"NASA is a scientific and technical agency committed to a culture of openness with the media and public. While we value the free exchange of ideas, data, and information as part of scientific and technical inquiry, NASA cannot stand behind or support a scientific claim unless it has been peer-reviewed or thoroughly examined by other qualified experts. This paper was submitted in 2007 to the International Journal of Astrobiology. However, the peer review process was not completed for that submission. NASA also was unaware of the recent submission of the paper to the Journal of Cosmology or of the paper's subsequent publication. Additional questions should be directed to the author of the paper." - Dr. Paul Hertz, chief scientist of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington
Keith's 4:25 pm EST update: Just posted on NASA Watch in the comments section: "The statement "This paper was submitted in 2007 to the International Journal of Astrobiology. However, the peer review process was not completed for that submission."Is not true, The paper was rejected, after peer review. Rocco Mancinelli, Ph.D., Editor, International Journal of Astrobiology."
Keith's note: Here is how you contact "Mr." (not "Dr.") Richard Hoover at NASA.
Keith's note: Curiously Hertz does not mention Richard Hoover by name, nor does he make mention of the specific article Hoover posted on the Journal of Cosmology website - rather he mentions another article from 2007 (but does not identify it by title). Nor is the issue of who paid for this research, Hoover's credentials (and NASA's confusion on this matter), or whether NASA SMD had anything to do with this research addressed. If SMD is in charge of all Astrobiology research at NASA then how could this research be underway - with NASA funding onsite at NASA - without SMD's cognizance and/or approval? If SMD is not behind this, then MSFC must be - why have they remained utterly silent on this topic?
"Carl Pilcher, who heads NASA's Astrobiology Institute, said the rocks have been handled for more than 100 years. He said they are likely contaminated with Earth microbes. The space agency released a statement distancing itself from Hoover's study."
Rocco Mancinelli, senior research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute: "As a microbiologist who has looked at thousands of microbes through a microscope, and done some of my own electron microscopy, I see no convincing evidence that these particles are of biological origin."
Dale Andersen, principal investigator at the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute: "I hope the public does not assume that this story is a certainty -- it clearly is not, at least not at this point. Mostly, I hope the general public is able to learn more about the scientific process and the use of critical thinking skills to arrive at the truth and are not confused by an endless parade of silly articles that neither enlighten nor inform. Let the debate begin."