Headlines over the weekend boldly proclaimed that we are not alone in the universe. This confident assertion relies upon reports that a NASA scientist has discovered tiny fossils of alien life in a meteorite.
Richard Hoover, an astrobiologist with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, has been researching an extremely rare class of meteorites (only nine have been found on earth) known as Cl1 carbonaceous chondrites. Dr. Hoover cracked open one of these meteorites in a sterile environment and then analyzed the fresh surface under a field emission scanning electron microscope.
His results were published in the March edition of the Journal of Cosmology. The journal’s website stated, “Dr. Hoover has discovered evidence of microfossils similar to Cyanobacteria, in freshly fractured slices of the interior surfaces of the Alais, Ivuna, and Orgueil Cl1 carbonaceous meteorites . . . . Dr. Hoover has concluded they are indigenous to these meteors and are similar to trichomic cyanobacteria and . . . are not Earthly contaminants . . . . [T]he implications are that life is everywhere, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets.”1
Answers in Genesis has responded to similar reports in the past and we will be prepared to offer a statement in the future after the research has been examined by the scientific community. Until that point, there are some important points to remember as you think about this issue.
First, notice that the desire to prove an evolutionary origin of man is a driving force in the Journal of Cosmology (i.e., “the implications are that life is everywhere, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets”). This is flatly contradicted by the Bible’s historically accurate account which reveals that God directly created life on earth (Genesis 1–2; Colossians 1:15–18).
Second, this is not the first time Dr. Hoover has made such claims. On August 2, 2004, the www.panspermia.org website announced the same finding:
Richard B. Hoover of NASA/NSSTC announced today the discovery of evidence for the detection of a fossilized cyanobacterial mat in a freshly fractured, interior surface of the Orgueil carbonaceous meteorite.2
Three years later, Dr. Hoover presented a paper entitled “Microfossils of cyanobacteria in carbonaceous meteorites” at a conference for the Society of Professional Instrumentation Engineers.
Third, since he was examining microscopic features, his interpretation of fossilized microbes is questionable. In fact, many secular scientists who are no friends to Answers in Genesis seriously doubt Hoover’s claims. For example, Phil Plait, the creator of the Bad Astronomy blog has written an article calling into question the report.3
Fourth, although Dr. Hoover studied the meteorite in a sanitary environment, there is always the possibility that it was contaminated by organisms from earth prior to its examination.
Finally, be careful as you watch or read the news reports on this subject. Many of the websites have displayed an image of an actual bacteria found on Earth named Titanospirillum velox instead of the image of Hoover’s research from the meteorite which displays some similarities to that particular bacteria.
This appears to be another piece of news in a long line of claims purportedly demonstrating the “proof” of life in outer space, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it quietly swept under the rug in the coming weeks. Christians have no need to worry about this latest proclamation since we have the only reliable and infallible record of earth history in the Bible.
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