Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fossils of Cyanobacteria in CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites?

Striking evidence for extraterrestrial origins of life:

This could be very big news for some branches of science, especially those which investigate the origins of life.

I am cautiously optimistic on this one but, as the article says, they are seeking a broad investigation into the results. This is exactly how science should be done.

There will be some knee-jerk nay-saying. There will be some premature fawning. It will probably take several years before we can make stronger claims. And even then it could be 100 years before we unravel things in detail. The danger here is in over simplifying the questions.

They are dealing with EXTREMELY tiny, fossilized features. Many of these features will have possible non-life origins. If we get extremely lucky some day we might catch a meteor that has a well-enough preserved organism that it can be revived and that would be conclusive (actually, it would be charged with contamination first).

What we SHOULD be marvelling at here is the progress we have made in science and how far we have yet to go. That we have such powerful tools of investigation and minds that are curious enough to plow forward.

If anyone should think that science is all but done, then they aren't looking very hard.

1 comment:

  1. And the answer is... a resounding NO.

    Someone on twitter had asked why the initial release was done through Fox News and now we have our answer.

    This was a fraudulent claim from a pseudo-science journal being used to boost pseudo-science book sales.

    PZMyers has details: