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Mars is a planet in the solar system. (TXF: "Space") It comes into conjunction with Mercury and Uranus only once every eighty-four years. (TXF: "Syzygy") Ten months a year, solar winds blow across the planet's surface at 300 miles an hour. (TXF: "Space")
In 1947, a police officer named Arthur Dales asked a laboratory technician called Ted to take a look at a baseball glove that was covered in a green, slimy substance. When Ted inspected the glove, he found the substance highly unusual as it was unlike any other substance he had ever seen. He determined that it was from a life-form which did not seem to be carbon-based, but he believed that to be impossible. Later, an alien bounty hunter told Ted that he had obtained the substance from "just to the left of Mars". (TXF: "The Unnatural")
- These events may not be historically accurate. They were recounted by Arthur Dales later in his life and could be only metaphorical.
In 1977, the Viking Observer spacecraft reached the orbit of Mars and sent close-up photographic transmissions of the planet back to NASA. The photos surprisingly revealed the presence of large amounts of water locked in Mars’ polar icecaps. Some speculated that the water could have possibly sustained life on the planet.
An even more controversial revelation was an image of a land formation that looked like a sculpted human face, known as the Face on Mars. NASA officials - including the Viking Orbiter Project Director, Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Aurelius Belt - assured the press that it was nothing more than a trick of light and shadows - a geologic anomaly, not an indication of an alien civilization.
In the early 1990s, certain fringe elements accused the American government of sabotaging the failed Hubble Telescope and the Mars Observer. Some believed that the failure of the spacecraft was connected to a conspiracy to deny evidence of alien civilizations. (TXF: "Space")
On January 12, 1996, a rare planetary alignment involving Mars, Mercury and Uranus occurred. On that date, FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder was investigating a series of murder cases in Comity. Zirinka, a female astrologist, told Mulder that the inhabitants of the small town were acting strangely due to the planetary alignment. (TXF: "Syzygy")
In November of that year, there was an ongoing debate over fossilized remains of alien bacteria. (TXF: "Tunguska") Even the most conservative scientists and science journals were calling for the exploration of Mars and Jupiter. (TXF: "Terma")
Mulder and his FBI partner, Special Agent Dana Scully, visited the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. A doctor who worked there named Sacks told them that a rock they had brought to the center contained polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons fitting the approximate description of those in fragments of meteorite found in the ice fields of Antarctica. According to Dr. Sacks, the rock could quite possibly have come from Mars and might be over four billion years old. Although the rock was relatively worthless, Dr. Sacks believed it could add evidence to the debate. With the agents' permission, he tried to take a core sample from the rock but oil spurted out of it and black worms started crawling onto him, eventually possessing him. (TXF: "Tunguska")
In 1999, Doctor Solomon Merkmallen, Professor of Biology at the University of Ivory Coast, was murdered. In a briefing at the FBI Headquarters, Agents Mulder and Scully told Assistant Director Walter Skinner that Doctor Merkmallen had believed in a scientifically plausible fringe theory called "Panspermia". The theory was that Mars or other planets had been habitable long before Earth and that cosmic collisions on these planets had blasted microbes into the solar system, some of which had landed and flourished on Earth to create the first early forms of life on that planet. Assistant Director Skinner later called the belief "Mars theories". (TXF: "Biogenesis")
At a trial in May 2002, Scully revealed that she, like many respected scientists, believed that life had come to Earth from a rock or meteor from Mars. She also believed that the same meteor had brought an alien virus which had thrived on Earth prehistorically, eventually infecting early humans and transforming them into alien life-forms themselves. According to Scully, these aliens had died in Earth's last ice age and the virus had lain dormant underground until it had resurfaced in 1947. When later asked by Special Agent Kallenbrunner to provide proof of alien existence, Scully told him that the Mars rocks supported her testimony but was told that they were insubstantial evidence. (TXF: "The Truth")
In a scene from the episode "Within", Agent Doggett is in a room at the FBI's Headquarters when he receives a phone call from Scully, mistakenly accusing him of spying on her. In a version of the script used to film the episode, a description of one detail in the scene reads, "Behind him there's a TV on, a news report plays. (Specifically, the NASA news conference from last June, where officials from that agency reported the Mars Global Surveyor finding new geological data to support water on Mars.)" The script returns to describing the specifics of the news report near the end of the scene, after Scully ends her conversation with Agent Doggett, and reads, "...on the TV, a NASA Scientist is giving a quote to the effect of: water on Mars could be proof positive of extraterrestrial life in the universe. (Exact quote to come with NASA footage.)" In the episode, sections of a news report on a television can indeed be seen behind Agent Doggett but the image is somewhat blurred and there is no way to tell that the news report relates to Mars.
Special Agent Doggett's comment that "men are from Mars and women are from Venus" was not in the original script and was only added while the episode was being filmed.
In the foreword to the book The Real Science Behind the X-Files: Microbes, Meteorites, and Mutants, Chris Carter notes that a rock from Mars made news during production of The X-Files.