A scientist who claimed to have found microscopic life on meteorites has been awarded one of the highest honours anyone can receive... for false science.
Richard Hoover, a Nasa astrobiologist, has been awarded the Flying Pig Award - an accolade that is handed out every April Fool's Day.
The founder of the award, James Randi, set it up to give to 'the most deserving charlatans, swindlers, psychics, pseudo-scientists and faith healers’.
Dr Hoover has claimed three times in the last 14 years that he has found evidence of life in meteorites.
He said he believed his discovery would answer the question to how life on Earth started and called on scientists to prove him wrong.
Although nobody has come forward to question Dr Hoover's accuracy, Mr Randi says that there is no scientific evidence to back up Dr Hoover's claims.
His work, Dr Hoover said, came after ten years of studying tiny bacteria that fell in remote areas across the globe.
Speaking about being one of the five people to receive this year's award, he said : 'I've never heard of them (the awards), but they might be able to make more intelligent claims if they actually read the paper.
'There are a number of papers in peer-reviewed literature detailing this research,' he told AOL News. 'There's nothing that hasn't already been reported by independent research.
'I stand by what I said, but I don't want to get into mud slinging. I showed images of micro-fossils in meteorites that experts in the field recognise as the fossilised remains of prokaryotic micro-organisms.'
He suggested that meteors spread organisms around the universe and that life on earth could have been 'planted' by bacteria in an asteroid hitting the planet in its infancy.
In one case Dr Hoover said found on a meteorite an organism similar in size and overall structure to the giant bacterium Titanospirillum velox, an organism found on hearth.
He suggested this proved life is more widespread than first thought.
The Randi Foundation gives out five awards a years and in the past has offered $1million to anyone that can prove psychic ability under lab conditions.
Dr Hoover is joined this year by four other people to receive Flying Pig Awards.
The other recipients are a Harvard-educated doctor who heavily promotes faith healing and Reiki on his TV programme and who claims he can talk to dead people.
The "Funder Pigasus Award" went to CVS pharmacy for selling homeopathic medication.
The "Performer Pigasus Award" went to Peter Popoff who made £23.5 million by offering 'supernatural debt relief'. In 1987 Popoff went bankrupt after he was exposed for using an earpiece to receive information about audience members... Randi exposed him.
And the "Refusal to Face Reality" award went to Andrew Wakefield who falsely linked the MMR jab with autism.


Dr Richard Hoover: For claims he's found life on meteorites
Dr Mehmet Oz: Promoting faith healing and claiming he can talk to dead people
CVS/Pharmacy: Selling homeopathic medicine despite clinical trials saying it doesn't work
Peter Popoff: for making £23.5million by offering 'supernatural debt relief'
Andrew Wakefield: For linking the MMR job with autism

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