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No. 48: Nov-Dec 1986

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The mars-antarctica connection

"A study of ice-covered lakes in Antarctica has provided scientists with clues as to what conditions were like on Mars billions of years ago. Sufficient heat and gas would have been trapped beneath the Martian surface to have generated living organisms, such and algae, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. [What a leap of faith!] But life would have died out as the planet cooled and much of its atmosphere was dissipated. 'It is highly unlikely life could exist on Mars today,' [C.] McKay said.
"However some scientists have not dismissed the possibility that primitive life may still exist on Mars. 'The chances are remote but life may be located in slushy brines well below the surface, or even inside Martian rocks,' said Howard Klein, who headed the biological experiments on board Viking. Living microorganisms have been found just below the surface of rocks in Antarctica, Klein said."

(Anonymous; Antarctica Hints at Why There May Be Fossils on Mars," New Scientist, p. 20, September 4, 1986.)

Comment. It is curious that some of the meteorites picked up in Antarctica are thought to have originated on Mars and been blasted off by meteoric impacts. This observation leads to the speculation that terrestrial life might have been seeded from Mars -- meteoric panspermia! Are we all Martians? If you have hung on this far, you'll want to read about "Life as a Cosmic Phenomenon" just below. Also refer to our catalog: The Sun and Solar System Debris for material on the putative Martian meteorites.

From Science Frontiers #48, NOV-DEC 1986. 1986-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987