausibility to them not being able to be contaminated while on Earth, lest they would potentially cease to exist. The crystalline structures, in theory, would have to have been created offworld.

I say we need to leave this publication up to peer review and criticism before we can definitively say it is feasibly true or not. I will say this--if it is, this is a huge day on Earth, to finally have some offworld potential proof of life elsewhere.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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