Biologist and activist Jerry Coyne who has a blog which defends evolution once said, “In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics.” If that is true, then where does Astrobiology fit into this created pecking order? Back in 1996, a Martian meteorite was discovered and there was massive hype that it contain alien life forms which were supposedly fossilized in it. But later these claims were debunked. So with all the hype about the meteorite, then President Clinton allocated funding for a supposed new science which is, Astrobiology, however, since fossilized alien life forms from Mars was falsified, wouldn’t you think this part of NASA research would no longer be needed? After all that was the reason why it was created in the first place!
Recently, the United States government has created objectives for Astrobiology and has asked the public to give their opinions on the direction they want Astrobiology to go. Here is what NASA outlines as a road map…
1) Understanding habitable environments
2) Looking for life in our own solar system (NASA is currently doing this already with Mars).
3) Understanding life in earth’s environment.
4) Understanding how life began.
5) Understanding evolutionary mechanisms and environmental limits of life.
6) Predicting how life will shape up for the future.
7) Being able to detect signatures of life forms on other planets.
Much of these objectives are conducted in other areas of evolutionary research or could be done in other areas of evolutionary research. After seventeen years and counting, there is no hard evidence for alien life forms. Scientists can’t send probes and spaceships which can land on the surface on other worlds outside our solar-system which is the best form of collecting data to draw conclusions with.
Since there is no hard evidence for alien life forms, and we are too far to really investigate, how do they even know what an alien life form would be? It’s like telling a four-year old child living in a remote area in Alaska to be able to come up with calculations for building the Sears tower in Chicago. But some scientists assume (using circular reasoning) that they know what supposed alien life is by studying life on earth…
In Science Daily…
“The bacterium offers clues about some of the necessary preconditions for microbial life on both the Saturn moon Enceladus and Mars, where similar briny subzero conditions are thought to exist.”
“We believe that this bacterium lives in very thin veins of very salty water found within the frozen permafrost on Ellesmere Island,” explains Whyte. “The salt in the permafrost brine veins keeps the water from freezing at the ambient permafrost temperature (~-16ºC), creating a habitable but very harsh environment. It’s not the easiest place to survive but this organism is capable of remaining active (i.e. breathing) to at least -25ºC in permafrost.”
Bacteria is the most fit animal on planet earth and is known to survive in very extreme environments that no other animals could survive in which defies evolutionary logic on survival of the fittest. Is alien bacteria going to be the similar as earth’s or different? If aliens did exist, I would say, different. The discovery of this particular one-cell animal is exciting no question about it and it’s a great thing to learn about, but promising the public it’s revealing clues on life concerning other planets and moons, is not science but a lot of hype.
And also, the authors of the paper make another unscientific claim that these bacteria just like man are changing the weather pattern on earth…
“The researchers believe however, that such microbes may potentially play a harmful role in extremely cold environments such as the High Arctic by increasing carbon dioxide emissions from the melting permafrost, one of the results of global warming.”
So is astrobiology relevant for science? The answer is no! American taxpayer money is being wasted. It should be abolished and the funding shifted elsewhere that is more important in the peaking order like cancer research, biomimetics where scientists learn and understand designs found in nature for example…
New search-and-rescue operations are being invented some of which are coming from ants! Fire ants that are able to construct narrow tunnels not much wider than their own bodies, the design of these unique tunnels allow the ants to catch themselves to prevent falling in vertical orientations is being studied for the purpose of imitating it for search-and-rescue operations! There is so much in nature that can improve human lives unlike astrobiology were Americans are paying scientists to speculate which is another reason why it’s not relevant for science!