Astronomy Hysteria: Is NASA’s Thursday Announcement About Life on Other Planets?

  • Share
  • Read Later

Science bloggers are going a bit nuts over the vague announcement by NASA on Monday that it will discuss an “astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.”

Some writers and bloggers are speculating that it could be a discovery on Mars, which has been under intense study by the Rover since 2004. Others seem to think it will be an announcement regarding one of Saturn’s moons, either Titan or Rhea.

Little reliable info has leaked so far, but instead it’s the roster of conference participants that has raised eyebrows in the blogging world. For example, Felisa Wolfe-Simon has written in New Scientist about the discovery of a new kind of photosynthesis that uses arsenic instead of water. Blogger Jason Kottke, who fueled a lot of the speculation, even said he thinks NASA has discovered arsenic on Titan.

(Stunning space photos: Hubble’s greatest hits)

Bloggers are speculating as to why these experts would be participating, if not for a major Mars or Saturn discovery.

However, Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, put a damper on the hysteria when he tweeted Tuesday that he had read the embargoed Science article pertinent to Thursday’s press conference. And no, Madrigal said, the conference will not announce the discovery of little green men (or life in general) on other planets.

NewsFeed, always skeptical about sweeping online speculation, sides with Madrigal on this one, but then again we could be wrong. We’ll learn of the new discoveries, right alongside the rest of the blogosphere, tomorrow. You can join in the fun too; you’ll find a live feed of the news conference here. Show starts at 2 p.m. eastern.