So the cyber-activist group Anonymous released a video stating that NASA is about to release evidence of aliens. Like so many claims that the U.S. federal government is sitting on evidence of aliens and may even be storing a few alien corpses in Area 51, nobody with any sense is going to take this latest video from Anonymous seriously unless and until this group can come up with some concrete proof that can’t be faked. However, the video went viral quickly enough that NASA’s science chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, devoted 140 characters to the topic on Twitter.
“Contrary to some reports, there’s no pending announcement from NASA regarding extraterrestrial life,” he tweeted via his handle, @Dr_ThomasZ.
It’s unlikely that the species known as Homo sapiens is alone in the universe or that carbon-based life is a freak happening that the universe can’t duplicate elsewhere. During an April 26th Congressional hearing on the search for extraterrestrial life, Zurbuchen cited telescopes like Kepler, which have assisted in finding exoplanets that are similar to Earth and orbit their host star at the right distance to possibly host carbon-based life.
Anonymous latched onto a statement made by Zurbuchen during the hearing: “Taking into account all of the different activities and missions that are specifically searching for evidence of alien life, we are on the verge of making one of the most profound, unprecedented discoveries in history.”
Anonymous incorrectly interpreted that statement to mean that NASA had already discovered evidence of extraterrestrials and were simply sitting on this information until it could prepare a public statement. However, being “on the verge” of a new discovery is not the same thing as “already found evidence”. What it amounts to is that E.T. might phone home, but hasn’t phoned us. Until NASA has concrete proof that E.T. exists, it refuses to speculate on the existence of intelligent aliens, let alone what form these aliens might take.
Basically, what this means is that Anonymous is taking a hit to its reputation on a world where they already aren’t universally popular. This group comes off sounding like it’s thrown its lot in with the makers of Ancient Aliens and every conspiracy theorist in existence. Don’t get me wrong, Anonymous occasionally does good things like going after ISIS, but things like this announcement leads to a popular perception that this group is made up of marginalized attention-seekers.