Cold fusion is impossible, so why do serious scientists continue to study it? There are the typical psych answers, but they don't cut it. Clearly there is a real reaction these scientists are studying. Just as clearly, it's not nuclear. The problem is how to explain this to the public. If they tell the truth, that it's real but it's not fusion, almost nobody will believe them. It'd sound like a typical coverup line.
I looked at the LENR website, and it's hard to believe physics researchers can be that crazy. And I don't believe it -- The craziness is just an act. Since everyone would call them crazy anyway, they might as well be crazy with style.
Now that NASA has endorsed cold fusion, the question is imminent what they're actually selling us. Perhaps it's something you might never have expected ... air filtration.
The more precisely the experiments are done, the fewer results they show. To many that's a sign that the results are spurious. But there's another explanation -- Something about the lack of precision is causing the anomalous heat, specifically a failure to isolate the experiment from the air. So the way to reproduce the heat result is to leave the experiment open to the air, the dustier the better. However, this is so unlike any reasonable definition of an experimental setup that they don't even bother trying to explain. It's easier to pretend not to know any better.
The clue was probably helium. Originally, it was thought the helium came from fusion of hydrogen. However, there's something else important about helium; it's chemically inert.
Atoms and molecules from the air get trapped between the fibers of the terminals. Some of them combine chemically (ONLY chemically) to fit into the small spaces, and this releases heat. As the accretion builds up, atoms that can't combine, such as helium, get pushed to the surface and drift into the water.
The reason NASA is interested in this has nothing to do with "cheap energy" -- that's just a story to soothe the public. The real goal is to get the accretion to accumulate steadily by attracting impurities out of the air. Besides the obvious health improvement, it will be a cheap and efficient way to keep their lab rooms tidy for whatever it is they tinker with in there.