On September 12, ufologist and journalist Jaime Maussan introduced what he claimed to be proof of alien life to the Congress of Mexico. On September 19, Mexico’s scientific group gathered for a convention to ask a easy query in return: “Extraterrestrials or Llama Skeletons?”
The reply was proper there within the subtitle of the convention itself: “Science responds to the charlatans and the gullible.” If Maussan had shocked Mexico and the world together with his outlandish claims, this was Mexico’s scientific group combating again. Towards the tip of the convention, Alejandro Frank, a professor of mathematical physics at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and the host of the occasion, summed issues up: “Confronted with the intense issues we’re experiencing in Mexico and all the planet, beginning with local weather change, conflict, and pandemics, it’s unhappy to assemble to speak concerning the misdeeds of an expert charlatan.”
Frank stated the scientists had not gathered to debate Maussan’s “a long time of ridiculous conspiracy claims,” however somewhat due to the place Maussan had delivered his newest outlandish claims. Maussan’s look in Mexico’s Congress had, Frank argued, “turned the world the wrong way up” and made scientific rationality in Mexico the topic of ridicule. “What’s at stake right here is whether or not our nation will comply with science or superstitions and quackery.”
Whereas Maussan’s extraterrestrial claims are laughable, the harm they danger doing to science in Mexico, and worldwide, is a critical matter. Frank pointed to the polarization of Mexican politics, particularly round pressing points just like the local weather disaster, as an particularly alarming instance of how the nation’s scientific fame was already struggling. Following the alien debacle, Frank had known as on Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, or Nationwide Council on Science and Know-how, to talk up and take motion. “The company has been silent concerning the info surrounding the Nazca mummies, that are more and more turning into well-known because the ‘Mexican mummies.’”
José Franco, a researcher at UNAM’s Astronomy Institute, began the convention with a presentation entitled “Life within the Universe,” the place he spoke about DNA and RNA, interstellar chemistry, the radio spectra of Orion’s KL nebula, and cloverleaf quasars.
He spoke of exobiology, the realm that research the potential of life exterior Earth; the direct seek for microbial life in celestial our bodies; meteorites, the moon, Mars, Europa, Enceladus, and Venus. He additionally spoke about humanity’s oblique seek for alien life—concerning the messages despatched from the Arecibo telescope; the Pioneer plaques; the Voyager 1 and a couple of Golden information; the message despatched from Ukraine to Gliese 581c, a planet with some situations just like Earth’s, in 2008; and one other transmission, additionally in 2008, of the Beatles track “Throughout the Universe,” directed towards the star Polaris.
“Hayabusa2 was despatched to the Ryugu Asteroid, returned to Earth, and is already within the palms of scientists in Japan, and NASA,” Franco stated. He talked about the Osiris-Rex pattern assortment mission, which collected round 250 grams of rubble from an asteroid. He additionally touched on the 9 probes despatched to Mars, amongst them the celebrated Perseverance. “No life has been discovered anyplace, and neither has intelligence been present in Congress,” Franco joked.
Gabriela Frías, a philosophy of science researcher, described current occasions in Mexico’s Congress as “a pseudoscientific occasion, which appeals to our fantasies, needs, and fears.” Throughout his presentation, Maussan pointed to a “carbon-14 evaluation” carried out on the Nazca mummies by scientists at UNAM. Maussan had claimed this, partly, as proof that he was presenting “nonhuman beings.” UNAM has since distanced itself from “any subsequent use, interpretation, or misrepresentation of the outcomes.”
In a press release, UNAM stated it was important that the seek for alien life be approached “with the assist of scientific analysis establishments, and following the rigorous moral requirements inherent to analysis.” Maussan’s look in Congress was the alternative of that.