On Thursday 3 December NASA will hold a press conference, the subject of which has caused worldwide interest. Forums are abuzz with with the possibility that NASA might announce the discovery of extraterrestrial life in our Solar System. However, despite some far-fetched conspiracy claims, the signs are increasingly pointing to “no”. Some media sources claim to have revealed that the announcement will be nothing of the sort, but we can still hope can’t we?
The whole incident is similar to a news story that broke in 2009 when the image of Mercury below, taken by NASA’s Messenger Spacecraft, sparked worldwide interest. Some people claimed the black circle like object in the lower right corner was some sort of UFO, later debunked by NASA as merely being a rock or crater with a different mineral compound to the surrounding area.
The latest hunt for E.T. started a few days ago when NASA released a short summary of what would be in its latest press conference:
An astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe
Today, however, it looks like NASA will be denting the hopes of UFO-enthusiasts the world over come tomorrow. It is highly unlikely that there be any announcement regarding the discovery of microbial life on another world. Instead, it is almost certain that NASA will release details of a bacteria which is able to survive in arsenic, an element which was previously thought to be too toxic for life to inhabit.
While disappointing to some, the announcement could still potentially pave the way for the discovery of bacterial life on another celestial body in the future. The bacteria in this instance, found in Mono Lake in California’s Yosemite National Park, raises the possibility that similar microbial life could be found on moons or planets such as Saturn’s moons Titan and Rhea.
You can watch the press conference from 1900 GMT at http://www.nasa.gov but don’t get your hopes of some Klingons walking out on stage too high. However, the announcement will still prove to be very interesting, so we would recommend tuning in.