Thursday, February 24, 2005

New organism raises Mars questions

"When he looked at a small sample of this bacteria-laden ice under a microscope, Hoover said, 'These bacteria that had just thawed out of the ice . . . were swimming around. The instant the ice melted, they started swimming. They were alive . . . but they had been frozen for over 30,000 years.'

"This discovery, coupled with research released this week by the European Space Agency, makes it more likely that life could be found on Mars, Hoover said." (Via Weird Events.)

I like the idea that Mars' biosphere is in temporary cold-storage. An attempt to terraform the Red Planet might unleash all sorts of exotic alien life as ancient spores thaw and resume their life-cycle. As a matter of fact, I read a juvenile science fiction novel in elementary school with a similar premise -- but what I remember most was the fictional astronauts using helicopters to navigate the Martian globe . . .