Do you think there might be life on other planets?
Recently, there has been a great deal of interest in the idea that we
might not be alone in the Universe. This isn't really surprising when you consider
all the excitement of the Mars Pathfinder Mission and the fact that some
of the most successful movies in the last year have featured aliens in
lead roles (Contact, Men in Black, Independence
Day). Much of
this renewed interest is also due to last year's discovery of a meteorite from the planet Mars.
Scientists say that 16 million years ago, a giant asteroid crashed into
the planet Mars. The impact
was so great that chunks of rock were thrown from the Martian surface into
outer space. One of these rocks later fell to Earth as a meteorite and was
found last year in Antarctica. Meteorites are simply rocks which fall
to Earth from outer space. As these rocks pass through Earth's
atmosphere, they often catch fire and can be seen at nighttime as
This particular meteorite, named ALH 84001, is special because it
contains structures and compounds that
resemble bacteria we have on Earth. Does this mean there once was (or,
could still be) life on Mars? We don't really know the answer yet, but
you can be sure there are many scientists searching for more clues!
Submitted by Bianca (age 10, Canada)
Submitted by Erica (age 11, Alabama, USA)
Submitted by Little Billy (age 4, Iowa, USA)
Submitted by Amanda (age 11, Pennsylvania, USA)
(September 2, 1997)
Make Your Own Alien!