Saturday, 13 April 2013

Martian Organisms

In James Blish's Welcome To Mars (London, 1978),

(i) lichen:

grows in limonite sands in the Martian craters;
cracks molecules of oxygen and water from the sands;
is spread by the wind like tumble weed;
feeds (ii) nematode- or worm-like organisms.

(iii) Black arthropods or mites eat the nematodes.

(iv) A hard-shelled burrowing invertebrate eats mites and nematodes and drinks from lichen.

(v) A large, intelligent, cat- or kangaroo-like organism whose forelegs have hands with opposible thumb eats invertebrates and browses on tumble-lichen. Another lichen on the dune-cat's hide "...drew nourishment from the cat's bloodstream, but it returned oxygen." (p. 132)

(vi)The floor of the crater Lacus Solis is ice that focuses sunlight into a cavern beneath it containing a dead crystalline city. In the city, an amphitheatre reflecting the light back at the sky contains a fourteen foot high, fluid-filled box on a stone dais. On a throne in the box sits a tall serpentine figure with several arms near the head. This last member of the dominant Martian race knows all Terrestrial languages from radio broadcasts.

This was all highly implausible even at the time of writing.

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