Sunday, March 6, 2011

NASA News: Alien Life Found On Meteorite & Tracking Meteors

Riccardo Guerrero / Richard B. Hoover / Journal of Cosmology

A photograph taken through a scanning electron microscope of a CI1 meteorite (right) is similar in size and overall structure to the giant bacterium Titanospirillum velox (left), an organism found here on planet Earth, a NASA scientist said. We are not alone in the universe -- and alien life forms may have a lot more in common with life on Earth than we had previously thought.

That's the stunning conclusion one NASA scientist has come to, releasing his groundbreaking revelations in a new study in the March edition of the Journal of Cosmology.

Dr. Richard B. Hoover, an astrobiologist with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, has traveled to remote areas in Antarctica, Siberia, and Alaska, amongst others, for over ten years now, collecting and studying meteorites. He gave early access to the out-of-this-world research, published late Friday evening in the March edition of the Journal of Cosmology. In it, Hoover describes the latest findings in his study of an extremely rare class of meteorites, called CI1 carbonaceous chondrites -- only nine such meteorites are known to exist on Earth.

Though it may be hard to swallow, Hoover is convinced that his findings reveal fossil evidence of bacterial life within such meteorites, the remains of living organisms from their parent bodies -- comets, moons and other astral bodies. By extension, the findings suggest we are not alone in the universe, he said.

“I interpret it as indicating that life is more broadly distributed than restricted strictly to the planet earth,” Hoover told “This field of study has just barely been touched -- because quite frankly, a great many scientist would say that this is impossible.”

In what he calls “a very simple process,” Dr. Hoover fractured the meteorite stones under a sterile environment before examining the freshly broken surface with the standard tools of the scientist: a scanning-electron microscope and a field emission electron-scanning microscope, which allowed him to search the stone’s surface for evidence of fossilized remains.

He found the fossilized remains of micro-organisms not so different from ordinary ones found underfoot -- here on earth, that is.

“The exciting thing is that they are in many cases recognizable and can be associated very closely with the generic species here on earth,” Hoover told But not all of them. “There are some that are just very strange and don’t look like anything that I’ve been able to identify, and I’ve shown them to many other experts that have also come up stumped.”

Other scientists tell the implications of this research are shocking, describing the findings variously as profound, very important and extraordinary. But Dr. David Marais, an astrobiologist with NASA’s AMES Research Center, says he’s very cautious about jumping onto the bandwagon.

These kinds of claims have been made before, he noted -- and found to be false.

“It’s an extraordinary claim, and thus I’ll need extraordinary evidence,” Marais said.

Knowing that the study will be controversial, the journal invited members of the scientific community to analyze the results and to write critical commentaries ahead of time. Though none are online yet, those comments will be posted alongside the article, said Dr. Rudy Schild, a scientist with the Harvard-Smithsonian's Center for Astrophysics and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cosmology.

"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," Schild wrote in an editor's note along with the article. "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, he wrote."

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NASA Tracking Objects that smash into Earth

One of NASA's meteor/fireball tracking camera.

NASA is now using cameras to track the night sky, searching for meteors that enter our atmosphere. So far they have 3 cameras: One in northern Alabama, one in northwest Georgia and one in southern Tennessee but they have plans to place a total of 15 specialized black & white video cameras, mostly east of the Mississippi River, in planataria, science centers and schools. 

The video cameras have wide angle lenses that allow a view of the whole night sky. The cameras are place with overlapping fields of view.  That  means a fireball can be detected by more than one camera, allowing NASA to calculate the height and speed of the fireball and orbit.  We can even work out the orbit of the meteoroid responsible for creating the fireball, which gives us clues about whether it came from a comet or an asteroid.  If the fireball is traveling slow enough, and makes it low enough, it is possible that it can survive to the ground as a meteorite.

OK, so what about the rest of the U.S.?  

On the bright side, the cameras will also capture UFOs on video!

Read more 



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