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Old 05-11-2009, 05:33 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: So. Cal. U.S.
Posts: 4,205
Default Ask an Astrobiologist FAQ

Who is the Astrobiologist answering these questions?

David Morrison, the Senior Scientist of the NASA Astrobiology Institute answers the questions.

Have aliens visited Earth? Are UFOs real?

No, there is no evidence for visits of intelligent aliens to Earth, either now or in the past. The are many claims concerning UFOs and aliens, but no evidence to support these claims. The photos that are posted on the Internet are mostly fakes, and no one has ever produced an artifact or any other tangible scientific evidence of UFOs or aliens. One of strongest cases against the reality of these claims is that the group of people who spend the most time observing the sky are amateur astronomers, and they don’t report UFO sightings. If there were any evidence of aliens, astrobiologists would be among to first to hail such a discovery and analyze the data. However, there is no evidence that withstands scientific investigation. If you are still interested, you can use the search engine to find posted answers to specific questions about aliens and UFOs.

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Is there a planet or brown dwarf called Nibiru or Eris that is approaching the Earth and threatening our planet with widespread destruction?

No: Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims, and most of them (such as that Nibiru has been hiding behind the Sun or that it will be visible to the naked eye from the southern hemisphere next year) are ludicrous. Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles. More questions and answers about these peculiar claims can be found on this website by clicking on “Most Popular” or using the search engine to look up specific topics.


Is it true that the Sun will be in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in December 2012 and that this will cause a pole shift and massive destruction.

No, this is an Internet hoax, with no basis in fact. There is no alignment of planets or of the Sun with the Galaxy. As far as being in the center of the Galaxy, this is impossible; we are slowly orbiting the galactic center at a distance of about 30,000 light years. The idea of a “pole shift” is also unfounded. Most people seem to mean a rapid change in the rotational pole of the Earth, but this is something that has never happened and never will. Some people are confusing this with the reversal of the magnetic poles on Earth, which does take place regularly, every few hundred thousand years. But there is no evidence that this might happen soon, and even if it did, the magnetic shift would be gradual and there would probably be no consequences on the planet, certainly nothing catastrophic. More questions and answers about these peculiar claims can be found on this website by clicking on “Most Popular” or using the search engine to look up specific topics.


Has NASA discovered life on other worlds?

No. The discovery of life beyond Earth is one of the ultimate goals of astrobiology, but so far there is no convincing evidence of life. Today, astrobiologists are mostly concentrating their research on understanding Earth life, including its origin and range of habitable environments, and on determining if habitable environments exist beyond Earth (on Mars, for example). There have been very few actual searches as yet for life on other worlds.
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