Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


'Alien life' claim closely examined

07 March 2011, 08:22

Washington - A Nasa scientist's claim that he found tiny fossils of alien life in the remnants of a meteorite has stirred both excitement and scepticism, and is being closely reviewed by 100 experts.

Richard Hoover's paper, along with pictures of the microscopic earthworm-like creatures, were published late on Friday in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cosmology, which is available free online.

Hoover sliced open fragments of several types of carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, which can contain relatively high levels of water and organic materials, and looked inside with a powerful microscope.

He found bacteria-like creatures that he calls "indigenous fossils", which he believes originated beyond Earth and were not introduced here after the meteorites landed.

"He concludes these fossilised bacteria are not Earthly contaminants but are the fossilised remains of living organisms which lived in the parent bodies of these meteors, eg comets, moons, and other astral bodies," said the study.

"The implications are that life is everywhere, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets."

Hefty debate

Studies that suggest alien microbes can be contained in meteorites are not new, and have drawn hefty debate over how such life could survive in space and how and where life may have originated in the universe.

The journal's editor in chief, Rudy Schild of the Centre for Astrophysics, Harvard-Smithsonian, said Hoover is a "highly respected scientist and astrobiologist with a prestigious record of accomplishment at Nasa".

"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," he said.

Those commentaries will be published on March 7 through March 10.

A Nasa-funded study in December suggested that a previously unknown form of bacterium had been found deep in a California lake that could thrive on arsenic, adding a new element to what scientists have long considered the six building blocks of life.

That study drew plenty of criticism, particularly after Nasa touted the announcement as evidence of extraterrestrial life. Scientists are currently attempting to replicate those findings.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Apologise for attack on Auditor G...

Apologise for attack on Auditor General, President Uhuru Kenyatta is told by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong'o. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Quit if you can't fight corruptio...

An MP has told President Uhuru Kenyatta to quit office if he cannot fight corruption. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Investigate Uhuru, Ruto for corru...

Investigate President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto's offices over corruption, CORD leader Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Its a 1 horse race to State House...

Its a 1 horse race to State House, DP William Ruto has mocked the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Enjoy your time left in power, We...

CORD Co Principal Moses Wetangu'la has told the Jubilee Coalition to enjoy its last few months in power before it is voted out in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Stop hiding in State House and sa...

ODM MP's have called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to release drought aid and to stop sitting on public funds. Read more...