Post by Ryan Maue
You may have seen the breathless coverage on Fox News of the alien life discovery from NASA’s Dr. Hoover — in some fancy meteorite. The “exclusive” nature of the discovery was hailed as evidence that we are not alone. Last week, we discovered that tangentially with the self-professed origination of Charlie Sheen from Mars. Anyhow, Adrian Chen at Gawker has found that this research is hardly new, and simply an update or recycling of claims made since 2004 by Dr. Hoover:
So, we’re calling bull$h%t on Richard Hoover’s discovery, and Fox News’ ‘exclusive’. Maybe Hoover really has found life (probably not). But it’s not news, and it’s far, far from certain.
However, in his zeal to dismiss Fox News as a propaganda outlet for NASA, or engaging in tabloid journalism, I guess Chen missed Andrew Revkin’s piece over at the NY Times:
The buzz is building over a paper by Richard Hoover, an award-winning astrobiologist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, concluding that filaments and other features found in the interior of three specimens of a rare class of meteorite appear to be fossils of a life form strongly resembling cyanobacteria.
While this so-called discovery may be entirely correct, perhaps Hoover should have called up the Union of Concerned Scientists instead of Fox News in order to peddle his wares. Revkin publishes first then promises to follow up later:
Rudy Schild, the journal’s editor in chief, said in a note accompanying the paper that reactions to the research, “both pro and con,” will be published on the journal’s Web site between March 7 and 10. I’ll check back in then of course, and I’m reaching out to Hoover and others working in this field now.
Is this a legitimate press release by a scientist with a profound new discovery or another example of “science by press release”? We report, you decide — or you follow up on your own, as in the case of the Ole Gray Lady. Alternatively, just use Google and find a very similar press release from 2004:
Also, don’t forget the discovery and undiscovery of new planets in our galaxy (October 12, 2010). Supposed new planet 20-light years away has been undiscovered