Statement from Daniel S. Goldin, NASA Administrator
August 6, 1996
"NASA has made a startling discovery that points to the
possibility that a primitive form of microscopic life may
have existed on Mars more than three billion years ago. The
research is based on a sophisticated examination of an ancient
Martian meteorite that landed on Earth some 13,000 years ago.
The evidence is exciting, even compelling, but not
conclusive. It is a discovery that demands further
scientific investigation. NASA is ready to assist the
process of rigorous scientific investigation and lively
scientific debate that will follow this discovery.
I want everyone to understand that we are not talking
about 'little green men.' These are extremely small, single-
cell structures that somewhat resemble bacteria on Earth.
There is no evidence or suggestion that any higher life form
ever existed on Mars.
The NASA scientists and researchers who made this
discovery will be available at a news conference tomorrow to
discuss their findings. They will outline the step-by-step
'detective story' that explains how the meteorite arrived
here from Mars, and how they set about looking for evidence
of long-ago life in this ancient rock. They will also
release some fascinating images documenting their research."