Rumors are flying this weekend that Mars Phoenix has made a major discovery relating to the potential for life on Mars. reached Sam Kounaves, the mission's wet chemistry lab lead, by cell phone this morning. He quickly directed us to speak with NASA's PR representatives, but not before he said, simply, "Rumors are rumors." -- Wired News, August 4, 2008

Once Upon a Planet Dreary

This poem was published in Analog, in May 1977, on the occasion of the Viking lander's ambiguous discovery of maybe-life on Mars.

	What's in Store?
	John A. Carroll

	Once upon a planet dreary
	Came a rocket engine cheery
	On a flight to test a theory
	On Mars's frigid desert floor!

	Did life arise spontaneous
	Or some alien's trash extraneous
	Seed the globe that now contains us?
	Quoth the Lander, "Either-or."
The poem was accompanied by a sketch of the Viking lander with a Foglioesque Martian sitting on top leaning over to stare into a camera.

If anyone has more information about the author of this poem, or better a scan of the page, it would be appreciated. I carried a copy around for many years, but it seems to have been lost in a move.

Other mentions:
Annoying Old Guy at
KamatzArkeaa at
Marla Louise at

A gentleman by the name of Andrew Johnson from Manchester believes it was published in Analog No. 558 (May 1977), and the cover reproduced here rang a bell.

According to ISFDB the poem was entitled "What's in Store?" by one John A. Carroll.


I was able to acquire a copy. The cover story was oronically by one John Hoagland, who was soon to become famous for the "Face on Mars" hoax. I have taken a preliminary picture of the page containing the poem, [whats-in-store.png].

Lynx-enhanced by <peter&snabla;> (Peter da Silva)