we are them

NASA Scientist Finds Evidence Life Came To Earth On Meteorites

Praying to the Aliens.Look up there tonight, in the sky. According to a distinguished scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, a whole bunch of bacterial life arrived here on Earth inside a rare kind of meteorite that just happens to break apart on contact with water. Do those people always giving you hell look like aliens? Maybe they are … just like you! We might just be the worst space aliens in the universe. This, at least, explains Mitch McConnell. Anyway, it seems we have something close to proof that life is not unique to Earth. With thousands of planets discovered in the past couple of years and billions of planets likely in our own little Milky Way galaxy, the whole “we are alone in the universe” special story was getting pretty beat up. Now, we can all acknowledge that we are descended from common alien space bugs — barnacles on the Ship of Existence — and we don’t ever have to talk about any of this ever again, right?

For your “lame stream media” verification, go to this CBS News thing or this New York Times thing.

But for the actual sexytime alien dirt, read the abstract of NASA astrobiologist Richard Hoover’s research in the Journal of Cosmology. It’s got stuff like this:

Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM) studies of the interior surfaces of freshly fractured CI1 carbonaceous meteorites carried out at NASA/MSFC resulted in the detection of a diverse suite of large and complex filamentous microstructures embedded in the matrix of carbonaceous meteorites. Energy dispersive x-ray analysis of these structures reveals that these filaments are permineralized with minerals rich in magnesium and sulfur. Most of the filaments are encases within a carbon-rich external envelope. Images and EDS elemental data for several selected filaments are presented. To increase readability, the interpretation for each set of images is presented immediately after the Observational Results section for each Figure.

In other words, there are little snake-y bacterium in these things. Also:

This finding has direct implications to the distribution of life in the Cosmos and the possibility of microbial life in liquid water regimes of cometary nuclei as they travel within the orbit of Mars and in icy moons with liquid water oceans such as Europa and Enceladus.

[Journal of Cosmology via Cryptogon]

About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne
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  1. Barbara_i

    Oh great, more illegal alien anchor babies to support. Complete the danged fence!*
    *this message brought to you by the Arizona Senator, permineralized with minerals rich in magnesium and sulfur. Lots and lots of sulfur.

    1. Negropolis

      That's why the aliens came to Roswell instead of Phoenix. New Mexico has always been more welcoming (see: Spaceport America).

  2. donner_froh

    "little snake-y bacterium in these things"

    While that goes a long way in explain what is in the brains of Jan Brewer, Peter King and Scott Walker, I don't see how that has anything to do with human life.

    1. HateMachine

      Good fences may make good (illegal) neighbors, but not even the best roof will make for a good meteorite impact.

    2. WIDTAP

      Does this mean we can allow alien bacteria as a permanent underclass to clean our houses and mow our lawns?

    1. OC_Surf_Serf

      Genesis rewrite:

      God said "Let the liferock plunge toward the Earth, puncture the surface, and begin procreation"

      1. aguacatero

        Think how many millions of liferocks must be spewed futilely into space, particularly on lonely galactic timesegments, before one fortunate one happens to penetrate an atmosphere, become embedded into a planetary wall, and begin to grow.

    2. Negropolis

      I hear Velociraptors are rather hard to break in, you know, with the sickle-shapped hind-foot claw and all.

    1. SayItWithWookies

      It's definitive evidence that electron-microscopic tentacle porn exists on other planets.

        1. SayItWithWookies

          It was my alternate theory, since that pic is most certainly nothing from High Times. Why it looks alarmingly like it was lifted from "Rocks and Fettuccine Monthly," one of my less successful niche publications. The April 1998 issue, to be exact. Since that was the only issue.

  3. aguacatero

    SPEAKING of sexytime, "connecting the dots" between this important news about meteor-hitching microscopic newcomers, and today's NYT front-page story about the rich and nasty bacterial colonies that live in the cloth seats of the Bay Area Rapid Transit trains, it appears we might be in for a little intergalactic punctuated equilibrium situation. If you are used to hanging out all day under humanoid commuters' asses, I'll bet a little bacteroid thing fresh from inside a meteorite looks pretty good.

    Too anthropocentric?

    1. gullywompr

      I've experienced punctuated equilibrium on commuter trains before, but not the kind Gould was talking about.

    1. Barbara_i

      Neil deGrasse Tyson was named 2000 Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive, People Magazine. (completely true) Like they were considering the dead ones too?

      1. DoktorZoom

        They had to restrict the category since Carl Sagan has a lock on all-time sexiest astrophysicist.

    2. Negropolis

      He'll just keep telling you that Pluto's not a planet, the bastard. Planetoid, my ass. It'll always be a planet, to me, and a cartoon dog. Also.

  4. gullywompr

    The implications for the distribution of life throughout the universe? You mean there are Palins, Bachmanns, Boehners and McConnells everywhere?

    Giant asteroid, take us now.

    1. gvvt

      I don't understand this Science stuff. Are these Giant Asstroids the life-forms growing on the seats of the BART trains? I didn't know Palin was from California.

  5. gullywompr

    You know who else was a diverse suite of large and complex filamentous microstructures?

    Aw fuck it – You don't have to answer, I'm just trying to get my P score back up.

    1. ShaveTheWhales

      Particularly since the Ohio Senate is permineralized with substances rich in bullshit.

      1. KenLayIsAlive

        I'm willing to believe life came to earth as space-borne bacteria, but the rise of the teabaggers has made me question my belief that we've experienced any evolution since then.

    1. Negropolis

      You mean to tell me that "Texas State School Board" isn't an oxymoron? If it isn't, it is at least a regularmoron, right?

    1. Barbara_i

      He's going to have to defer to Fox News Rocket Scientist Consultant, cash moose, Sarah Palin. She will post an answer on Twitter, wait five days and then post a clarification on Facebook four days later and then give another explanation three days after that. Being a girl, she is given more whacks at the "thought pinata"

    2. ShaveTheWhales

      Filaments go in, filaments go out. Mr O'Reilly, please stuff this carbonaceous chondrite up Uranus.

    3. gvvt

      But WHO embedded large and complex filamentous microstructures in the matrix of carbonaceous meteorites? WHO EMBEDDED THEM? WHO MADE THE carbonaceous meteorites? WHO?

  6. alaninthecastro

    "studies of the interior surfaces of freshly fractured CI1 carbonaceous meteorites carried out at NASA/MSFC resulted in the detection of a diverse suite of large and complex filamentous microstructures "

    So what you're saying is we're all descended from the contents of an intergalactic used rubber.

    1. HistoriCat

      "So what you're saying is we're all descended from the contents of an intergalactic used rubber."

      Everything makes more sense after that.

  7. DoktorZoom

    Today we are all a diverse suite of large and complex filamentous microstructures embedded in the matrix of carbonaceous meteorites.

  8. gurukalehuru

    Now, the whole "life began on an asteroid" thingie reminds me of the argument that some guy named Marlowe P. Bacon must have written all of Shakepeare's work because it's just impossible for anybody to be that great and therefore it must have been somebody else.
    Life could have developed on an asteroid because they have water and they are smacking into the earth all the time, even much more so back in pre-life days before we had much of an atmosphere.
    Well, you know what? We have water here, salty water. Life could have evolved on Earth, and Shakespeare is actually candidate number one in the "who wrote the works of William Shakespeare" contest.
    I'm not one to invoke Occam's razor in a knee-jerk reaction, but consider it invoked.

    1. Steverino247

      It's possible that "life" looks pretty much the same all over, at least in its most rudimentary form. There's a lot of difference once evolution has a go at it, as we see on Earth, but it's possible it started here in some places on Earth and from "out there" at other places on Earth. If "basic life" is similar all over the Universe, it might not have made that much difference.

      And being aliens, they may have stolen our life's DNA and used it for their own, the bastards.

      1. LetUsBray

        "It's possible that "life" looks pretty much the same all over, at least in its most rudimentary form."

        And if there's one thing Stars Trek and Wars agree on, it's that life everywhere speaks English.

        1. SorosBot

          And the vast majority of intelligent life out there has a humanoid shape, because an ancient species that died billions of years ago seeded the DNA of primitive life throughout the galaxy with instructions that the intelligent life that resulted from it would resemble them, even though genetics and evolution don't work that way, as discovered by Capt. Picard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chase_%28Star_Tr

          1. LetUsBray

            A middling episode, but I liked the blustery Klingon captain: "That's all? If she were not dead I would kill her."

          2. doloras

            "And the vast majority of intelligent life out there has a Gallifreyan shape, because the Time Lords rewrote all of universal history to suit themselves and that's why we all kind of look like the Doctor and his people."


    2. SayItWithWookies

      Also, considering that these were fossil bacteria, the issue isn't so much as whether life here came from other planets but that life exists on other planets, since the bacteria were fossilized before they left their native world, the process not being likely either in space or on a sheet of antarctic ice.
      But the fact that life evolved independently somewhere else — that's earth-shattering. We've come increasingly closer to realizing that life on earth sprung up at the first available opportunity — which means chemical precursors to life were abundant. This leads us to conclude that life must exist elsewhere, since our circumstances probably aren't unique.

      1. gullywompr

        I can't tell you how much I upfist this comment. Well, only once, actually, but you know what I mean.

    3. OneDollarJuana

      Clearly Shakespeare was written by a "diverse suite of large and complex filamentous microstructures embedded in the matrix of carbonaceous meteorites".

  9. Steverino247


    Dr. Richard Hoover is a highly respected scientist and astrobiologist with a prestigious record of accomplishment at NASA. Given the controversial nature of his discovery, we have invited 100 experts and have issued a general invitation to over 5000 scientists from the scientific community to review the paper and to offer their critical analysis. Our intention is to publish the commentaries, both pro and con, alongside Dr. Hoover's paper. In this way, the paper will have received a thorough vetting, and all points of view can be presented. No other paper in the history of science has undergone such a thorough analysis, and no other scientific journal in the history of science has made such a profoundly important paper available to the scientific community, for comment, before it is published. We believe the best way to advance science, is to promote debate and discussion.

    You can tell W is not in charge of science anymore. Also, you can tell that Dr. Rudy knows exactly what this research means so he wants 5,100 of his buddies between him and the religious who are going to go absolutely apeshit when they figure it out, too. If life came to Earth on/in a meteorite or similar object the God story gets put way in the back of the library under "Bullshit."

    1. LetUsBray

      What if you believe that God was flinging meteorites at Earth one Saturday afternoon because S/He was, you know, bored?

    2. SayItWithWookies

      Oh, the god fans won't even blink — they'll just discover that they interpreted the Bible wrong all this time. You'll be amazed at how many references to extraterrestrial life will suddenly jump out of those inerrant and unchanging texts.

      1. Negropolis

        The Catholic church has already and formally pre-empted the eventual finding of extraterrestrial life (particularly of the intelligent kind) a few years ago. I'd not be surprised to find that more than half of this nation's Christians have already reconciled the potential existence of intelligent life with their faith. I know growing up in a christian primary school that this possibility wasn't as controversial as many would think it is looking from the outside.

        The way they see it, the Bible never explicity denies the existence of such life, so it's already a possibility. In fact, you find even a lot of Christians who don't deny that there were other first humans besides Adam and Eve.

    3. undeterredbyreality

      C'mon–"Dick Hoover"???? If that isn't a porn-star made-up name I don't know what is. Somebody got punk'd.

    4. Dudleydidwrong

      Hoover? Wasn't he the president of Delta fraternity at Faber College? Lots of confidence in him.

    5. gvvt

      In addition, the report was studied in detail at Wonkette, and found to be an extraordinary source of merry jests and prankishness.

  10. magnetite

    Hello. LTRFTFERFATP* (long time reader, first time frightening eschatological raver from across the pond) here.

    I think the creationists will be praying that Voyager smashes into the Vault of the Heavens just as the James Webb Telescope reveals God's smile (or bumhole, depending on his mood), beaming down at us. if neither of these happens, they're fucked.

    *also occasional upfister, though unsure if it counted without an account.

    1. Dashboard_Jesus

      oh yeah it counts and it's all good…just remember God's 'smile' is created by whichever orifice you happen to be gazing at, He is omniscient/ omnipotent of course so it's just a matter of perspective…oh, and Jesus loves YOU! (btw, across which pond be ye raving from?)

      1. magnetite

        The grey Atlantic, in the north of the land of the Angles. I come here to see what I should fear from my government and our smaller band of mad fundies in six months time. I'm ahead of the curve at home thanks to Wonkette – practically a soothsayer. A soothsayer with little good news.

    1. OneDollarJuana

      Glad you brought up my pandemic pet peeve. Purell is going to be the literal death of us, what with oversanitation breeding superbugs, etc.

      The only thing that will possibly save us from that fate is that I notice that even though hand sanitizer is in Porta-Potties, people still don't use it after they, well, use it.

      1. weejee

        'Zactly so 1$J. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I addition to overzealous sanitizing, moms need to get away from the idea that they are not being a good mother if they don't twist the doctor's arm and get a bottle of the pink shit every time their kid has the sniffles. Antibiotics won't do a fucking thing for the common cold, they help to breed superbugs in the kid's gut, and there are more than a few studies linking antibiotics with allergies.

  11. magnetite

    Hello. LTRFTFERFATP* (long time reader, first time frightening eschatological raver from across the pond) here.

    I imagine the creationists are praying that Voyager crashes into the Vault of the Heavens just as the James Webb Telescope espies God's smiling vengeful countenance. If neither of those happens, they're fucked.

    *and occasional upfister, though I doubt it worked, like this mightn't if I've got the cookies wrong this – the third time.

  12. arihaya

    so now pro-life Congressmen will de-fund NASA because its rocket launch may kill baby meteor fetus ?

  13. lochnessmonster

    Great, another thing for the GOP and tea baggers to use to scare us with. The sky is falling, duck and cover!

    1. DoktorZoom

      All of this has happened before. All of this will eventually happen again in syndication.

  14. cheaphits

    Life may have "arrived' via meteorite, but it evolved in a cauldron specific to this planet. This had to have an effect on the mutations that developed. Thus explaining the Palins, "Orange John" Boehner, Scott "Little Napoleon" Walker and the Tea Party et. al.

    There may be better worlds out there or parallel dimensions where these miscreants were doomed by natural selection. Look to the skies!

  15. SorosBot

    So we've got more evidence for panspermia; which means scientists should really come up with a new name for the theory that doesn't include "sperm" in it so people won't giggle whenever its' mentioned, sort of like how they all agreed to start intentionally mispronouncing Uranus.

      1. Zvi_Bleindmeis

        Professor Hubert Farnsworth: "I'm sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all."

        Fry: "Oh. What's it called now?"

        Professor Hubert Farnsworth: "Urrectum."

    1. OneDollarJuana

      How would YOU pronounce Uranus so it doesn't invoke sniggers?
      "Your anus"?
      "Urine Us"?
      "Last planet in the Solar System if you've stopped counting Pluto"?

    2. not that Dewey

      From now on, whenever I hear the word "panspermia", I will always think of SorosBot.

  16. Zvi_Bleindmeis

    Okay, fine, your ancestors came to this country on an asteroid with 23 cents in their pockets, blah blah melting pot, blah blah primordial stew.

    Being filamentous is all very nice, but the more important issue is when did this hypothesized "life" become cute, like babies, kittens, puppies, baby dolphins, wild mustangs, etc., and therefore precious and sacred? Once a life form has achieved cuteness, certain principles apply, and must be observed. Universally. Except maybe in Arizona.

    1. SorosBot

      Haven't you ever seen a little bacterium or archaeum immediately after binary fission? Sooo cute!

  17. ttommyunger

    As if any thinking person could believe that Earth was the sole repository of Life, intelligent or otherwise. Oh, right; thinking, never mind!

  18. DashboardBuddha

    So…god threw a germ laden snowball at his brother and it missed and hit the earth?

  19. weejee

    ♪ Got them cyanobacteria bluez
    Dey hooks us together
    Dey puts us on da chain
    Feedz us mag and sulfur
    This meteor's such a pain
    Got them cyanobacteria bluez ♪

  20. proudgrampa

    That is a picture of the baby Flying Spaghetti Monster! To his noodly appendage(s)!

    Thank goodness, the debate is finally over!

  21. bflrtsplk

    All of this upfistedness has dislocated the filaments permineralized with minerals rich in magnesium and sulfur in my thumb.

  22. philpjfry

    I wonder if there is a planet of Bachmans and Palins……..I wonder if this is where they send them and if I can get off.

  23. WhatTheHeck

    So my ancestors did not crawl out of the oceans?
    I want to see this explained on a blackboard with chalk.

  24. Nopantsmcgee

    "Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM) studies of the interior surfaces of freshly fractured CI1 carbonaceous ….."

    blahblahblah if you can't text it under 140 characters it isn't Real Science, NASA loozers!1!

  25. SheriffRoscoe

    Oh if you don't clean the lens on your fancy microscope you're liable to see all kinds of goofy things, Mister Scientist.

  26. not that Dewey

    When extraterrestrialism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a matrix of carbonaceous meteorites and carrying a complex filamentous microstructure.

    Sorry, I didn't get much sleep last night.

      1. not that Dewey

        I thought the analogy might be a little strained and tortured, but Hey! Whatever!

      2. not that Dewey

        My (older, 9-year-old) cat woke me at 3am, local time, with a claw to the nose. I watched ~ 3 1/2 episodes of Law and Order that I had DVRed, but alas, I could not get back to sleep. If I don't take a nap now, I'll never survive the hour-long drive to airport in 3 hours.

        1. gullywompr

          No, don't sleep now! You're on the verge of finally solving the Grand Unified Theory! Think of Mankind!

          Hello? Hello? Must be asleep… Damn it!

          1. not that Dewey

            Huh? Wha? Where am I? Is it Monday morning yet?

            Gotta go give the taxpayers their money's worth!

  27. glamourdammerung

    Well, it explains why the teabaggers did not realize there was a national debt prior to 20 January, 2009.

  28. HistoriCat

    OK, fine there's life outside of the planet. Let me know when someone discovers intelligent life – on this planet or any other.

  29. chascates

    So how many millennia pass before this crude biological pioneer evolves into a highly complex entity such as Michele Bachmann?

  30. prommie

    Who put it dere, huh? Who put da filamentous cyanobateria in da carbonaceous meteorite, huh? Who put it dere? Nobody knows, who put it dere. Who put it dere?

    1. gullywompr

      Oh delicious irony! Will the creationists be referencing ol' Peezeey to bolster their arguments? I'm giddy at the prospect.

  31. GhostBuggy

    Look, will someone just tell me if we can get any crude out this microbe-infested meteorite? Drill Xorgax drill!

  32. Tundra Grifter

    Do you have permission from ClusterFox ("The WWF of News") to run this story? According to their website this is an exclusive.

    I can't offer an opinion about the story itself because I don't know how it impacts the life and times of Sarah Palin. Until I hear from Duh Gov'Nuh, I just don't know what to think…

  33. Negropolis

    Wait, are these the good (white) kind of immigrants or the other kind? America and Apartheid South Africa want to know.

  34. magnetite

    I am so terribly. terribly sorry for my spamming. I blame third-party cookies, but then again maybe I shouldn't have eaten them. Please feel free to delete my every word until I learn patience.

    I will click 'submit' and be logged out of ID. This time I'll wait penitently.

  35. LiveToServeYa

    James Carville is living proof that life on earth came from extraterrestrial sources.

  36. PopeyesPipe

    I hate to pee in the pudding; however, per PZ Meyers:

    Did scientists discover bacteria in meteorites? No. Fox News broke the story, which ought to make one immediately suspicious — it's not an organization noted for scientific acumen. But even worse, the paper claiming the discovery of bacteria fossils in carbonaceous chondrites was published in … the Journal of Cosmology. I've mentioned Cosmology before — it isn't a real science journal at all, but is the ginned-up website of a small group of crank academics obsessed with the idea of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe that life originated in outer space and simply rained down on Earth. It doesn't exist in print, consists entirely of a crude and ugly website that looks like it was sucked through a wormhole from the 1990s, and publishes lots of empty noise with no substantial editorial restraint.

    In other words: it's probably bullshit.

  37. NewtsChicknNeck

    i'd like to be the first to welcome our scientologist overlords!!!1! all hail, thetans (and L. Ron)!

  38. undeadgoat

    Wait, so is this somehow different from the "Maybe bacteria in a meteorite!!!!!!!!!" things I read when I was 7? Sure looks like same rock, better photography . . .

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