December 4, 2010 by USA Post
NASA announced Monday (Nov. 29) that it will hold a press conference Thursday to discuss new discoveries “that will impact the search for extraterrestrial life.” Participants include several scientists involved in the hunt for life beyond Earth, and researchers who study extreme forms of life on our planet.
These details sent speculation into high gear over the Internet. One prominent rumor is that microbial life was found on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.
An exhibitor at the beginning of this rumor was blogger Jason Kottke, who speculated on the possibility of life on Titan on Monday.
The press conference at NASA will discuss a study released at 2 pm EST (1900 GMT) Thursday in the journal Science. Research is under embargo until that date. Under the embargo system, some science journalists obtain a preliminary document, under the agreement they will not reveal the results until the research is published.
The whirlwind of speculation has led many journalists to contact the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science, asking if the embargo is still in force.
“We got about a dozen inquiries from journalists included, who have been confused,” Ginger Pinholster, director of public programs at AAAS, told SPACE.com.
In response, the AAAS has sent an e-mail to reporters to inform them that the embargo was not lifted.
“This is a standard protocol for something like this,” said Pinholster. “It’s just a note of preemption.”
So are the bloggers something? Scientists will make an announcement that shakes the earth? Maybe not as science journalists have already thrown cold water on some of the most breathless rumors. [10 Alien Encounters Debunked]
Kottke, for example, has updated his blog to include a tweet Atlantic Alexis Madrigal.
“I am sad to quell some of Kottke @-induced excitation on possible extraterrestrial life,” Madrigal November 30 tweet reads. “I saw the article in Science. It’s not that. ”
To see exactly what the researchers found, everyone will have to wait for the press conference. Pinholster, meanwhile, will probably be happy when the facts come out and stop the speculation.
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