It’s been a busy couple of weeks for weird extraterrestrial news.
Former NASA scientist Richard Hoover has been on a media tour claiming that NASA is engaged in a conspiracy to suppress the truth about extraterrestrial life. Hoover claims to have found microfossils of bacteria-like creatures in several meteorites that landed here on earth. Hoover’s claims came in conjunction with the Open Minds 2014 UFO Congress from a couple of weeks ago. At the conference and in an interview afterward Hoover claimed that NASA used the Mars Opportunity Rover to destroy a fossil that resembled a crinoid, though as I understand it the claim that the rock was a fossil was actually made first by Richard Hoagland back in 2004, based on a bit of rock that Hoagland and Hoover seem to think resembles a living organism. All I see is a rock.
Hoover is outraged that NASA refuses to acknowledge his “discoveries” and he believes that the space agency is involved in a cover up of alien life.
I don’t really understand the cover up claims. Supposedly, according to ufologists, the U.S. government is terrified of public panic over cultural and religious verities should aliens be confirmed to exist. The NSA’s 1968 report on surviving encounters with UFOs doesn’t even mention cultural collapse and the end of religion as a possibility of alien contact, so it isn’t at all clear that this was ever a serious concern. It is also belied by history. Twice before, in 1835 and in the 1890s, large numbers of people around the world thought alien life had been confirmed to exist, first in the great Moon Hoax and then with astronomer Percival Lowell’s claim to have discovered an agricultural civilization on Mars. In neither situation did civilization collapse or Christians return to heathenism for fear that earth was no longer God’s only creation. Even today, somewhere in the range of a quarter or more of Americans already believe aliens are operating on the earth and yet somehow the country survives.
Novelist and ufologist Scott Waring of UFO Sightings Daily claims that ancient aliens have built structures on Mercury based on his utterly convincing methodology of blowing up infrared NASA photographs to twice their original resolution and then declaring the resulting computer-generated geometric artifacts of the enlargement as structures. Waring also accused skeptics and detractors of being paid operatives of the NSA, whom he views as being in a conspiracy to suppress the truth about ancient astronauts. Nevertheless, he offered these words about the Mercurial ancient aliens:
Time is of little importance to ancient aliens because they do not age like we do. Their anatomy is totally under their control allowing them to decide what age to be, alter their appearance and more. So building a structure so massive...although it may take a hundreds of years...its of little consequence too them.
In repackaging this for the Canadian National Newspaper (for which, disclosure, I wrote an article one time before severing ties after they got upset that asking a known skeptic to write for them meant I’d write skeptical articles), the publication tied this to the work of “metahistorian” John Lash, who has adopted, apparently wholesale, the Theosophical claim that all of the solar system’s planets are inhabited by what he calls “lower dimensional regressive aliens” answering to the Lords of Flame, Ascended Masters, and other assorted extraterrestrial spirit beings.
Here on earth, an apparently longstanding “mystery” about sand spirals in the Sahara Desert near the Red Sea is not, in fact, a series of portals to another dimension or landing sites for flying saucers. Despite the widespread popularity of these theories in the ancient astronaut and ufological web community since 1997, the spirals were revealed to be the work of “Desert Breath,” an art project created by the D.A.S.T. Art Team, a group of three artists who began the project in 1995 to explore how “one experiences infinity” through natural forms.
And don’t even try to read this piece by Gabriela Motroc which falsely claims that the Search for Extraterrestrial Life (SETI) has found extraterrestrial life. Motroc’s poor English created a false claim out of rehashed old material. Although the subject of the piece was supposed to be claims by SETI scientists that intelligent alien life might be vastly different than human beings, Motroc conflates this with the decades-old claim that microfossils were found in a Martian meteorite, which many scientists other than Richard Hoover have rejected for a number of reasons. At any rate, bacteria aren’t the same as intelligent life as we understand the term.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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