On Friday I received an email from the "Journal of Cosmology" that began,
The Journal of Cosmology (JOC) is inviting you to write a commentary (around 1,000 words) related to a scientific article to be published in JOC, by Dr. Richard Hoover, of NASA.
This was an unusual move for a journal but reading on I understood a bit more. Journals don't usually invite the community to make comments on a new paper.
The email went on to explain that Dr Hoover is publishing an article claiming discovery of fossilized bacteria in meteorites. If true the result would mean life formed elsewhere in the solar system.
I was, of course, immediately intrigued but being in "da Biz" I was skeptical. The Journal of Cosmology is not a publication that I, or any of my colleagues, knew anything about (and this result was Astrobiological not Cosmological). More importantly it was not one of the 'go to' journals any of us would think to publish new, spectacular results (that would be something like Nature or The Astrophysical Journal).
Calling around I found that Dr. Hoover is well-respected scientist with a long history of excellent work in a variety of fields. More importantly his claims about meteoritic microfossil evidence for life (which would have existed on some other solar system body) has been published before in other journals (again not the journals one might think for these kinds of results).
So the first reactions seem to be - Hoover's results are much like claims made 15 years ago for evidence of life in a Mars rock (also a meteorite found in Antarctica). They are super interesting but not conclusive one way or another. Not proof but not disprovable either.
Just a heads up and we shall see what develops. Stay Tuned.