The latest ‘methane on mars discovery’ has caught everyone’s eyes. For making it more of a ‘hot topic’, people are questioning it on the fact’s legitimacy. Similar question arose on Quora – an online public platform for exchanging knowledge and information, “Is the recent discovery of methane on mars being oversold to the public as a discovery of life to encourage more funding for future projects?”
Nicole Gravagna, a leading Scientist, Author, and Entrepreneur, answered for the same on Quora. Recalling her days when she was a scientist, she told about how it was running joke with her colleagues “Hey, guys! They found water on Mars!” On which her co-scientists used to pretentiously react “Whoa! Really? No way!” Smirking at the irony, she wrote on how already there were jokes on the other scientists of discovering water on Mars about 17 times in 6 years.
She described how true facts are misconceived to the public through media and real scientific discovery happens very rarely. Elaborating about the process of how a new fact-finding by a scientist is truly a ‘discovery’, she wrote that whenever a scientist evolves something new, it is considered as a discovery only when verified and allowed by a forum of other peer scientists, called as a peer review.
Typically, a set of scientists form this forum where they give their view and write the results on the particular discovery. These writings, called as draft paper, are then handed over to other scientists, which may sometimes be friends and sometimes strangers. These draft papers are then scrutinized and obviously criticized to the core by the other scientists, it is the ‘right thing to do’ in this scenario, according to Nicole.
It is not immediately that the news gets shifts to the public, there are other various steps through which a scientific ‘discovery’ have to undergo. It may also happen that the particular discovery revolves in the scientific world and does not gets disclosed in the public, it even takes two to three years for the same.
Nicole, giving a rational view of media, penned on how broadcasting the scientific discoveries daily is boring for the regular media and all they want is to show the catchy content. This is the reason on how the discovery of methane on Mars is been interrogated, she wrote.
Concluding to it, she marked “So yes, all science is oversold to the public because the public wouldn’t give a care about it if it wasn’t oversold. The public cares about so what. The public cares about why. Science is simply the what and how. To get to why and so what, you have to add some showmanship and that part comes from journalists like me.”