GROWING OLD UNGRACEFULLY: Invaders From Mars | Misplaced Coast Outpost

might extra simply imagine that two Yankee professors would lie than
that stones would fall from heaven.”

— Thomas Jefferson, 1807


recognized for hyperbole, the journal Skeptical Inquirer had a
headline just a few years again, “Earthling Slain by Invader from Mars”
which sounds extra like a Nationwide Enquirer lurid web page one
teaser. (“GRIFTERS HARRY & MEGHAN FIRED!” we be taught from a
latest subject.) Skeptical Inquirer, in distinction, sometimes
takes the wilder headlines present in different periodicals and scrutinizes
them from a scientific standpoint. Thus, tales about UFOs, crop
circles, alien abductions and ghosts are normally proven to have slightly
prosaic explanations on nearer examination. (Mr. And Mrs. Spare might
be past their purview.)

what’s with the Martian invader headline? Seems the Earthling
was a canine and the invader was a meteorite. That’s the story, at
least. First off, and regardless of Jefferson’s incredulity, meteorites
are certainly stones that fall from the sky. They usually do typically hit
folks, as Mrs. Hewlett Hodges, of Sylacauga, Alabama, can testify.
She sustained hip and belly accidents from a meteorite that
crashed via the roof of her home in 1954.

what in regards to the “from Mars” a part of the headline? Meteorites don’t
come from Mars, do they? Most don’t, true. However a robust case could be
made that just a few do. Of all of the 75,000-odd meteorites which were
collected and analyzed, almost 300 are fairly totally different from the remainder.
They’re generally known as the SNC group, “snicks” to their buddies,
after the locations the place they had been initially discovered: Shergotty in
India, Nakhla in Egypt and Chassigny in France. Snicks are totally different
from all different meteorites in that they seem to have crystallized
lower than a billion years in the past, that’s, three billion years after the
asteroids had cooled. (Nearly all “common” meteorites
originate in asteroids.) Additionally, snicks are odd as a result of they seem to
have shaped in a robust gravitational subject. The place do you discover such a
subject? Most certainly, on the floor of a planet or moon. However which

composition of the snicks eliminates Earth and our moon as potential
sources. Venus is dominated out as a result of its thick ambiance precludes
any credible mechanism for ejecting planetary materials into orbit,
leaving Mars because the prime suspect. And no less than one of many recognized
snicks has been discovered to include tiny inclusions of gasoline related the
Martian ambiance. Lastly, they’ve isotope ratios in step with
rocks discovered on Mars by Curiosity and the opposite Mars rovers.

The well-known/infamous Martian SNC meteorite, ALH84001 (for Allan Hills in Antarctica, present in 1984), now on show within the Smithsonian. In 1996, claims that it proved there was as soon as life on Mars had been instantly countered by extra sober scientists who confirmed that the bizarre options may very well be defined with out invoking precise life. Picture: Jstuby at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, through Wikimedia Commons

Electron microscope picture of the inside of ALH84001. Though these constructions might appear like fossilized life kinds, they will (sadly) be defined away extra prosaically. (NASA)

the idea is that an historic meteorite affect on Mars jetted floor
materials into area the place it slowly spiraled sunward. Hundreds of thousands of
years later, one chunk of what had been Mars fell to Earth on June
28, 1911 close to Alexandria, Egypt. The oft-repeated declare is {that a}
fragment of the “Nakhla” meteorite hit a canine, immediately
vaporizing the creature. Though a farmer claimed to have seen this,
there have been no different witnesses and nothing remained of the canine
so…Skeptical Inquirer or Nationwide Enquirer materials?
Your guess is nearly as good as mine.

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