Better red than dead, says Martian lobby

22.10.30: SEVEN PEOPLE finally stood on the surface of Mars today after a series of delays had conspired to set the project back years.

It was a supreme triumph for Nasa's project leaders, and was greeted with a media fanfare not seen since Apollo 11 touched down on the moon. But Redpeace, the Mars environmental pressure group, dispelled the euphoria by claiming that the landing craft had contaminated the red planet with terrestrial micro-organisms. The space agency refused to comment.

Redpeace tabled a motion at the United Nations accusing Nasa of reckless negligence. It said the landing risked causing "xenocide", the destruction of any biology that may exist on Mars. MC

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