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By Alexander PORTNOV, Dr. Sc. (Geol. & Mineral.), Moscow University of Geological Prospecting Articles in this rubric reflect the opinion of the author. - Ed. Pages. 51 There must have been life on Mars after all. Life destroyed by asteroids (planetoids). The planet's surface was scorched, and its oxygen-rich atmosphere escaped into outer space as plasma fluxes of hot gas. It might be that meteorites composed of Martian rock reached our planet too-the rock found in the ice- bound Antarctic and in Australia. In one such sample American researchers detected trace amounts of bacteria and organic matter rich in the light isotope of carbon, which is characteristic of vital activity processes. The blood-red disk of Mars rising in the night sky in years when the planet approaches closest the earth (opposition) has always been regarded as a bad omen. That is why the Babylonians identified it with Nergal, the god of war, diseases and death. To Hellenes it was the war god Ares, otherwise known as Mars in ancient Rome. Opposition of the two planets, Mars and earth, heralds the cruelest of wars. Like, for instance, the opposition, of 1940 - 1941 during the Second World War, just before Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Mars is often called the Red Planet. But why is it red? Why is this crimson color of blood?.. Strange as it may seem, this likeness is due to one and the same cause, the presence of red iron oxide. It is likewise present in the hemoglobin of blood. The Martian surface is strewn with red ferrous sand. In spite of the highly rarefied atmosphere (in density it corresponds to our atmosphere at an altitude of 30 km), violent sandstorms rage on Mars making its surface features invisible to astronomers now and then. According to data obtained by US probes, the Martian ground and its bedrock abound in deep-seated andesites and basalts with a high concentration of iron monoxide (FeO) in silicate minerals. All this is covered with magmatic rock wastes (detri ... Читать далее

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