ROCK STAR: The now-famous 4.5 billion-year-old hunk of meteorite that may have once contained microscopic Martian life.
Last month's historic announcement that a Martian meteorite found on Earth may contain vestiges of ancient microbes (D.S. McKay et al., 273:924-30, Science, 1996) has spawned all manner of comment. The American Physical Society's Robert Park opined in the August 9 issue of his online newsletter, "What's New," that the discovery may save United States taxpayers billions of dollars. An emphasis on robotic exploration, Park suggested, might "eliminate the rationale for building a [$90 billion] space station." In keeping with the pop-culture iconography that the red planet inspires, 1960s TV star Ray Walston-also known as "My Favorite Martian"-played along in a tongue-in-cheek radio interview a few hours after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's August 7 press conference. Walston told Bob Madigan, afternoon coanchor at WTOP-AM, a Washington, D.C., news station,...

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