As this account approaches its final edit, I see that the short, colorful story of Red Rock Exploration Consortium is rippling through the pool again. I had not intended to discuss RREC, apart from my personal involvement, but feel that I have a duty, as the last surviving member of my team, to set the record straight.
Or, if you prefer, record my own observations and conclusions.
First: to the best of my knowledge and after serious consideration: I have no reason to believe that there was any sort of conspiracy involved in either RREC's failed Oxygen Reclamation Project, or in the collapse of RREC which followed. My testimony on the matter is in the public record, and no facts or allegations have emerged during the intervening decades to alter that belief.
Second: there are, again to the best of my knowledge, no "secret records" of the Oxygen Reclamation project. All documents and files posted by my team have been made public. As the team recording officer, I believe I may state that with some authority.
Third: and implicit in the second point, there is no "secret alien technology" that was smuggled back to Earth. My team was, prior to the collapse of RREC, the only one to have found Danian Age artifacts.
Finally: my respect for Val Tuning demands that I recall briefly the final days of his life.
Tuning was, without question, unschooled in any of the sciences and at best a competent engineer. He was, however, a capable administrator and my friend.
I was distressed to learn that the ludicrous allegation that he was not human is once again being discussed. RREC's medical records were detailed, embarrassingly so, and again are now a matter of public record. If Val Tuning was not human, then space aliens are indistinguishable from us.
I find that: unlikely.
On the Saturday before hearings on alleged irregularities in RREC accounts were to begin, Val Tuning was seen by several witnesses at the Shanghumugham Beach, where he went for a swim and didn't come back.
While it is true that his body was not recovered, this does not, in my opinion, "prove" anything. It is, again in my opinion, most likely that the lively marine ecosystem in that area benefited from Val Tuning's death by drowning.
Regarding the Danian Age artifacts themselves, my own findings and those of my team are available to anyone who bothers to access them. And, at the risk of seeming defensive: I was, in addition to the team recording officer an accredited mineralogist. I suppose I owe the honor of the assignment to my being that rare combination: a competent field researcher who is willing to accept "mere" clerical duties.
I also suppose it no longer matters if I admit that I would have accepted latrine duty in exchange for an opportunity to study the southern rim of Gusev. And, I do not mind admitting, still regret that the discovery of the Danian Age artifacts and the subsequent focus on their study prevented me from finishing my field work.
Even so, and although much discussion of these artifacts is, in my opinion, quite silly, I am glad of the continued interest in this evidence that we are, or were, not the only sort of people to have inhabited the universe. I like to think that a spirit of curiosity and wonder still lives in our hearts and minds.
Briefly, the most common artifact at Dig 45 was a metal sphere. We found 72 of them, buried. The metal was an alloy composed chiefly of iron, carbon and nickel.
The spheres, apart from what appeared to be post-manufacture damage, were nearly identical. Each had an outside diameter of approximately one meter, hollow, with a wall thickness of approximately 0.9 millimeter.
Although one sphere had apparently been punctured, they clearly had originally had a single opening, approximately 8.2 centimeters in diameter, surrounded by a disk about 25 centimeters in diameter in which the wall was 2.3 millimeters thick. The other readily-visible features common to all spheres were three knobs spaced equally around the hole, and a sturdy ring approximately 30 centimeters in diameter opposite the hole.
The least-unlikely explanation as to the sphere's function is that they were storage containers for liquids or gasses.
These spheres were, and are, the best-known of the Danian Age artifacts. More intriguing, for me, were the several dozen rumpled sheets of woven metal we found, varying in size from a few centimeters on a side to a sort of ribbon over a meter wide by nine meters long. Then there were the six rocks which had clearly been machined into rectangular prisms, about five by five by eight centimeters.
Although these remarkable objects are called the Danian Age artifacts, their exact age is still uncertain. The latest generally-accepted estimate, based on known current rates of aeolian sediment deposition near Gusev City, together with other factors, is that the spheres and other artifacts were left on the Martian surface somewhere between 66,000,000 and 61,000,000 years ago.
(Excerpt from "Thiruvananthapuram to Gusev City: the Autobiography of Yuriko Zabala")