Claim: alien life found in meteorite
In a paper by Richard B. Hoover, who you are going to see called a “NASA scientist”, it is claimed that fossils of microscopic alien life forms have been identified inside a meteorite
The work was published in the online publication The Journal of Cosmology.
This is already getting a lot of publicity.
There are a few questions to consider here:
1. If the claim is true, is it new information?
There is a hypothesis that life arrived on Earth from outside, and/or that it continues to arrive in meteors and such. The general idea of life traveling through space in this way is referred to as “panspermia”. Among the proponents of the idea have been Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe. Evidence has been claimed a few times in the past, but has not been generally scientifically accepted.
2. Is this a legitimate scientist? Is this a legitimate journal?
Papers submitted are anonymously reviewed by at least two referees, although those referees may work for the journal. The staff appear to have legitimate qualifications in the field.
3. If this is not evidence of alien life, what would be the alternative explanations?
There are two main responses to this.
The first issue is eliminating contamination: did these cyanobacteria get into the meteorite after it arrived on Earth? That’s clearly one of the more complicated issues to resolve.
The second issue has to do with defining “life”. That’s also not always as clear as a layperson might presume.
4. What are the implications if the claim is accepted?
You are going to hear this connected to anthropomorphic aliens and UFOs. Proof of microscopic alien life doesn’t immediately imply the existence of more complex alien life. However, it would provide evidence of something widely-assumed by scientists, that life exists outside the Earth.
We’ll hear more about this in the coming weeks.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.