After the Earth-shaking announcement last week that they'd discovered an arsenic-based life form, NASA researchers are under attack from many in the scientific community. Experts are calling the research shoddy, and wondering if NASA is just desperate for publicity.
Last week, NASA held a press conference to announce the new organism, which they teased with a fairly misleading media release that suggested they'd discovered life on another world: They promised to announce "an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life." The media release had the intended effect: News organizations were in a tizzy. But when reporters (including io9's Alasdair Wilkins) got to the press conference, they discovered that NASA wasn't talking about astrobiology at all, but instead an Earth-based microbe that resembled what scientists speculate life on other planets might be like. (Read io9's report on the press conference here.)