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Statement from Dan Goldin

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Laurie Boeder
Headquarters, Washington, DC        August 6, 1996
(Phone:  202/358-1898)

RELEASE:  96-159

STATEMENT FROM DANIEL S. GOLDIN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR

"NASA has made a startling discovery that points to the possibility that a primitive form of microscopic life may have existed on Mars more than three billion years ago. The research is based on a sophisticated examination of an ancient Martian meteorite that landed on Earth some 13,000 years ago.

The evidence is exciting, even compelling, but not conclusive. It is a discovery that demands further scientific investigation. NASA is ready to assist the process of rigorous scientific investigation and lively scientific debate that will follow this discovery.

I want everyone to understand that we are not talking about 'little green men.' These are extremely small, single- cell structures that somewhat resemble bacteria on Earth. There is no evidence or suggestion that any higher life form ever existed on Mars.

The NASA scientists and researchers who made this discovery will be available at a news conference tomorrow to discuss their findings. They will outline the step-by-step "detective story" that explains how the meteorite arrived here from Mars, and how they set about looking for evidence of long-ago life in this ancient rock. They will also release some fascinating images documenting their research.

Return to the Mars Meteorite Home Page

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