NASA says it has something to share, Alien believers get very, very excited!
TRUE believers are in a spin after a tantalising press release from NASA that says it has news to share about the search for alien life. The space agency this week announced a media conference to "discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life".
NASA says astrobiology is "the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe".
The conference will be held at NASA headquarters in Washington at 2pm on Thursday local time, which means early Friday morning for Australians (6am AEDT).
The news has excited alien hunters and headline writers alike, with plenty of speculation over what could be revealed.
Media gossip blog Gawker ran with the headline: "Did NASA Discover Life on One of Saturn's Moons?". PC World opted for: "Are the Aliens Coming?"
However Discover hosed down some of the excitement, saying the news was unlikely to be that NASA had discovered evidence of life.
"I can’t rule that out, but it seems really unlikely," wrote astronomy reporter Phil Plait, whose experience includes a decade of working on the Hubble Space Telescope.
"I don’t think they would announce it in this way. It would’ve been under tighter wraps, for one thing."
Plait said it was far more likely that NASA had discovered a location where it was possible, but not proven, that life could exist.
"The scientists on the panel are interesting, including noted astrobiologists and geologists who work on solar system objects like Mars and Titan," he said.
"This is most likely going to be something about conditions on another moon or planet conducive for life."