Study in the Modern Journal of Physics claiming that intelligent plasma is the source of many UFO sightings and that NASA is aware of this.

Habib

New Member
What is going on here then? Is it just complete farce masquerading as Science?

Abstract

Plasmas” up to a kilometer in size and behaving similarly to multicellular organisms have been filmed on 10 separate NASA space shuttle missions, over 200 miles above Earth within the thermosphere. These self-illuminated “plasmas” are attracted to and may “feed on” electromagnetic radiation. They have different morphologies: 1) cone, 2) cloud, 3) donut, 4) spherical-cylindrical; and have been filmed flying towards and descending from the thermosphere into thunderstorms; congregating by the hundreds and interacting with satellites generating electromagnetic activity; approaching the Space Shuttles. Computerized analysis of flight path trajectories documents these plasmas travel at different velocities from different directions and change their angle of trajectory making 45°, 90°, and 180° shifts and follow each other. They’ve been filmed accelerating, slowing down, stopping, congregating, engaging in “hunter-predatory” behavior and intersecting plasmas leaving a plasma dust trail in their wake. Similar life-like behaviors have been demonstrated by plasmas created experimentally. “Plasmas” may have been photographed in the 1940s by WWII pilots (identified as “Foo fighters”); repeatedly observed and filmed by astronauts and military pilots and classified as Unidentified Aerial—Anomalous Phenomenon. Plasmas are not biological but may represent a form of pre-life that via the incorporation of elements common in space, could result in the synthesis of RNA. Plasmas constitute a fourth state of matter, are attracted to electromagnetic activity, and when observed in the lower atmosphere likely account for many of the UFO-UAP sightings over the centuries.
 
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6. All Other Explanations Ruled Out: Not Wreckage, Not Debris, Not Ice

It is highly improbable that these entities are kilometer-in-diameter blocks of ice or “space junk”. Not only do they lack solidity or rigidity, but they pulsate with light, slow down, stop, hover in place, turn and follow one another, and may target and make contact with each other, sometimes leaving a trail of particles several kilometers in length in their wake. Moreover, they were viewed by astronauts in the 1960s—before space was littered with wreckage and none of which were described as resembling “ice”.


Nor did the shuttle crew identify these plasmas as space junk or ice. They also rejected and disputed NASA’s suggestions that these were “reflections”, a “rocket booster” or the “Mir” space station. One crew member referred to them as a “UFO”. Another pointed out that several of these specimens had approached the windows, were circling the shuttle, and moving from window to window!

Observational and computerized analysis documents that these specimens displayed behaviors and morphologies completely atypical of space junk, meteors, or crystals of ice; and were certainly not illusions created by sunlight and the camera. Instead, their actions and morphology were typical of plasmas. Dusty plasmas, for example, also oscillate (“heartbeat instability”), producing a glow and bright flashes—such that the plasma pulsates with light—exactly as observed in the thermosphere.


This all seems to be a repeat of a popular UFO trope.The examples they give look like ice crystals (very close to the shuttle/ISS/etc.) But they simply assert that they are not. Their paper is just repeating old claims while doing no actual analysis.
 
SCIRP is a well-known predatory publisher of pseudoscience and nonsense articles:



In 2021 Cabells' Predatory Reports described SCIRP as a "well-known predatory publisher".[2] In the Norwegian Scientific Index the publisher and all of its journals have a rating of 0 (non-academic).[18] An academic study published in 2022 stated that SCIRP was "widely known to host 'fake journals'".[3]



First author Rhrawn Gabriel Joseph is a ufologist who is so far out there that "crank" hardly makes him justice. Just look at the beginning of his article on rationalwiki:


Rhawn Gabriel Joseph[3] is an American author, internet kook, ufologist and promoter of pseudoscience known for his controversial views on the origin of life on Earth and the origin of the Universe.[4][5] He has filed numerous lawsuits against NASA, Amazon.com, academic publisher Springer and the City of San Jose which have been dismissed.

Joseph is involved with the pseudojournal Journal of Cosmology and is the author of Astrobiology: The Origins of Life and the Death of Darwinism, published in 2001. In the book he writes that "Contrary to Darwinism … the evidence now clearly indicates, that the evolution of life had been genetically predetermined and precoded…" The book appears to be self-published under the deceptive "Publisher: University Pr" -- not Press, but Pr, and, oh, which university -- which does not appear to have published any other books.[6]

The Encyclopedia of American Loons describes Joseph as a pseudoscientist and "serious crackpot with a vanity journal".[5] He is an advocate of quantum woo and has argued that plants have consciousness.[2] Plants do not have a nervous system so it is impossible they possess consciousness.


Del Gaudio works as a researcher at the department of Biology at the University of Naples, but doesn't seem to have published anything in a peer-reviewed journal since 2015 and has collaborated with Joseph before (and is otherwise seemingly promoting her own pseudoscience on panspermia and related matters) so that she would sign this is no surprise. Impey works in astronomy at the university of Arizona, which makes it a little strange that he would agree to publish something like this, in a predatory journal no less. Planchon works in climatology and geobiology and seems to have written a few pop science articles about climate in distaster movies. Abu Safa works for the rather small Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron and has hardly published anything at all throughout his career, which makes his inclusion truly strange, especially since one would think that he has other things on his mind right now with both settler and Israeli state violence on the rise in the West Bank and, well, everything in Gaza.

Sumanarathna seems to have his own weird "astrobiology" "university" going and for some reason this article seems to be claiming it has relocated from his native Sri Lanka to Morocco, though there is absolutely no trace of this outside of the article itself. Ansbro is a ufologist crank who has claimed that the Earth is under extraterrestial surviellance for decades (see this article in Irish Sunday World for more info). Duvall is a former professor at OSU who for some reason isn't listed as an emeritus at his previous department (I personally suspect the reason is that he publishes crank papers on life on Mars). Biancardi is another emeritus (from the University of Siena) with claims of proof of life on Mars and has previously written several articles together with Joseph on extraterrestial life. Gibson is an astrononomer (and yet another emeritus) who has "published" in Joseph's "Journal of Cosmology". An example of the quality of his work and the over-all quality of that publication can be seen in the article published here where Gibson responds to a post on Phil Plait's "Bad Astronomy" blog by apparently print-screening the blog post and adding his own angry comments in ms paint. Finally, Schild is yet another pensioner from this group of people who publishes unsubstantiated claims of traces of life on Mars in the Journal of Cosmology and other places.

So in conclusion, it is, as Mick said, an article with no new claims, published in a predatory BS journal by a group of long-time astrobiology/ufology cranks together with some who seemingly are taking their first steps into that world of pseudoscience.
 
What is going on here then? Is it just complete farce masquerading as Science?

Abstract

Plasmas” up to a kilometer in size and behaving similarly to multicellular organisms have been filmed on 10 separate NASA space shuttle missions, over 200 miles above Earth within the thermosphere. These self-illuminated “plasmas” are attracted to and may “feed on” electromagnetic radiation. They have different morphologies: 1) cone, 2) cloud, 3) donut, 4) spherical-cylindrical; and have been filmed flying towards and descending from the thermosphere into thunderstorms; congregating by the hundreds and interacting with satellites generating electromagnetic activity; approaching the Space Shuttles. Computerized analysis of flight path trajectories documents these plasmas travel at different velocities from different directions and change their angle of trajectory making 45°, 90°, and 180° shifts and follow each other. They’ve been filmed accelerating, slowing down, stopping, congregating, engaging in “hunter-predatory” behavior and intersecting plasmas leaving a plasma dust trail in their wake. Similar life-like behaviors have been demonstrated by plasmas created experimentally. “Plasmas” may have been photographed in the 1940s by WWII pilots (identified as “Foo fighters”); repeatedly observed and filmed by astronauts and military pilots and classified as Unidentified Aerial—Anomalous Phenomenon. Plasmas are not biological but may represent a form of pre-life that via the incorporation of elements common in space, could result in the synthesis of RNA. Plasmas constitute a fourth state of matter, are attracted to electromagnetic activity, and when observed in the lower atmosphere likely account for many of the UFO-UAP sightings over the centuries.
One interesting point -- the lead author is listed only as "R. Joseph" of the "Astrobiology Research Center, California, USA" and the only Astrobiology Research Center that comes up Google searches is the Astrobiology Research Center at PennState, which is famously not in California. It also has no one named "Joseph" on staff or associated with it. That makes it hard to judge his or her expertise in the topic.

This paper is also written in the form of a review paper, rather than an analysis of the author's own new research. Review papers are normally written by recognized experts in a field who assess all the latest research on a topic and summarize and advance the current understanding of whatever the topic is. You would expect a significant work in this field to be published in a journal dedicated to the topic, like Astrobiology, not the Journal of Modern Physics.

Searching for "R. Joseph" and "Astrobiology Research Center" brings up papers by R. Gabriel Joseph, or Rhawn Gabriel Joseph, author of papers such as "Mars: Humanoids, Bodies, Bones, Skulls, UFOs, UAPs, Spacecraft Wreckage?" and "Anomalous Rows of Evenly Spaced Spikes Protruding from Gale Crater Sediments: Biological, Space-Craft Debris, or Sand Spikes? A Quantitative Analysis," which don't seem to be in high-impact publications. They also, like this paper, tend to dismiss alternate explanations for things as being statistically unlikely for some reason.

On the other hand, one of the listed contributors on this and other R. Joseph papers, Carl H. Gibson, is a professor of engineering physics (emeritus) from UC San Diego who I'm passingly familiar with, and his expertise is in turbulence and turbulent mixing. So I'm not sure why he's lending his name to work so far outside his field or recent research.
 
Plasmas are not biological but may represent a form of pre-life that via the incorporation of elements common in space, could result in the synthesis of RNA.

-OP Habib quoting the article
"Extraterrestrial Life in the Thermosphere: Plasmas, UAP, Pre-Life, Fourth State of Matter",
R. Joseph, C. Impey, O. Planchon, R. del Gaudio, M. Abu Safa, A. R. Sumanarathna, E. Ansbro, D. Duvall, G. Bianciardi, C. H. Gibson, R. Schild,
Journal of Modern Physics 15 (3), February 2024, PDF attached below.

Conditions within a plasma are not conducive to the synthesis of RNA, or any other large, complex molecules.
We shouldn't be confused by the Miller-Urey experiment of 1953, in which (IIRC) arced electricity- in effect electrical energy delivered via a transient plasma- provided some of the necessary energy to produce amino acids out of simpler chemicals. The amino acids didn't arise in a plasma.
-Some discussion of the Miller-Urey experiment here,
"Primordial Soup's On: Scientists Repeat Evolution's Most Famous Experiment", Douglas Fox, Scientific American 28 March 2007, https://www.scientificamerican.com/...up-urey-miller-evolution-experiment-repeated/

Wikipedia articles "Plasma (physics)" and "Dusty plasma",
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_(physics), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dusty_plasma

Even in the context of Joseph et al.'s article, and even if we accepted the premise that plasmas are an environment in which RNA could happily arise, it is hard to see where Joseph et al. are going with this.
Are the behaviourally complex (almost certainly non-existent) plasmas described as "Pre-Life" because they contain RNA?
Is it being suggested that RNA plays a role in the reproduction of plasmas? Or plasma's "behavioural characteristics"?

Presumably we could send up a Project Scoop* and recover some of this extraterrestrial RNA at relatively low cost.

The first line of the article says
External Quote:
Plasmas” up to a kilometer in size and behaving similarly to multicellular organisms have been filmed on 10 separate NASA space shuttle missions...
-Joseph et al. 2024, my emphasis.

External Quote:
Plasmas are believed to constitute a fourth state of matter [2] [6] [7] and may represent a form of pre-life or inorganic non-biological life
Lightning, the illuminated picture elements of plasma TVs, the solar wind and the vast bulk of the sun / other stars are not a form of "pre-life or inorganic non-biological life" in any sensible use of those terms.

There is a substantial difference between "pre-life", single-celled organisms and multicellular organisms.
The authors do not scientifically discuss what characteristics unique to multicellular organisms are demonstrated by plasmas (some unicellular organisms, e.g. amoebae, show predatory behaviour), or provide testable evidence, even though this is an extraordinary claim.
Plasmas can move, and can change speed and/or direction rapidly, and can converge/ merge. But we know all that.
It's due to physics. It's nothing to do with plasma being alive, or pre-life; it isn't.

And why is the word "plasmas" in quotes? Plasmas are much-studied (and widely used in technology); the word "plasma" has been used in physics for about a century and is universally understood.

The article makes extraordinary claims on the basis of arguably misinterpreted and misunderstood evidence.

Being cited as an author for a paper/ article of scientific comment implies, by convention, that that person agrees with the content of that paper/ article. It would be sort of interesting to know the current status of Joseph's six co-authors considering they appear to agree with the content of this article. (Not interesting enough that I'm going to check them out!)

It's perhaps not unfair to describe the Joseph et al. 2024 article as pseudoscience in a format resembling a scientific paper.
It's not a scientific article which might widen our understanding of, well, anything really.


*Project Scoop= fictitious US satellite program to harvest upper-atmosphere microorganisms for bioweapons research, in Michael Crichton's 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain (and the quite good 1971 film of the same name).
 

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Lightning, the illuminated picture elements of plasma TVs, the solar wind and the vast bulk of the sun / other stars are not a form of "pre-life or inorganic non-biological life" in any sensible use of those terms.
Isn't the excited neon in a neon sign also plasma? I don;t think many people would agree that we're creating life (or even "pre-life") every time we switch on a "No Vacancy" sign.
 
One interesting point -- the lead author is listed only as "R. Joseph" of the "Astrobiology Research Center, California, USA" and the only Astrobiology Research Center that comes up Google searches is the Astrobiology Research Center at PennState, which is famously not in California. It also has no one named "Joseph" on staff or associated with it. That makes it hard to judge his or her expertise in the topic.
I'd say it makes it easy, not hard.

Actual experts don't have to make up their own credentials.
 
I'd say it makes it easy, not hard.

Actual experts don't have to make up their own credentials.

And I wonder if any of the quotes about his books and publications are made up too.

Anyone willing to bet against these examples?
External Quote:
Dr. Joseph's Books Have Received Rave Reviews

"One of the most astonishing books of our time." -Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society

"First rate... Among the best... Deserving of a place on the shelf of any neuropsychologist, neuropsychiatrist, or behavioral neurologist." -the journal of Neuropsychiatry.
-- http://brainmind.com/publications.html
Note also how proud his publisher (i.e. himself) is about such quotes, they're also found on the "Editorial Reviews / From the Publisher" section of his books' pages, e.g.
https://www.amazon.com/Astrobiology-Origin-Life-Death-Darwinism/dp/0970073380

My scant evidence for the hypothesis "he pulled them out of his arse" is that searching the internet for the first one yields 5 hits - 3 from his own webpages, and 2 from his books' listings on Amazon. Awww, to heck with it - I just emailed the editor. Place your bets...
 
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