That would be SECRET OF THE MARTIAN MOONS by Donald Wollheim.
---- John T <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Ok, this one has been bugging me for a long time...
> I'm not sure if it is a novel or novella or short story...
> It has the "feel" of Heinlein but I don't think it is...
> Definitely an old story....maybe from the fifties or sixties.... main
> character is transitional HighSchool/College age :)
> The only part I recall is the ending.... They're on Mars... the guy,
> interested in archeological digs(?) finds an old ship. The ship is described
> as Box-like... the ancient Martians had all "moved on" thousands of years
> earlier... Rumors of them all jaunting off into the cosmos as Marauders(?)
> or pirates of some kind... but destined to return to their home in the
> distant future... the guy takes off in the ancient box-like ship and, once
> out in space, finds himself being pursued by the ancient Martians... they
> appear as a V of ships on his "screens"... following him as he tries to
> evade.... his ship is too old to out run them and they overtake him... he
> then finds they are the ancient Martians, come home for a visit :) And,
> surprise surprise, they're human...(maybe?) some Martians had gone to Earth,
> most went out into the cosmos for adventure...
> So? Can anyone tell me who wrote this story? What's the title?
> ... and if you say it's Heinlein, I'll be very embarrassed :)
> I'd like to read it again... haven't read it in at least 30 or 40 years :)
> John T
> PS: I've already asked on the SciFi_Discussion group... usually they come
> through for me but not this time.. sure hope you can help :)