The hopes and dreams of comic-book aficionados everywhere were crushed by a recent paper documenting an investigative study on a meteorite that landed in California three years ago. Scientist were hoping to find signs of prebiotic organisms in the meteorite, but found that, rather than inadvertently releasing an alien virus that triggers mutant superpowers in all those it infects, we were the ones infecting the meteorite.
It turns out that “meteorites can be contaminated by Earth-based organics very quickly”, with bacteria and other microscopic organisms taking no time in overwhelming the native extraterrestrial organics by sheer numbers. This confirms what astrobiologists have always feared: there is no conceivable way for scientists to gain space-based superpowers.
“The whole reason I became a scientist was so I could get my hands on a radioactive meteorite and develop superpowers due to an inexplicable flaw in the lead shielding that lets the thing bathe me in its mysterious cosmic rays,” says one disgruntled physicist. “And now it turns out the shielding was there to protect the meteorite from exposure to me?”
“Yeah, the whole thing was a real bummer,” says Scott Sandford, co-author of the original paper, in regards to his team’s discovery. “I was a perfect candidate to gain accidental superpowers. I even had the alliterative name and everything.”
This finding overturns everything previously believed by fiction-based science, such as the healing powers of CPR and what is known in the scientific community as the Johnny 5 effect, whereby lightning causes machinery to spontaneously gain sentience. In particular, superhero origin stories have suddenly come under new scrutiny. The findings by Sandford et. al have led many in the scientific community to conclude that the Green Lantern’s power ring really came from a cereal box, that Peter Parker was most likely left unaltered by his radioactive spider bite while the spider gained all the proportionate strength of a human, and that Superman was probably just some neighboring farm baby who wandered into the Kryptonian rocket when the Kents weren’t looking.
Despite the setbacks caused by his paper, Sandford remains optimistic that studies of this kind will be a fruitful area of research in the detection of possible origin stories. Sandford finishes by saying that in studying artifacts from outer space, scientists “must always be vigilantes–vigilant. That’s what I meant to say. Vigilant. But also fight crime in your spare time.”