In September of 2013, a group of British scientists has made a statement saying that during the air-travel in a balloon in the uppermost layer of the atmosphere, a fragment of the cell was discovered, which may be an indication of the presence of life forms in space. Some individuals and proponents of conspiracy theories often put forward the new “proof” of alien visits to Earth, and even scholars argue that they routinely discover signs of presence of extraterrestrial life. Here are five statements from scientists about the existence of extraterrestrials.
Microbial life forms in meteorites
NASA’s scientist Richard Hoover published on March 4, 2011 a scientific article in which he presented evidence of finding fossils of the blue-green algae in carbon-containing meteorites from outer space. Hoover looked at pieces of meteorites using scanning electron microscopy methods and found fibers and structures resembling, as stated by the scientist, these tiny single-celled algae.
Some members of the scientific community reacted skeptically to the Hoover’s discovery, partly because his research findings were published in a rather abstruse source, the Journal of Cosmology. Other investigators have stated that the research was conducted properly, however, to speak with confidence about the correctness of Hoover’s study is too soon.
Discoveries made by the “Viking” lander capsules
In 1976, two lander capsules “Viking” have been deployed to Mars surface. They performed a number of biological experiments, and among other things, collected samples of Martian soil to test the probability of existence of organic matter, from which life can emerge, as well as biological evidence that would indicate the existence of living microorganisms.
The “Vikings” have not found any evidential traces of organic matter, but during on-board experiments while on the Mars surface, a reactive substance was found, which caused an increase in carbon dioxide concentrations. Engineer Gilbert Levin, who created the device for conducting this experiment, concluded that this activity is caused by living organisms hidden in the Martian soil. However, the majority of the scientific community disagreed with this interpretation of the results.
Recent studies have led to some doubts about negative outcomes of the “Viking”’s attempts in finding organic matter. In December of 2010, the Journal of Geophysical Research published the results of a new study which indicated that organic substances on Mars indeed existed, but they were destroyed by other chemicals long before they were discovered by the “Viking” capsules.
Arthur Clarke’s Marcian shrubs
Science fiction writer, Sir Arthur Clarke, famous for his succession of novels “Space Odyssey”, has caused quite a stir back in 2001, when he announced that recently obtained evidence from the research station “Mars Global Surveyor” images indicated presence of trees and shrubs on this planet. Most scientists have ridiculed the writer’s claims, but Clarke stood firm continuing to defend his point of view.
“I am telling you in all seriousness, take a good look at these new pictures from Mars”, Clark replied. “There’s something moving and changing with each new season, and this phenomenon suggests the presence of vegetation”.
Clark died in 2008 in Sri Lanka.
The idea that Mars is dissected by a complex system of channels was first voiced in 1877 by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli. Later, his idea was popularized by astronomer Percival Lowell. Lowell has come up with a number of intricate drawings of what he considered to be channels, based on observations from his private observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
His ideas have been met with quite a broad positive response up until early 20th century, when the quality of astronomical research has improved, and telescopes with higher resolution revealed that the “channels” on Mars surface were nothing more than an optical illusion, and geological formations.
Meteorite “Allan Hills”
When scientists announced in 1996 that they discovered fossilized remains of microbes in a meteorite from Mars, it has become extraordinary news. A public announcement to the nation about this discovery was made by President Bill Clinton, and it was long believed that with this discovery we can finally say that we are not alone in the universe.
But with subsequent analysis and a closer look at the meteorite called “Allan Hills” 84001 (ALH 84001), controversy and disagreements followed and many experts have begun to speculate that the fossils could be a result of other processes which are not in any way related to life.
This discovery still generates considerable debates, and the space rock continues to be studied by scientists.