Astrobiologists discover fossils in meteorite fragments, confirming extraterrestrial life

Confirmation of extraterrestrial life would be Big News. Thus either the media missed this, or maybe it’s not exactly confirmed. Maybe the article itself has something to say…

These findings aren’t a slam dunk, though. According to our in-house biologist John Hewitt, there’s a strong possibility that the fossils aren’t actually biological in nature — they simply look biological.

So… it looks intriguing, but is not confirmed. But that sort of thing doesn’t stand in the way of a good headline writer…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001629851420 Mark Temple

    i’ve seen more neutral articles on this. chain of evidence on the rock in question is pretty much non-existant, making it hard to tell if the sample might have been contaminated by outside materials. the rock itself is not confirmed to be a meteorite, that’s just what the person who sent it in claims it to be (composition and form seem to indicate otherwise.) the analysed bits were fragments of the larger rock, so the british scientists just have to assume the Srilankan discoverers are correct about it being from space, and not some terrestrial rock. plus the fossils found can be identified as contemporary terrestrial species, making contamination or terrestrial origin most likely.

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/03/richard-hoover-meteorite-bugs/

    • Anonymous

      It really only takes a single break in the chain of evidence to negate the value of such a thing. And this thing… wow.

  • Christopher James Huff

    Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe is like the Giorgio Tsoukalos (the History Channel “it was aliens” guy) of panspermia. He blames practically *everything* on microbes from space, regardless of existing, more-plausible explanations. And the Journal of Cosmology…well, it’s known for low standards.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/01/15/life_in_a_meteorite_claims_by_n_c_wickramasinghe_of_diatoms_in_a_meteorite.html

    • publiusr

      I think he used to run around with Hoyle. He wrote a book “Diseases From Space.”
      He can be found at the JSE editorial board, so there is a connection to Woo:
      http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/

      The reason that this didn’t make news is that we have heard it all before
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Hills_84001

      It’s only to be expected that there are false alarms. It’s sthe same geologic processes which allowed small voids to fill with organics to keep them still and percolating after general compounds were vomited out of smokers and churned in intertidal zones with large tides from when the Moon was closer. You need both violence and quiet to make life. Water in riverbeds–and larger floods like the scablands–can form tornado like funnels which eat holes in the bed, often leaving one rock to scour in circles–a mortar and pestle from fluid dynamics.

      Geology can ape fossils because its the same forces that helped produce them to begin with.

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