Did E.T. finally phone home?
December 1st, 2010
11:29 AM ET

Did E.T. finally phone home?

The truth is out there.

NASA is planning to hold a news conference Thursday "to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life."

The Web is abuzz with speculation about what that cryptic phrase might mean.

"Our guess is that this astrobiological discovery will have something to do with water, evolutionary biology, and aquatic bacteria," the Geek Tech bloggers at PCWorld say.

Gaming and fantasy site Kotaku thinks it could mean life-friendly conditions - or even living organisms - have been found on Saturn's moon Rhea.

"There's only one thing this could mean: NASA has aliens. Now let's just hope they're the friendly, ET-kind of visitors, and not the warlike Klingon types," Stephen Losey wrote (tongue-in-cheek) on FederalTimes.com.

Blogger Jason Kottke analyzed the lineup of scientists slated to appear at the press conference and came up with his own conclusion:

"If I had to guess at what NASA is going to reveal on Thursday, I'd say that they've discovered arsenic on Titan and maybe even detected chemical evidence of bacteria utilizing it for photosynthesis (by following the elements). Or something like that."

Leave it to Discover.com's level-headed Phil Plait to throw a wet space blanket on the hype over the possible discover of extraterrestrial life:

"It seems really unlikely; I don't think they would announce it in this way," he writes. "It would've been under tighter wraps, for one thing. It's more likely they've found a new way life can exist and that evidence for these conditions exists on other worlds. But without more info, I won't speculate any farther than that."

Hmfph. Party pooper.

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Filed under: Science • Space
soundoff (444 Responses)
  1. Big willy style

    Welcome to Erf!

    December 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ulap

      ...we come in peace..........................DESTROYYYYYYYYYYYY.....

      December 2, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Walter

    Of course life exists elsewhere in the Universe; life exists on Earth and the conditions here are not unique.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • AlienAnessa

      I concur!!

      December 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enrico

      I'm with Phil Plait. It will be a rather boring (for the average non-scientist) chemical finding. It's a problem with laymen reading scientific press releases and jumping to conclusions. Most things that excite scientists, put a gleam in their eyes for opportunities of new papers and grants, is of very little immediate interest for the common man. Maybe from now on, NASA should include a disclaimer in their PRs to include what it is NOT about to prevent unadultered speculation (something like "no, we haven't found LGM, not even close. Now go back to your boring lives").

      December 2, 2010 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • .

      "...to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life."
      "Impact the search for evidence" is the key phrase here. Anyone waiting for a statment that life has been found will likely be disappointed. Still, this is a fascinating topic. It will be exciting if/when we learn more about the possibility of life in the universe, even if in microbial form.

      December 2, 2010 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Me, myself and I

      Actually conditions here might be somewhat Unique, we really don't know for sure. One of the things that makes our planet unique as far as we know, is the size of our moon relative to our planet. The effect of the moon on regulating the tides and some of its other effects on stabalizing the planet might very much have alot to do with having intelligent life on the planet. How much of what evolved here on this planet is due to chance, the right comet/asteroid hitting or missing the planet? Being in exactly the perfect distance from the sun? The right global cooling or heating event at just the right time to push evolution the right way?

      Now certainly life exists elsewhere, but the big question is does intelligent life exist elsewhere, and that is less of a certainty. Obviously the universe is a pretty big place so there are lots of opportunities

      December 2, 2010 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Basil999

      I've always said, if you want to know if there is life in the universe.....uh.....look in the mirror.....DUH. Secondly, anyone who has the audacity to assume that we are the only living beings in the universe...Good Grief, how narcissistic can you possibly BE????

      December 2, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Conditions for life != life. The assumption in that statement is that something can arise out of nothing. Only God can create life.

      December 2, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. jackhudson

    They found out the best way to increase their budgetary allotment from Congress is to get everyone excited about extraterrestrials.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JD

      Well how else are they going to get their funds?

      December 2, 2010 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. iTunes

    iTunes now has the Beatles! Aliens will be able to find us!

    December 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • iTunes

      what that announcement about the beatles didn't change your world like Apple said?

      December 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jillian Junk

      LMAO! That kinda made my day right there.

      December 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. its bombness !

    omgosh and thats why its important -sarcasm . .

    December 1, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. JustPlainJoe

    Another CNN Journalist high point.
    A serious topic likely above the intellectual radar of the editor, associated with a stupid picture and demeaning headline.

    CNN's editorializing extend to all aspects of its reporting consistently trivializing scientific discussions and elevating triviality.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lux

      Thank you. That picture is ridiculous, especially combined with the momentous potential of this story.

      December 2, 2010 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer101

      Could not agree more. Straight out of the Nation Inquirer imho.

      December 2, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. Alex

    I don't know why when it comes to giving news about life out of earth, it's often presented as a joke or funny story. Soon you'll all stop laughing about it.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. UCFKnightman

    We came to Earth in search of intelligent life...oops, we made a mistake...

    December 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • DESTRO1977

      UFC.........GO Knights!!!!

      December 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. onesimpleguy

    they found that these Aliens are not mexicans....

    December 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. onesimpleguy

    the found that Aliens from other planets are cheaper astronauts and will begin taking american jobs shortly....

    December 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • onshoredesi

      And yes, they found those aliens are not Indians either. They are not offshoring they are offplaneting!

      December 2, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. DK

    According to the caption on the picture, we are apparently all geeks since we are talking about the topic. Thanks CNN.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. IceT

    Even with the childish headline & pic I still see this as having fantastic potential for changing the way humans see themselves in this universe, but most likely I'll be dissapointed by the news conference.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Walter

    Intelligent life capable of making the trip wouldn't, they'd be twittering at the speed of light while also looking for others twittering at the speed of light.... knowledge of their future would be the only thing of value out there amongst the cosmos – you don't need to leave home to capture it. All you need to do is detect the only light source capable of communicating those distances – systematically reflected starlight of the host system. Maybe some ancient ET star system has just tried to "Friend" NASA.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. John Andrews

    It's life Jim, but not as we know it.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. IceT

    The only aliens we'll be able to detect will most likely be ones of significantly lesser, if any, technological advancement. The more advanced ones have already found us, studied us & have no desire to make a contact & would likely be undetectable by our current science.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Redeye Dog

      ....and that's all I have to say about that..

      December 2, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris M from Los Angeles

      Prime Directive, or just sickos with a fetish for anal probes?

      December 2, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
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