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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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RE: Ugh...
By InsaneGain on 3/7/2011 3:47:41 PM , Rating: 2
We might, however, but the only or one of the few complex lifeform in the galaxy.

I don't agree. Life started on Earth immediately after conditions barely became supportive. These conditions were still extremely hostile. So somehow life will not be that incredibly rare, even though it appears it should be. My belief is that if conditions are similar to Earth's, then this primitive life will be subject to the same evolutionary processes as Earth, and inevitably evolve until it is very similar to human due to the principals of convergent evolution. So basically, almost every 4.5 billion year old Earth-like planet should have people on them :)

RE: Ugh...
By SPOOFE on 3/8/2011 1:02:55 AM , Rating: 2
Life started on Earth immediately after conditions barely became supportive.

But remained basic creatures until conditions settled down to something less chaotic. The assertion that there may not be much complex life in the galaxy is not that spectacular; most life forms here on Earth are still incredibly simple.

RE: Ugh...
By Da W on 3/8/2011 9:41:26 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah but if the universe really is merely 13 billions years old, and that the first 4-5 billions years the universe was just too small and too hot to breed life, and that it took us 4.5 billions years of STABILITY to get where we are today, if you compute the math, there is only a 3 billion years window of opportunity for a smart lifeform to have existed somewhere else. Compound that by the low probability of having a stable planet like earth, far from nocive radiations, protected from frequent meteoric impacts, with a stable rotation around it's star to have a stable temperature and a very slow burning star like our own.

And then, seeing how it took us only 10000 years to stop chasing mamooths to get into space travel (at leats to the moon that is), imagine where an alien race with a 1billion years head-start would be. They would be jedi and rule the galaxy by now!!! We sure would have heard of them. Evolution is very slow to start but once you get smart and social, the rate at which you discover technology gets expondential.

I think we are at the beginning of the universe and we are the first. Not that intelligent alien lifeforms are not possible, i just think they havn't got time yet and WE will breed new alien lifeforms in the future, when human space settlers will stay on a foreign planet for too long and evolve differently. Anyway, that's a theory.

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