In the first half, George Knapp was joined by Richard B. Hoover, who established the Astrobiology Research Group at the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center in 1997. He presented compelling evidence for life outside of Earth in the form of microfossils contained within ancient terrestrial rocks and meteorites. Hoover recalled the 1996 announcement by NASA scientist David S. McKay that a primitive form of microscopic life may have existed on Mars. "I was of the opinion that everyone knew that extraterrestrial life existed in the form of microfossils in meteorites," he said.
Hoover explained how he became convinced after reviewing research conducted in 1962 on microfossils found in carbonaceous meteorites. His own research group found similar evidence of biomarkers in astro material. According to Hoover, his team saw a small mushroom-shaped structure at 50,000x magnification embedded within a chunk of the Murchison meteorite. Unfortunately, the electron beam of the microscope vaporized it, he lamented. Hoover revealed that he found and photographed curious filament structures in the same sample that he identified as cyanobacterial remains. Scientists in Russia found similar microfossils, he added. Hoover also claimed that NASA has largely ignored evidence of microscopic organisms in meteorites as well as destroyed what could have been fossil proof of life on Mars.
Next, Beatles biographer Bob Spitz shared personal stories about the Fab Four and discussed their enduring impact on American culture. "They gathered all the threads of that nascent American rock and roll thing... and they synthesized it into a kind of unique sound with catchy melodies, clever lyrics, seamless three-part harmony, nimble instrumentation and dynamic chords that remade this tired form," Spitz said. Even their hairstyles and fashion (and drug experimentation) influenced a generation, he added.
Spitz described them as ruthless, hardscrabble, working-class kids who learned their craft through endless gigging in Hamburg, Germany. They came back to Liverpool with gonorrhea, he noted. Shortly before recording their debut single, the group fired drummer Pete Best and replaced him with Ringo Starr, Spitz continued. He portrayed John Lennon as a man with a tragic childhood who could turn rather nasty and mean. Paul McCartney had an enormous ego and continually schemed for a bigger share of the spotlight, he revealed. Spitz blamed the band's breakup on McCartney. "Nobody wanted to be in the same room with Paul anymore—they had just tired of him," he said.
George Knapp shares some news items that have recently caught his attention, including articles on two new planetary systems discovered by the Lick Observatory's Automated Planet Finder, photographic evidence of animal mistreatment behind the scenes at Animal Planet, and former Beatle John Lennon's 1974 UFO sighting in New York City: