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No. 68: Mar-Apr 1990

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New Life For Martian Life

After the negative (some say "ambiguous") results from the Viking spacecraft life-detection experiments in 1976, astronomers and biologists have proclaimed that Mars is sterile. This pronouncement may have been premature.

A meteorite discovered in Antarctica in 1979 may change a few minds on this matter. This particular meteorite is one of the handful thought to have been blasted off into space by an oblique impact of an asteroid on the surface of Mars. Somehow, statistics were kind to these tiny Martian orphans, for they found their ways to the Antarctic snows. But what is really exciting is the recent discovery that chemical analysis of one of these purported Martian meteorites revealed a high concentration of organic material deep within. The implication is that Martian life existed, perhaps still does exist, beneath the Martian surface, where the Viking Lander's scoop could not get at it.

(Anonymous; "Life under Mars?" Sky and Telescope, 78:461, 1989.)

Comment. In other words, Mars like the earth, may harbor an unappreciated fauna in crevicular structure beneath the environmentally rigorous surface. See also: SF#67.

From Science Frontiers #68, MAR-APR 1990. 1990-2000 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