On November 29 2010, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) issued a press release that on Thursday, December 2, they were going to be holding a press conference to discuss an astrobiology finding that would impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Participants at the press conference were going to be Mary Voytek, director, Astrobiology Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington; Felisa Wolfe-Simon, NASA astrobiology research fellow, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.; Pamela Conrad, astrobiologist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Steven Benner, distinguished fellow, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, Gainesville, Fla.; James Elser, professor, Arizona State University, Tempe.
Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.
What a panel! What credentials!
Is this the proof of extraterrestrials that the world had been waiting for?
Was this the smoking gun that UFOlogists had been waiting for?
The internet was buzzing with speculation as to what this great astrobiological find was!
On the morning of the NASA press conference, the morning news shows were filled with reports and speculation as to what this great astrobiology find was, and I had been invited by several morning radio talk shows to join them to discuss what I believed this press conference was all about.
Did NASA actually find the proof that we are not alone in the universe and that we have been and are in fact been visited by little green aliens from another planet, universe or dimension?
Were there really aliens being kept at Area 51 by NASA and was the alleged crash at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 part of a NASA cover-up?
At 2 pm eastern, NASA broke their earth shattering news that they had in fact, NASA announced that a team headed by astrobiology researcher Felisa Wolfe-Simon had discovered a remarkable new microorganism, GFAJ-1, in California's highly toxic Mono Lake.
Where is the extraterrestrial that they found? What about a UFO?
How does bacteria found in Mono Lake, California, here on this planet impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life?
Bacteria! Are they kidding?
GFAJ-1, the researchers report in a paper in Science Magazine, is capable of using arsenic instead of phosphorus as one of its basic building blocks when grown in an environment abundant with the former but lacking the latter. Biologists have never before encountered an organism like this.
That is because they were not looking for it!
You see, as far as science was concerned, if life was not carbon based, it could not exist.
I had questioned this point over my years doing The 'X' Zone with members of the scientific community, SETI and NASA. My question was, "what if life elsewhere was silicon based or based on another element of the periodic table that we have yet to understand?"
The response, "Only carbon based life form can sustain life." Um... they forgot one little part of the sentence, "as we know it."
The fact that NASA didn’t stumble upon ALF and ET having a tea party in some distant corner of the universe does not make the implications raised by the abilities of GFAJ-1 any less profound (though, to be fair, the ALF/ET announcement would have been pretty cool).
GAFJ-1 is the ultimate optimist — instead of making lemonade from lemons, it makes DNA from arsenic. It not only can survive in the arsenic, it incorporates the normally poisonous element into all of its biomolecular structures — an adaptive strategy that is unprecedented anywhere else in the field of physiology.
I understand tat there are some major implications with this bacterial discovery, but come on! NASA played the extraterrestrial card in order to get the media coverage that they received.
Would members of the media and internet bloggers actually give NASA a second thought about the discovery of bacteria that thrives on arsenic that was discovered in a polluted lake in California is they would not have added the extraterrestrial twist?
Of course not.
I spoke to a good friend of mine on The 'X' Zone after the bacterial find announcement by NASA, Howard Bloom author of "The Lucifer Principle" and "The Genius of the Beast" (www.howardbloom.net) who also sits on a space steering committee with astronauts Dr. Edgar Mitchell and Buzz Aldrin and asked him for his opinion on the NASA announcement.
Howard agreed that that NASA press conference received the attention that it did because of NASA's manipulation and hype of the extraterrestrial connection and that the release and the press conference was misleading.
Howard was at a meeting the night of the press conference with Dr. Mitchell and Buss Aldrin and no one spoke about the NASA press conference and their bacterial find.
The discovery of the bacteria was a Non Event with NASA's elite Apollo Astronauts.
If anything, what this press conference and bacterial find evidences is that the scientific community has been ignoring the possibility of life other than the carbon based units that they have been focusing on for all these years, ignoring the existence of life other than carbon based that can be found on this very planet, in the most unlikely places.
It's time to rewrite the science books and science journals.
Imagine that, science being wrong, or at least, being ignorant of not finding what is right in front of them because of their arrogance that the scientific community could not be wrong - that they know everything.
Questions that we should now be asking include the ripple effect that the astrobiology discovery made by NASA will have on our present understanding of science, education and if any, what are the religious implications/
If science is rewriting books and journals based on the bacterial find that NASA discovered (or manipulated) could we now get historians to correct the fact that Christopher Columbus did not discover the Americas?
For The 'X' Zone Radio & TV Show and The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper, I am Rob McConnell.