Is NASA Announcing the Discovery of Life on One of Saturn’s Moons This Thursday? We Think Not.

Titan, one of Saturn's moons, appears as just a tiny dot next to the massive ringed planet

The dot next to Saturn is Titan. Has NASA discovered life there, or is that wacky Internet just jumping to ridiculous conclusions again? We'll give you three guesses.

Yesterday, NASA announced that they are going to hold a press conference this coming Thursday at 2pm eastern (1 central!). The press release announcing the conference stated that that the scientists appearing there would “discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.”

Last night, blogger Jason Kottke discovered the press release and did a little looking into the background of the scientists NASA has invited to participate in Thursday’s press conference. His conclusion? That NASA will be announcing the discovery of extraterrestrial bacterial life on Titan (one of Saturn’s moons).

Based on the fairly dry press release put out by NASA, Jason’s conclusion is a pretty big one to jump to, but nevertheless, it’s been picked up by the likes of Gawker, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CBS News, and of course, PC World.

All of these esteemed news sources essentially just echo Kottke’s analysis, and advise readers to “stay tuned.” Here’s some free advice: don’t bother.

If NASA really had discovered real proof of extraterrestrial life on one of Saturn’s moons, they’d make a much bigger deal about it. They’d also probably say something about it in the press release. Instead of life on Titan, we’re going to go way out on a crazy limb and say that on Thursday NASA will announce “an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.” Translation: they’ve learned something that may help scientists someday find extraterrestrial life.

We know it’s popular these days to distrust the government, but in this case we think NASA’s probably on the up and up. Did they learn something cool about astrobiology? Almost certainly. Did they find proof of extraterrestrial life? Likely not.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to order Jason Kottke a jump to conclusions mat.

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