History of the Origin, Evolution, and Demise of NASA’s Oxymoronic “Astrobiology” and a Modest Proposal to Educate Dabblers in Microbiology Research

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2011-12-12
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This essay presents a select Time Line for early speculations on “extraterrestrial life” and attempts to obtain experimental evidence for past or present life on the Moon and Mars. To date, there is no credible evidence for “life elsewhere,” even the simplest forms (microbes). Nevertheless, NASA continues to trumpet “astrobiology,” an oxymoron that suggests or implies that life has actually been found beyond Earth. NASA exploits the fallacious notion that the existence of terrestrial bacteria able to live under “extreme” chemical or physical conditions (“extremophiles”) provides evidence for “astrobiology.” In December 2010, NASA announced, in a massive publicity event, that their grantees isolated a bacterium from sediment mud of Mono Lake (CA) that defies basic biochemical principles of all known forms of life on Earth in that arsenic replaces phosphorus in its DNA and other P–containing essential metabolites. The so-called evidence for the “Arsenic Monster” [a presumed harbinger for “astrobiology”] has been strongly criticized and is being rigorously tested by independent investigators.
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This article relates to and updates other articles by Howard Gest already in the IU ScholarWorks repository.
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astrobiology follies, bacteria, chicken pie, exobiology, extremophiles, fossil microbes, Mars, media mayhem, meteorites, moon dust, NASA, phantom microbes, War of the Worlds
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