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More on the David McKay video October 25, 2010

Posted by Simon in Uncategorized.
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One of the most interesting sources of information on the controversy is this video of a talk given by David McKay to an astrobiology class at Stanford. McKay spends most of the talk going through the ALH84001 research in detail and discussing how his team reached their conclusion, but there are little gems sprinkled throughout the talk where he reflects on the controversy itself.

I’ve mentioned one of these moments previously, where McKay talks about the media circus surrounding the 1996 press conference. Here are some other revealing moments:

  • He thinks that that other scientists got a lot of press when they criticised the initial research (and he admits that his team got a lot of press in 1996 too), but when his team showed that those criticisms weren’t valid, nobody paid attention.
  • He seems to blame NASA and the White House for the early release of the story
  • He believes that some other Martian meteorites show similar ‘biomorphs’ (things that look like microfossils) to those in ALH84001; I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere else and it seems to me that this strengthens the argument considerably
  • His tone throughout is quite calm and reasoned; there’s not really any bitterness or frustration at the way things have turned out, which one might have guessed.

There’s a lot of technical analysis in the video, but if you’ve got an hour to spare it’s quite enlightening.

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