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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