From Ars Technica:
Sometimes, scientists announce things that are breathtakingly stupid. The Guardian, which generally has pretty good science coverage, has an article up reporting that some top scientists believe that the comet 67P may harbor lots and lots of life. The purported evidence for life is the presence of complex hydrocarbons on the comet’s crust. Of course, this article is just based on a press release, and the data won’t be available until it’s presented later today at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society.
But The Guardian could at least have done some background reading on the person behind the claim, Chandra Wickramasinghe. It would have found that he has a long history of making claims about extraterrestrial life (and that he testified in favor of teaching creationism in US classrooms). Or, the reporter could have talked to someone who knows a little bit about surface chemistry—like me.
I am here to make a prediction: this claim will vanish, never to be heard from again. More.
Oh hey, Ars Technica. The claim won’t vanish as long as pop science culture needs the space alien.
See also: Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!
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