Richard B. Hoover

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Richard Brice Hoover[1] (B.Sc.) (born January 3, 1943) is a scientist who has authored 33 volumes and 250 papers on astrobiology, extremophiles, diatoms, solar physics, X-ray/EUV optics and meteorites. He holds 11 U.S. patents and was 1992 NASA Inventor of the Year.[2] He was employed at the United States' NASA Marshall Space Flight Center from 1966, where he worked on astrophysics and astrobiology. He established the Astrobiology Group there in 1997 and until his retirement in late 2011 he headed their astrobiology research. He conducted research on microbial extremophiles in the Antarctic, microfossils, and chemical biomarkers in precambrian rocks and in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites.

Hoover is best known for having claimed six times (1997, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2013) to have discovered fossilized microorganisms in a collection of select meteorites.

Early life[edit | hide | hide all]

Hoover was born in Sikeston, Missouri on January 3, 1943. He obtained his B.Sc. degree with majors in physics, mathematics and French in 1964 from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He did graduate work in theoretical mathematics at Duke University on an NSF fellowship translating the Nicolas Bourbaki French volume on multi-dimensional vector spaces, and was completing his thesis on X-ray diffraction in the Physics Department of the University of Arkansas when he left the University in 1966 to join NASA.

Career[edit | hide]

Working at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, beginning in 1966, Hoover has taken part in astrobiological research carried out there since 1997. In 1998, he participated in two of the astrobiology proposals funded by the newly formed NASA Virtual Astrobiology Institute. He was co-investigator with David McKay (PI) of the NASA Johnson Space Center on the study of biomarkers and microfossils in meteorites, astromaterials and ancient terrestrial rocks, and collaborated with Kenneth Nealson (PI) from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the investigation of microbial extremophiles from some of the Earth's most hostile environments as related to the co-evolution of planets and biospheres.[3]

Hoover is noted for his early work at NASA on Fraunhofer diffraction,[4] and the development of X-ray/EUV telescopes for solar physics research. He developed the "ATM Experiment S-056 grazing incidence X-ray telescope" and obtained 25,000 solar x-ray images from Skylab,[5] and developed the instrument that obtained the first high resolution X-ray/EUV (X-ray to extreme ultraviolet) images of the Sun ever obtained with a normal incidence multilayer X-ray telescope.[6] He performed research on unicellular algae known as diatoms,[7][8] and is noted for his discovery of microbial extremophiles from places such as Mono Lake,[9][10] deep Lake Vostok ice cores,[11] deep sea hydrothermal vents,[12] and the living pleistocene bacterium Carnobacterium pleistocenium isolated from the 32,000-year-old permafrost from Fox Tunnel in Alaska.[13][14] He organized and co-chaired the NASA/NATO/INTAS sponsored 'Astrobiology Advanced Study Institute' that was held in Chania, Crete in 2002.[15] Hoover retired from NASA in December 2011.

Microfossils in meteorites[edit | hide]

Since 1997, Richard B. Hoover has published numerous papers in scientific conference proceedings and in peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and book chapters describing controversial evidence and claims for the existence of indigenous microfossils of cyanobacteria and other filamentous microorganisms in the CI1 (Ivuna and Orgueil) and CM2 (Murchison and Murray) carbonaceous meteorites,[16] as well as the Polonnaruwa meteorite.[17][18]

Hoover's interpretations and claims for fossilized bacteria in meteorites were published in 1997,[19][16] 2005,[20][21] 2007,[22] 2008,[23] 2011,[24] and 2013.[17][18]

NASA officially distanced itself from Hoover's 2011 claim and his lack of expert peer reviews.[25][26] A consensus that has emerged from these discussions, and is now seen as a critical requirement, is the demand for further lines of evidence in addition to any morphological data that supports such extraordinary claims.[27] Currently, the scientific consensus is that "morphology alone cannot be used unambiguously as a tool for primitive life detection."[28][29][30] Interpretation of morphology is notoriously subjective, and its use alone has led to numerous errors of interpretation.[28]

Extremophiles[edit | hide]

Hoover has collected meteorites and microbial extremophiles from Antarctica; novel bacteria from glaciers and permafrost of Antarctica, Patagonia, Siberia, Alaska and from haloalkaline lakes, geysers and volcanoes of California, Alaska, Crete and Hawaii. Hoover has described and published several new species and two new genera of bacteria and archaea: Anaerovirgula and Proteocatella.[31][32][33] He has authored four new species of bacteria (Spirochaeta americana, Desulfonatronum thiodismutans, Tindallia californiensis) from Mono Lake; and Carnobacterium pleistocenium that survived for 32,000 years in a frozen Alaskan pond.[2][34][35]

Other[edit | hide]

Hoover co-directed the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Astrobiology and his book "Perspectives in Astrobiology" was published in 2005. He is a fellow of SPIE and has served on the Boards of Directors of SPIE (1991–2002); the American Association of Engineering Societies (1999–2001) and the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (2002). Richard B. Hoover was 2001 President of SPIE. In 2009, Hoover was awarded the highest honor bestowed by SPIE – the Gold Medal of the Society - "In Recognition for his work X-Ray/EUV Optics and Astrobiology".[36][37][38] Hoover retired from NASA in December 2011.

See also[edit | hide]

References[edit | hide]

  1. Invitation to submit a paper to International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Biography: Richard B. Hoover". SPIE. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  3. "Marshall scientist to participate in Astrobiology Institute". 22 May 1998. Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  4. Hoover, Richard B.; Harris, Jr. (1969). "Die Beugungserscheinungen: a Tribute to F. M. Schwerd's Monumental Work on Fraunhofer Diffraction". Applied Optics. Applied Optics. 8 (11): 2161–4. Bibcode:1969ApOpt...8.2161H. doi:10.1364/AO.8.002161. PMID 20075993. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  5. Underwood, J. H.; Milligan, J. E.; Deloach, A. C.; Hoover, R. B. (1977). "S056 x-ray telescope experiment on the Skylab Apollo Telescope Mount". Applied Optics. Applied Optics. 16 (4): 858. Bibcode:1977ApOpt..16..858U. doi:10.1364/AO.16.000858. PMID 20168604. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  6. Walker, A. B. C.; Lindblom, J. F.; Barbee, T. W.; Hoover, R. B. (30 Sep 1998). "Soft X-ray Images of the Solar Corona with a Normal-Incidence Cassegrain Multilayer Telescope". Science. Science. 241 (4874): 1781–7. Bibcode:1988Sci...241.1781W. doi:10.1126/science.241.4874.1781. PMID 17783129. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  7. Hoover authored the article "Those Marvelous Myriad Diatoms" published in National Geographic in June, 1979.
  8. "From X-rays to Diatoms". NASA. 5 Mar 1998. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  9. "New Species Of Organism Found In Mars-Like Environment". SpaceDaily. 1 Aug 2003. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  10. Hoover, R. B.; Pikuta, E. V.; Bej, A. K.; Marsic, D; Whitman, W. B.; Tang, J; Krader, P (2003). "Spirochaeta americana sp. nov., a new haloalkaliphilic, obligately anaerobic spirochaete isolated from soda Mono Lake in California". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 53 (3): 815–21. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.02535-0. PMID 12807206. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  11. "Clues to possible life on Europa may lie buried in Antarctic ice". NASA. 5 Mar 1998. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  12. Pikuta, E. V.; Marsic, D.; Itoh, T.; Bej, A. K.; Tang, J.; Whitman, W. B.; Ng, J. D.; Garriott, O. K.; Hoover, R. B. (2007). "Thermococcus thioreducens sp. nov., a novel hyperthermophilic, obligately sulfur-reducing archaeon from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 57 (7): 1612. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.65057-0. PMID 17625204. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  13. "NASA Finds Life at 'Extremes'". NASA. 24 Feb 2005. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  14. Pikuta, E. V.; Marsic, D; Bej, A; Tang, J; Krader, P; Hoover, RB (2005). "Carnobacterium pleistocenium sp. nov., a novel psychrotolerant, facultative anaerobe isolated from permafrost of the Fox Tunnel in Alaska". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 55 (Pt 1): 473–8. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.63384-0. PMID 15653921. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  15. "Back-to-School Time for Astrobiologists". NASA. 30 Mar 2001. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Hoover, Richard B. (1997). "Proceedings of SPIE". SPIE: the International Society for Optical Engineering. Instruments, Methods, and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms. The International Society for Optical Engineering. 3111 (1): 115. Bibcode:1997SPIE.3111..115H. doi:10.1117/12.278766. Retrieved 2011-04-03.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Jamie Wallis; Nori Miyake; Richard B. Hoover; Andrew Oldroyd; et al. (5 March 2013). "The Polonnaruwa meteorite: oxygen isotope, crystalline and biological composition" (PDF). Journal of Cosmology. 22 (2). Retrieved 2013-03-07. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 N.C. Wickramasinghe, N.C.; J. Wallis; N. Miyake; Anthony Oldroyd; et al. (4 February 2013). "Authenticity of the life-bearing Polonnaruwa meteorite" (PDF). Journal of Cosmology. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  19. "Fossilized Life Forms in the Murchison Meteorite". 29 July 1997. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  20. Published in a chapter entitled "Microfossils, Biominerals and Chemical Biomarkers" in the volume Perspectives in Astrobiology: "NATO Science Series, I: Life and Behavioural Sciences". IOS Press. 2005. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  21. "Microfossils, Biominerals, and Chemical Biomarkers in Meteorites". IOS Press. 2005. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  22. Richard B. Hoover, BSc (12 July 2007). "Microfossils of Cyanobacteria in the Orgueil Carbonaceous Meteorite". NASA. Archived from the original on 7 March 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  23. Published in the chapter on 'Comets, Carbonaceous Meteorites' and in a Springer volume: r.b., Hoover (2008). "Biosphere Origin and Evolution". Springer: 55. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-68656-1_4. ISBN 978-0-387-68655-4. Retrieved 2011-04-03.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  24. Hoover, Richard B. (2011). "Fossils of Cyanobacteria in CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites: Implications to Life on Comets, Europa, and Enceladus" (PDF). Journal of Cosmology. 13: xxx. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  25. Kerry Sheridan (7 March 2011). "NASA shoots down alien fossil claims". ABC News. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  26. Seth Borenstein (8 March 2011). "NASA Disavows Scientist Richard Hoover's Claim Of Alien Life". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  27. Steele; Beaty; et al. (September 26, 2006). "Final report of the MEPAG Astrobiology Field Laboratory Science Steering Group (AFL-SSG)" (.doc). The Astrobiology Field Laboratory. U.S.A.: the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) - NASA. p. 72. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 Garcia-Ruiz, Juan-Manuel Garcia-Ruiz (December 30, 1999). "Morphological behavior of inorganic precipitation systems – Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology II". SPIE Proceedings. Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology II. Proc. SPIE 3755: 74. doi:10.1117/12.375088. Retrieved 2013-01-15. It is concluded that "morphology cannot be used unambiguously as a tool for primitive life detection." 
  29. Agresti; House; Jögi; Kudryavstev; McKeegan; Runnegar; Schopf; Wdowiak (3 December 2008). "Detection and geochemical characterization of Earth's earliest life". NASA Astrobiology Institute. NASA. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  30. Schopf, J. William; Kudryavtsev, Anatoliy B.; Czaja, Andrew D.; Tripathi, Abhishek B. (28 April 2007). "Evidence of Archean life: Stromatolites and microfossils" (PDF). Precambrian Research. 158 (3–4): 141–155. Bibcode:2007PreR..158..141S. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2007.04.009. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  31. Pikuta, E. V.; Itoh, T.; Krader, P.; Tang, J.; Whitman, W. B.; Hoover, R. B. (2006). "Anaerovirgula multivorans gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel spore-forming, alkaliphilic anaerobe isolated from Owens Lake, California, USA". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 56 (11): 2623. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.64198-0. PMID 17082402. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  32. Pikuta, E. V.; Hoover, R. B.; Marsic, D.; Whitman, W. B.; Lupa, B.; Tang, J.; Krader, P. (2009). "Proteocatella sphenisci gen. nov., sp. nov., a psychrotolerant, spore-forming anaerobe isolated from penguin guano". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 59 (9): 2302. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.002816-0. PMID 19620379. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  33. Pikuta, E. V.; Hoover, R. B.; Bej, A. K.; Marsic, D.; Whitman, W. B.; Krader, P. (2009). "Spirochaeta dissipatitropha sp. nov., an alkaliphilic, obligately anaerobic bacterium". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 59 (7): 1798. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.016733-0. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  34. 1999-International Expedition "Beringia" with 11 Russian scientists to drill in the permafrost of the Kolyma Lowlands of North Siberia in search for extremophiles in super-cooled liquid water; 2000-Antarctica 2000 Expedition (with Apollo 8 and Apollo 13 Commander James A. Lovell and Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott) to search for meteorites and extremophiles: "Astronaut Jack Lousma Confirmed to Speak at 18th Annual Benefit Dinner" (PDF). Planetary Studies Foundation. 2006. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  35. "A Mid-summer's Microbe Hunt". NASA. 3 May 2000. Retrieved 2011-04-03. ; 2008: Tawani Foundation International Schirmacher Oasis Antarctica Reconnaissance Expedition: "RECON MISSION TO ANTARCTICA" (PDF). Planetary Studies Foundation. 2008. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
    "Search For Extreme Organisms In Antarctica". SpaceDaily. 7 Feb 2008. Retrieved 2011-04-03. ; 2008: Tawani Foundation International Lake Untersee, Antarctica Expedition to search for extremophiles in the Anuchin Glacier and beneath the permanent ice cover of Lake Untersee:"Team". Tawani International Antarctica Expeditions. n.d. Retrieved 2011-04-03. ; 2009: BBC Expedition to Vatnajökull Ice Cap and Kverkfjöll, Glacier Ice Cave in Iceland to explore life in ice and film the BBC/Discovery production "Seven Wonders of the Solar System." For Expeditions to Alaska, Siberia and Antarctica Hoover was elected a Fellow National (FN’01) of the Explorer’s Club. He carried Explorer’s Club # 162 on the expeditions to study microbial extremophiles in the Schirmacher Oasis and Lake Untersee of East Antarctica and prepared the Flag Report describing preliminary results from these Antarctic expeditions:"SCHIRMACHER OASIS/LAKE UNTERSEE ANTARCTICA ASTROBIOLOGY EXPEDITION" (PDF). 29 May 2008. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  36. "NASA Marshall Center Astrobiologist Richard Hoover Awarded 2009 SPIE Gold Medal". NASA. 5 Aug 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  37. "Richard B. Hoover honored with Gold Medal of the Society". SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. 21 Apr 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  38. "Gold Medal of the Society". SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. n.d. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
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