Thursday, May 28, 2009

Did NASA robots cook life and human scientists drink all the beer on Mars?

David Shiga of NewScientist magazine has written an interesting science article titled “Mars robots may have destroyed evidence of life”, which speculates that NASA’s 1976 Viking landers and 2008 Phoenix lander may have destroyed chemical signs of life on the Red Planet when they heated soil samples in search of organic compounds.

Reminds me of “All the Beer on Mars” (1989), a hard science fiction short story written by astrophysicist and SF author Gregory Benford. The story is about an international team of scientists who hunt for life on Mars. Their findings are encouraging until they stumble across the wreckage of a 1971 Soviet spacecraft and conclude that it contaminated indigenous life on Mars. The title, "All the Beer on Mars", is simply a reference to the scientist’s consumption of small quantities of beer, which they brew to improve the taste of their recycled water. You can read the story in Isaac Asimov’s Mars (1991), an anthology edited by Gardner Dozois.

1 comment:

marie said...


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