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Is NASA trustworthy still?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Numinous, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. Numinous

    Numinous Philosopher

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    I am not allowed to link to anything until 15 posts, but has anyone read that scientists are coming out to say NASA's recent "discovery" about life eating arsenic, was faulty and should have never been published?

    It seems, they can save face a little, if they redo the experiments with the recommended modifications with the experiment.

    Anyone interested in that topic?
     
  2. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Engineer Libertarian

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    63,548
    Start posting furiously, so that you can post your link.
     
  3. Numinous

    Numinous Philosopher

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    news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20101208/sc_yblog_thelookout/scientists-poking-holes-in-nasas-arsenic-eating-microbe-discovery

    I think if you type "h t t p://" without the spaces, before the above long string you can see the story.
     
  4. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Engineer Libertarian

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    It sounds like there is much work still to be done. The arguments will likely settle down.
     
  5. Numinous

    Numinous Philosopher

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    From what I could gather that phosphates were removed from NASA, so that only arsenic remained. However, they failed to mention they then fed back phosphates (mind you minuscule amounts) that could have been the cause for life sustaining.

    It is a situation that makes one sigh... Realizing the possible desperation of institutions that might resort to things like this hoping for more funding. I hope that is not what they have done.
     
  6. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

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    It seems to me that some university (or many) will carry on this research.
     
  7. Mr Spinkles

    Mr Spinkles Mr

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    I don't think one ill-conceived paper should tarnish everything NASA produces. They have their hand in an enormous amount of outstanding research in all areas of science, if not directly then at least through funding and grants.
     
  8. Nepenthe

    Nepenthe Tu Stultus Es

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    Yep, Rosie has presented the most detailed and critical analysis of NASA's study in her blog here. It's really good imo. NASA has been dismissive of the criticisms though despite what I see as valid questions. As usual Zimmer gives the best review of what's going on over the whole controversy and he's posting the reactions of several microbiologists to the issue (like Rosie Redfield, Shelley Copley has also been a major critic of the paper): Of arsenic and aliens: What the critics said | The Loom | Discover Magazine

    It reminds me of sample ALH84001 back in the day, though not as epic.
     
  9. Numinous

    Numinous Philosopher

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    Can you elaborate? I mean if the initial work was faulty, are you saying universities will try to recreate the experiment, or run with the faulty data?
    On the surface it seems this could blow up in NASA's face, and the money spent on their work will be shown to be a waste of money for one, and a desperate attempt to bolster their search for life elsewhere in the universe.

    Do you think there is merit in what they did if it turns out to be indeed faulty science work?
     
  10. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

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    It just seems to me that it warrants further study - it's at least a question that a Master's or doctoral student can research. There are far more wacky stuff that universities are researching these days.
     
  11. Nepenthe

    Nepenthe Tu Stultus Es

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    Excellent point.
    NASA scientists are like any other scientists: they work hard and they occassionally make mistakes and/or exaggerate or misinterpret a finding. It's all hashed out and disputed and ultimately filtered through the sieve of replication and hopefully a clearer understanding of what's going on is revealed.

    NASA is far too much of an asset to the scientific community to let this current controversy bog them down.
     
  12. Numinous

    Numinous Philosopher

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    113
    OK I agree, and at this point it might be better that someone independent does the research for this one, to make sure it is done without bias. Not that I am claiming NASA is biased, it just might work in their favor if an independent study confirms their initial findings, despite their flawed approach.
     
  13. Numinous

    Numinous Philosopher

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    While this is true, what you say. The other side of the coin is NASA doesn't publish findings like this everyday, I mean this was kind of a big deal for them. It was a big deal in a sense, that MANY would-be donors would be lined up to fund this type of research.
    I just wonder who really slipped up here, the scientist, the PR people, or NASA Executives.
    Though at the end of the day, it is one of a bazillion things NASA does, and isn't that big a deal.
     
  14. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    Still trustworthy? I don't think those charlatans have ever been trustworthy. I mean, ever since they came out with that ridiculous story about sending people to the moon, I haven't believed a single word they've said.
     
  15. Numinous

    Numinous Philosopher

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    Surely you must know, even the Myth Buster's are privy to the "in-club" as they did such a marvelous job fabricating lies about how the moon landing was entirely legit.
     
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