|One of Dr. Romoser's figures.|
On the one hand, I do think stuff like this has the potential to put wind in the sails of crackpot theorists who would love to distract us from...y'know, true stuff. (There's definitely been some concern over the implications of such claims for the future of our search for extraterrestrial life.)
On the other hand, though, it's 2019, and we have a scientist talking about stuff that's pretty much straight out of old school planetary romance tales, and that's kind of awesome. It's awesome because ideas like this gave us the character of John Carter and all of the fiction he would go on to inspire. It's also awesome because I think we need a world where established scientists are willing to bring up ideas that will be widely viewed as nonsense. Every once in a while, such a wild idea will help us see an old problem in a new way.
So...maybe the greatest takeaway from all of this is that once you're a Professor Emeritus, you don't have to give a eff anymore.
(You can search some relevant words and find a number of reports on this around the net, or just click here and see Dr. Romoser's abstract and poster.)