Yes, there is life on Mars (according to these old newspapers)

Many people may not know about the recent landing on Mars in February 2021, which delivered a robotic rover to roll across the planet’s surface and capture samples, photos, and sounds to send back to Earth for study.

Man has now sent many manufactured visitors to the red planet, but a single question continues to linger and to fuel man’s ambitions: Is there life on Mars?

More than a century ago, that question surfaced inside the pages of the Rappahannock Record, a small newspaper in Kilmarnock, Virginia. “Is there life on Mars?” the newspaper headline asked. It undoubtedly was a question long discussed by scientists and the curious others who thought of such things, but as newspapers became more available in the U.S., those discussions spilled over onto their pages as a way to offer readers a glimpse into the possibilities of outer space.

“A distinguished astronomer tells of astonishing changes he observed on the face of our puzzling neighbor planet,” the brief 1860 article states as it promotes an upcoming story in The American Weekly magazine.

There have been many attempts to answer this burning question, and many of these exploits are captured among the pages of old newspapers.

As scientists continued observing the planet from afar, speculation continued about the notion that we are not alone in the universe. When a meteorite from Mars was discovered on Earth in 1996, scientists studied the 4.5 billion-year-old rock closely in hopes of finally answering that nagging question. Despite certainties expressed at the time, the debate continues as many scientists argue the rock offered no conclusive evidence.

In the early 2000s, rovers were launched toward the planet to begin collecting information in the hopes of providing more and better answers about the possibility of life on Mars.

There are many things to know about the planet, which is estimated to be about as old as Earth is. What can Mars teach us about the possible future of our own planet? There are fascinating stories to discover, and you can start down the path of discovery by searching for more about the pursuit for life on Mars on

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