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,
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
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."
quote: We might, however, but the only or one of the few complex lifeform in the galaxy.
quote: Life started on Earth immediately after conditions barely became supportive.