Excerpts - The Rock From Mars

Chapter Thirteen

Late one day in the last week of October 2000, Kathie Thomas-Keprta was on another expedition into the land of the Lilliputians, riding her electron beam into the deep interior of the Mars rock. She was heading further and further into frontier territory in her drive to solve the riddle that had captured her heart, brain, and soul.

In fact, Thomas-Keprta was about to experience one of those moments when the mind takes a leap that seems to change everything.

For David McKay, her breakthrough on this autumn night would stand out as one of the more satisfying moments in the marathon. With Kathie Thomas-Keprta’s fretful insomniac insight would come, among other things, a sense of renewal.

Those seductive magnetic crystals—particles so small a billion would fit on the head of a pin—had become the most powerful witnesses in the rock. Thomas-Keprta and others on the McKay team regarded them as the closest thing they had to a smoking gun. For years the team had been pushing at the limits of technology as they probed the nuances of the structure. But now, thanks in part to a blunt lecture from a distinguished colleague who was critical of her group’s work, Thomas-Keprta realized she was still not seeing the crystals “naked.” She had not deciphered their true nature. She had to go deeper.