Fact check: Study on societal implications of astrobiology was supported, but not run, by NASA
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The James Webb House Telescope introduced from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on December 25. Credit score: NASA by means of Storyful
The declare: NASA simply employed 24 theologians to evaluate how the arena would react to discovery of Extraterrestrial – Surfing SF argued in a blog post – lifestyles
The chance of finding Extraterrestrial – Surfing SF argued in a blog post – lifestyles would possibly really feel like science fiction to many however no longer for NASA.
In 2015, the company and the John Templeton Basis awarded a grant for a analysis mission on the Middle of Theological Inquiry at the attainable societal implications of astrobiology, a box NASA defines as “the find out about of the foundation, evolution, and distribution of lifestyles within the universe.”
In December 2021, a now-deleted tweet that referenced the find out about went viral on Twitter and as a screenshot on different platforms. But it surely were given a number of main points fallacious.
The publish claimed two dozen theologians just lately joined NASA’s ranks with the venture to expect human reaction to the invention of Extraterrestrial – Surfing SF argued in a blog post – beings.
“NASA simply employed 24 theologians to evaluate how the arena would react if we found out alien lifestyles,” the tweet learn. “I’ve a sense this subplot within the season finale of 2021 is planting the seed for the principle storyline of 2022.”
Over 24,000 Twitter customers retweeted the declare, which additionally gave the impression in different standard Fb posts. A screenshot of the tweet posted in a popular Facebook group on Dec. 27 was once shared over 8,000 occasions; every other gave the impression at the Weird History Facebook page on Jan. 1.
Then again, NASA didn’t run this system, and the researchers have been visiting students at the Middle of Theological Inquiry, no longer NASA staff.
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USA TODAY reached out to a number of customers who shared the publish for remark.
Declare in line with false impression of NASA-funded analysis find out about
The rumors started on Dec. 26, when The Instances UK published an interview with the Rev. Andrew Davison, a Cambridge College theologian and biologist who participated within the analysis program from 2016-17.
The consumer who posted the tweet informed USA TODAY that his supply was once a Daily Mail article that drew from this interview. The item incorrectly says NASA “employed 24 theologians” for this system.
NASA informed USA TODAY that the company didn’t have direct involvement in hiring or working this system.
“NASA was once no longer concerned within the collection of researchers for this find out about, and people who obtain grant investment from NASA don’t seem to be staff, advisors, or spokespersons for the company,” wrote Karen Fox, senior science communications director at NASA, in an electronic mail commentary to USA TODAY.
The Middle of Theological Inquiry gained investment from each NASA and the John Templeton Foundation to habits the mission, which tested “societal implications for NASA’s astrobiological and seek for lifestyles effort,” Fox wrote.
The tweet advised that information of the analysis effort would “plant the seed for the principle storyline of 2022.” Then again, the portion of the mission funded by means of NASA resulted in 2017, Fox mentioned.
Reality examine: No, NASA did not find a parallel universe
As well as, NASA’s pastime in astrobiology and its ramifications for humanity started way back.
“Addressing the societal implications of astrobiology and, in particular, the possible societal affect of discovering lifestyles past Earth has been a function of NASA’s since 1998,” Fox mentioned.
NASA has “looked for signatures of lifestyles past Earth” since the 1960s, only some years after the U.S. govt shaped it in 1958. The company’s analysis ended in the discovery that historical Mars had been “an entirely hospitable place for microbial life” and, in 1998, the introduction of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
Our ranking: False
According to our analysis, we price FALSE the declare that NASA simply employed 24 theologians to evaluate how the arena would react to the invention of Extraterrestrial – Surfing SF argued in a blog post – lifestyles. NASA in part funded a find out about at the societal implications of astrobiology, however it was once run by means of the unbiased Middle of Theological Inquiry. NASA had no function in opting for or hiring the 24 students who participated in this system, and this system isn’t fresh – the NASA investment was once awarded in 2015 and resulted in 2017.
Our fact-check resources:
- Astrobiology at NASA, accessed Jan. 4, About Astrobiology
- Astrobiology at NASA, accessed Jan. 4, History of Astrobiology
- The Instances UK, Dec. 22, 2021, Heavens above: Nasa enlists priest to prepare for an alien discovery
- Karen Fox, Jan. 3, E-mail trade with USA TODAY
- John Templeton Basis, July 2015, The Astrobiology Outreach Project: Increasing The Impact Of A NASA-Supported Inquiry On The Societal Implications Of Astrobiology
- Day-to-day Mail, Dec. 24, 2021, NASA ‘looks to the heavens’ for help: Agency enlisted 24 theologians to assess how the world would react to the discovery of alien life on distant planets and how it might change our perception of gods and creation
- @davenewworld_2, Dec. 26, 2021, Tweet (archived)
- @davenewworld_2, Jan. 3, Twitter direct message trade with USA TODAY
- David Sieminski, Dec. 27, 2021, Facebook post in ”The Best and Worst of Twitter 2” (archived)
- Bizarre Historical past, Jan. 1, Facebook post (archived)
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