archiv~1.txt: From BBC - SETI League, oldest fossils, Mars Express

From BBC - SETI League, oldest fossils, Mars Express

Larry Klaes ( )
Tue, 30 Mar 1999 12:57:40 -0500

What is it? Is it a radio signal that has been travelling
through space at the speed of light for years? Has it
been beamed towards Earth to make first contact with

This radio signal has been shifted in
frequency to bring it into the audio

It was detected by an amateur space watcher using a
small radio dish and PC-based equipment to analyse the

The amateur is a member of the SetiLeague, a
world-wide grouping of over a thousand alien hunters that
operates a network of radio telescopes.

All day, every day, they are searching.

The oldest and tiniest fossils yet identified will be
unveiled at a meeting in Strasbourg next week.

The bacterial creatures, which resemble "pond slime",
were found in North West Australia and are estimated to
be approximately three-and-a-half billion years old.

Bacteria and algae like them are believed to have filled
the primitive, super-heated oceans of the world during
the earliest stages of life on this planet.

Anglo-French company Matra Marconi Space (MMS)
has signed a 60m euros (40m) contract with the
European Space Agency (Esa) to send a probe to Mars.

It will be Europe's first expedition to
the Red Planet. MMS will lead a team
of 24 companies in 14 different
countries on the project.

Using much of the hardware that was developed for the
Mars 96 mission that failed to reach Earth orbit, the
Mars Express spacecraft will be equipped with seven
scientific instruments.

It will analyse ultraviolet and infrared light to search for
water on Mars. It is possible it may exist in buried
glaciers or hidden underground rivers. If this is true, it
raises the prospect of some kind of primitive life existing
on the planet.

A stereoscopic camera, to be built by German
scientists, will take 3D images of Mars. The UK's Open
University is hoping to supply a lander for the mission
called Beagle 2. This will conduct bioliogy and
geochemical tests.