Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Arsenic Life Redux

Nov. 29, 2010. NASA announces a news conference "to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life."

If you don't remember this then read the story as it unfolded here: The Arsenic Chronicles
A humble arsenic-friendly microbe from Mono Lake, Calif., has recently stirred a tempest in the science world's teapot. Here's the story as it played out over the last two weeks in tweets, blogs and news conferences, of course.

Now, with that background, you may enjoy this article from USA Today a few days ago:
Glowing reviews on 'arseniclife' spurred NASA's embrace
USA Today reporters got hold of Science's reviews of the original article via a Freedom of Information Request.

Pace says there was "poor judgment at multiple levels" in the arseniclife case, from an "overly exuberant" interpretation of the study results by the authors to the peer reviewers missing "the big crux of the results: the claim of absence of phosphorus," to NASA repeating some of the mistakes that caused the agency trouble in 1996, when it publicized results suggesting a Martian meteorite contained microscopic signs of life. 

No comments: