Tuesday, 6 August 2019


Coincidentally sharing the anniversary of the 2012 landing of the Curiosity rover at the Bradbury Landing Site in the Gale crater where the object is believed to have originated, on this day in 1996, NASA issued a press release endorsing the claims of a group of researchers that claimed to have found biogenic markers on a Martian meteorite recovered in the Allan Hills region of Antartica back during a 1984 expedition.  The classification of rocky compositions, shergottite, nahklite and chassignite, all sound vaguely Lovecraftian, the Ancient Ones buried at the South Pole.  Though the claim was sensational and controversial from the beginning, inconclusive with all the unusual microscopic features and traces eventually explained without having to invoke biological causes—further promping the scientific community to require claims of such magnitude to rely on than morphological evidence (eidonomy, external anatomy, being rather famously subject to pareidolia), the research and the media attention opened a dialogue and re-engaged the public imagination at a time before we knew of the proliferation of exoplanets and helped us develop the academic discipline to frame our aspirations for more exploration.