Yemenis Claim Ownership of Mars

   Thursday, July 24, 1997; 11:09 a.m. EDT

   SAN`A, Yemen (AP) -- Three Yemeni men claiming
   ownership of Mars have filed a lawsuit against
   the U.S. space agency NASA for invading the red
   planet, the weekly Al-Thawri reported Thursday.

   It said Adam Ismail, Mustafa Khalil and
   Abdullah al-Umari presented documents to
   Yemen's prosecutor general which they said
   proved their claim.

   ``We inherited the planet from our ancestors
   who had lived on it 3,000 years ago,'' the
   Arabic-language paper quoted the men as saying
   in one of the documents.

   The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space
   Administration's Pathfinder spacecraft landed
   on Mars July 4. Its Sojourner rover has been
   exploring the planet and sending back photos
   and data for analysis.

   ``Sojourner and Pathfinder, which are owned by
   the United States government, landed on Mars
   and began exploring it without informing us or
   seeking our approval,'' the men said.

   The men demanded the immediate suspension of
   all operations on Mars until the court delivers
   a verdict. They also requested that NASA
   refrain from disclosing any information
   pertaining to Mars' atmosphere, surface or
   gravity before receiving approval from them or
   until a verdict is reached.

        =A9 Copyright 1997 The Associated Press

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