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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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Because skepticism is cool?
By morphologia on 3/7/2011 2:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
It is just as foolish for an armchair astrobiologist to debunk this claim in absentia as it is for one to accept it as solid fact. It is too early to tell anything yet...let the countless experts that were invited to verify the claim do the naysaying, I say.

Dissenters of claims like these have several reasons for flat-out calling it a lie, including:

1) They're upset that they didn't make the discovery, and so spitefully denounce their fellow scientist, unfairly.

2) The discovery is so underwhelming, and they wanted the first alien life to be some grand landing on the White House lawn or something. Just because it doesn't meet your fantasy criteria doesn't mean it isn't valid.

I for one will withhold judgement...on the discovery, at least. I'll continue to judge the premature naysayers on the merits of their perceived competence in the subject. :)




RE: Because skepticism is cool?
By Motoman on 3/7/2011 11:27:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'll continue to judge the premature naysayers on the merits of their perceived competence in the subject. :)


You're a fool. There's only one reason the author published his paper through the utterly bogus "Journal of Cosmology" - because he knew his research wouldn't stand up to any actual peer-review scrutiny.

Do you honestly think that the author who wrote the "Batboy" articles for the National Enquirer had his stories published there because that's where he wanted his earth-shaking revelation to be made? Or was it because he knew no newspaper that requires it's stories to be based in reality would publish his article?

Having a paper published in the "Journal of Cosmology," or in the National Enquirer, is tantamount to an admission of fraud.


RE: Because skepticism is cool?
By kingius on 3/8/2011 10:59:14 AM , Rating: 2
It is a good job you are no judge, friend, because your judgments are based on vast leaps of logic that make the distances between the planets seem piddling.


RE: Because skepticism is cool?
By Motoman on 3/8/2011 12:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
You're projecting. I can guarantee you that everything I have stated here is in perfect compliance with the accepted scientific method.

You...on the other hand...well, it's clear that science (and therefore reality) just aren't all that important to you.


RE: Because skepticism is cool?
By JediJeb on 3/9/2011 3:49:34 PM , Rating: 2
That logic holds unless the more noted publications rejected it because of fear of the subject.

If you found absolute proof that ghosts exist, and took a well written paper on the subject with all the experimental details there proving your discovery, how many journals like Nature or Science would even let it in the door? Most will look at the subject and even if the paper is good, shy away from it just because of the topic. Scientific journals are just as worried about their reputations as any other publication and will even reject good papers if they fear publishing it will give them any type of questionable reputation.


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