Intrigued by the electronic statements, I placed a call to Penn-Oh-West Maps in Pittsburgh to check on the availability of Antarctic projections. ANSMET stands for ANtarctic Search for METeorites, and has been funded since 1977 by the NSF.
The storeowners response was startling: It was found by a team of meteorite hunters from the ANSMET program, which is sponsored by the Polar Programs Office of the U. It is nearly certain that ALH 84001 is from Mars, even though people have never been to Mars and no rocks have ever been collected on Mars.
If a large enough meteorite or asteroid hit Mars, some rocks nearby on Mars surface would be blasted up faster than the escape velocity and could leave Mars completely.
The best estimates are that an asteroid bigger than about 1/2-2 kilometers could launch rocks like ALH 84001 off Mars and into space.
Later, as the saucer was making its final approach into an alien base in Antarctica, the rock came loose and landed in the ice field.
If someone desperately needed a map of the South Pole, it would suffice to resort to a National Geographic map or to the nearest Rand Mc Nally atlas.
To get off Mars, ALH84001 must have left its surface going faster than Mars escape velocity, about 5 kilometers per second (about 11,000 miles per hour).
The only known natural process that can get rocks moving so fast is meteorite impact - volcanoes can not throw rocks fast enough.
The 715.2 gram black rock, officially designated MIL 03346, was one of 1,358 meteorites collected by ANSMET during the 2003-2004 austral summer, said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Scientists at the National Museum of Natural History involved in classification of Antarctic finds said the mineralogy, texture and the oxidized nature of the rock are unmistakably Martian.
During the 70s, Russian scientists had managed to drill to a depth of 3,600 meters, almost reaching the lake, whose existence was still unsuspected.
Ice-core samples proved the existence of methane - the predominant gas in the atmosphere of distant Europa.
The trek results in the discovery of an unknown mountain range that conceals the existence of a nameless, ancient city built by the Old Ones.