No, NASA isn’t about to announce alien life

NASA has apparently collected evidence of extraterrestrial life that it has been hiding from the human race – at least, according to a YouTube video created by an individual claiming to be part of the decentralized group ‘Anonymous’ that has been picked up by respected media outlets such as Newsweek.

As the Washington Post explained in a report published Monday, the video was uploaded to the YouTube channel of a person identified as “Anonymous Global” who is wearing a Guy Fawkes mask as he reads actual old quotes from NASA representatives related to other discoveries.

Among the video’s content, the newspaper said, is a series of comments made by NASA science director Thomas Zurbuchen during a public congressional hearing in April, in which he said that the agency was “on the verge of making one of the most profound, unprecedented discoveries in history.”

However, the video does not show any of the actual testimony and fails to mention the fact that Zurbuchen was discussing the recent discovery of exoplanets orbiting distant suns, as well as the detection of organic chemicals on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Nor does it include the scientist point-blank saying that he and his colleagues “haven’t found definitive signs of life just yet.”

Nonetheless, in this day and age of click-bait journalism, the video quickly spread across the Internet. Among the media outlets that picked it up was Newsweek (who posted a story with the headline “ANONYMOUS SAYS NASA HAS EVIDENCE OF ALIEN LIFE. DOES IT?”) and UK publications The Sun and The Independent.

‘No pending announcement’ regarding discovery of extraterrestrials

In the “ridiculous” video – the Post’s words, not our own – Anonymous Global eventually runs out of steam, finishing his 12-minute video (which also includes monetized ads, apparently) with old UFO footage and a discussion of conspiracy theories. As one commenter put it, according to the Post, “Well this was a whole lot of nothing.”

In their take on the video, Sputnik News, a Russian-run website named in honor of the first-ever artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, said that “anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the dark Web can grab themselves a few minutes in the online limelight by ‘releasing’ an ‘announcement’ and crediting the story as being from Anonymous… We all want the same outcome, certainly, but we’ll stick with the peer-reviewed science, thanks.”

Just to be safe, the Post reached out for NASA to see if the agency would confirm whether or not they had secretly discovered extraterrestrial life and that this random YouTube user had managed to somehow get the scoop on what would undoubtedly be the story of the century. Sad to say that the agency denied that they had, in fact, confirmed the existence of life on other planets.

“While we’re excited about the latest findings from NASA’s Kepler space observatory, there’s no pending announcement regarding extraterrestrial life,” a NASA spokesman told the Post via email. “For years NASA has expressed interest in searching for signs of life beyond Earth. We have a number of science missions that are moving forward with the goal of seeking signs of past and present life on Mars and ocean worlds in the outer solar system. While we do not yet have answers, we will continue to work to address the fundamental question, ‘Are we alone?’”


Image credit: NASA JPL