Wild stuff!

Program Note 5/11/2021: The Cosmic Tusk is changing WordPress “engines” tonight. Thanks for your patience with any glitches.

The sciency internet is alive with consensus condemnation and universal damnation for a new paper from Rhawn Joseph, now dubbed the “Tiger King of Mars.” In the article below, Joseph et al. continues a radical break from conventional interpretations of Martian photography, believing a number of odd features photographed by the Martian rovers are…wait for it…mushrooms and fungi.

The Tusk has seen so much mistreatment and knee jerk criticism of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, (an order of magnitude less heretical science), I feel some empathy for the poor guy — right or wrong. It’s so sad the press can’t find time to give him — or his co-authors — a telephone call before tearing his ass off on-line as a fraud.

I don’t think he is fraud, or a hoaxter. Probably wrong, surely iconoclastic, but Rhawn Joseph in my distant estimation sincerely believes every word he writes. And personally I find his paper well-written and worthy of somewhat thoughtful criticism and refutation, not ad hominem attacks.

While it is very hard to believe NASA has missed mushrooms on Mars, it sure would be nice if they would take one of those robo tools and give a Martian hematite sphere a little “poke” — just to see if it’s puffy — or squishy.

A responsible take: Scientists Believe These Photos Show Mushrooms on Mars—and Proof of Life

Some links from a “PolitiFact” drive-by debunking (begging the question, have we run out lying politicians?):

Futurism, “Scientists Claim to Spot Fungus Growing on Mars in NASA Rover Photos,” May 6, 2021

Futurism, “Experts Shred Paper Claiming to Identify Mushrooms on Mars,” May 7, 2021

CNET, “No, NASA photos are not evidence of fungus growing on Mars, sorry,” May 6, 2021

TNW News, “Mushrooms on Mars is a hoax — stop believing hack ‘scientists,’” May 7, 2021

South China Morning Post, “Fungi on Mars? Researchers claim signs of life on red planet,” May 7, 2021

ResearchGate, “Fungi on Mars? Evidence of Growth and Behavior From Sequential Images,” accessed May 7, 2021

Email interview with Dr. Kenneth Nealson, professor emeritus of earth sciences and expert in microbial life in extreme environments at the University of Southern California, May 7, 2021

Email interview with Dr. Edwin Kite, assistant professor in the department of the geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago, May 7, 2021

University of Chicago, “Mars expert available to discuss Perseverance rover landing scheduled for Thursday,” Feb. 16, 2021

Vice, “This Man Is Suing NASA For Ignoring a Jelly Donut-Shaped Rock He Thinks Is Life on Mars,” Jan. 30, 2014

ResearchGate, “Rhawn Gabriel Joseph,” accessed May 9, 2021

SpringerLink, “Retraction Note to: Life on Venus and the interplanetary transfer of biota from Earth,” accessed May 9, 2021

CNET, “The fungus on Mars and the man who thinks he found life on other planets,” May 6, 2021

Retraction Watch, “‘Prince of panspermia’ has a paper retracted, and sues Springer Nature,” Oct. 6, 2020

ResearchGate, “About,” accessed May 9, 2021



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