Snarky NASA SMD Response to Snarky Public Astrobiology Discussion

The Wrong Stuff: NASA Dismisses Arsenic Critique Because Critical Priest Not Standing on Altar, Wired

"What he fails to see or refuses to acknowledge is that Rosie Redfield is a peer, and her blog is peer review. NASA has bungled its presentation of this paper from start to finish. It makes worse by trying to dismiss critiques this way. This is the wrong stuff."

NASA's arsenic microbe science slammed, CBC News

"When NASA spokesman Dwayne Brown was asked about public criticisms of the paper in the blogosphere, he noted that the article was peer-reviewed and published in one of the most prestigious scientific journals. He added that Wolfe-Simon will not be responding to individual criticisms, as the agency doesn't feel it is appropriate to debate the science using the media and bloggers. Instead, it believes that should be done in scientific publications."

Microbe gets toxic response, Nature

"The big problem, however, is that the authors have shown that the organism takes up arsenic, but they "haven't unambiguously identified any arsenic-containing organic compounds", says Roger Summons, a biogeochemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "And it's not difficult to do," he adds, noting that the team could have directly confirmed or disproved the presence of arsenic in the DNA or RNA using targeted mass spectrometry."

The Right Place for Scientific Debate?, Columbia Journalism Review

"First there was the wild speculation about the discovery of extraterrestrial life. Then came widespread, sometimes misguided, coverage of the real news: discovery of a bacterium than can substitute arsenic for phosphorus, one six elements considered essential for life (which may, perhaps, expand the scope of humanity's search for life beyond this planet). Now comes the third installment in the commotion-filled saga: widespread criticism of the paper detailing the discovery, published last Thursday in Science, and an apparent snubbing of the media by the paper's authors and NASA (which helped fund the research), who rebuffed journalists' requests for a response to the criticism."

Arsenic-associated bacteria (NASA's claims), Rosie Redfield

"NASA's shameful analysis of the alleged bacteria in the Mars meteorite made me very suspicious of their microbiology, an attitude that's only strengthened by my reading of this paper. Basically, it doesn't present ANY convincing evidence that arsenic has been incorporated into DNA (or any other biological molecule)."

Was the arsenic life form announcement just a NASA publicity stunt?, io9

"After the Earth-shaking announcement last week that they'd discovered an arsenic-based life form, NASA researchers are under attack from many in the scientific community. Experts are calling the research shoddy, and wondering if NASA is just desperate for publicity."

Keith's note: Perhaps the public and the media can get some clarity on all of this by attending this event today at NASA HQ with one of the paper's coauthors.

NASA Science Seminar "Arsenic and the Meaning of Life"

"Employees and the public are invited to attend a scientific presentation by U.S. Geological Survey research hydrologist Dr. Ronald Oremland about the role of arsenic in microbial life and the microbial ecology of California's Mono Lake. This NASA science seminar will be held Tuesday, Dec. 7, 1 - 3 p.m., in the Headquarters auditorium."

  • submit to reddit


Loading




Join our mailing list




Monthly Archives

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 7, 2010 6:05 PM.

Leaving The Safety of the Harbor was the previous entry in this blog.

Hints of NASA's FY 2011 Budget is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.