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Re: CI: A Martian 'Centipede'? - Stanford

From: Ray Stanford <dinotracker.nul>
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 2004 09:21:31 -0500
Fwd Date: Mon, 08 Mar 2004 19:52:12 -0500
Subject: Re: CI: A Martian 'Centipede'? - Stanford

>From: Mac Tonnies <macbot.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2004 21:13:19 -0800 (PST)
>Subject: CI: A Martian 'Centipede'?

>Cydonian Imperative

>A Martian 'Centipede'?
>by Mac Tonnies


>I'm not a geologist or a biologist. Neither, to my
>knowledge, is Richard Hoagland. But both of us
>unconditionally agree: the segmented object in the
>photo above looks decicedly fossil-like. The problem
>is justifying JPL's subsequent grinding away of the
>anomaly. If Mars once (or still does) host organisms,
>preserving their possible remains for future study
>strikes me as both sensible and reponsinble, even if
>the current generation of rovers is unable to properly
>analyze them.

>How confident are we that similar "finds" (assuming
>the "centipede" is a fossilized lifeform) will
>fortuitously turn up when we eventually -- hopefully
>-- make it to Mars in person? Could we have just
>casually destroyed evidence of something truly

Hi Mac,

After many years of studying fossils and looking over hundreds
of thousands of pieces of sedimentary substrate to determine
whether they contain any fossils or not, and from working
closely with some of the world's most respected paleontologists
(researchers into ancient life forms) and paleoichnologists
(researchers into the ground traces left by ancient life forms),
and with all due respect because I know that to the
inexperienced eye the "centipede" may look like a fossil, I can
tell you that I see nothing in the image that appears to be
either an animal or plant fossil or even a fossilized trace of

At this point I should also add that if it showed me any
possibility of being a fossil, I would be delighted and not
write this. If anyone doubts that, look at what I wrote about
the "concretions" (NASA/JPL's term) probably being evidence of
bacterial life. I am in no way a 'goat' about the possibility of
life (either past or present) on Mars. The trouble is, the
"centipede" image shows merely cracks radial to a vaguely
crescent-shaped cavity. I could offer several hypotheses
accounting for the crack pattern (and the cavity), but none
require any organism to have been involved. Furthermore, there
is absolutely nothing in the image that appears diagnostic of
fossilization of any kind, whatsoever.

Personally, it would greatly surprise me if there are not fairly
abundant fossils on Mars, since there was abundant water even on
the surface at one time, but I recommend great caution in what
we call a fossil, lest we "cry wolf" so much as to be unheeded
when a real "wolf" shows up.

On a related topic: I still have a clipping of an article that
came out the day before those first, very low-resolution images
of Mars were sent back to earth in 1965. Anyhow, it stated that
any images from Mars might be delayed being shown publicly for a
certain period of time, due to possible concerns related to
national security! (Huh?!!!) Because of that, I've always
wondered what JPL-NASA might decide to hide from the public. Is
such a "national security" policy is still in effect?

Would we be told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth? There is cause to wonder. We might justifiably ask what
about Mars could be considered, if released, a risk to national
security, whether in 1965 or in 2004. :)

Ray Stanford

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."
-- Carl Sagan

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