If scientists on Mars have been monitoring conditions on earth lately, no doubt the newspapers up there have been running headlines that say: "Earth Probe Scans Frigid Mass, Finds Little Chance of Life."

And the forecast is for more of the same. Isn't that lovely - for the polar bears at the Zoo?

Here's a cheeful note from Bob Holden of Pepco. He writes: "Over this past weekend, my wife and I made a trip to Ocean City to see how our condominum was holding up in all this cold weather.

"We were startled to see kids skating on forzen-over Assawoman Bay.

"What was worse, perhaps, was that we saw two big flocks of ducks - flying north.

"One plumer told me there were so many frozen pipes that when the thaw comes, it's going to look like the geyser fields in Yellowstone.

"Oh, sure, our pipes were forzen, too.

"Just thought your readers who own property along the coast would like to know how things are."

Oh, well, as Leon Meadows notes, "We always get a January thaw. Sometimes it doesn't come until April, but we always get a January thaw." SHOEBOX REPORT

Only 10 more group contributions to Children's Hospital have arrived since I last reported to you three days ago, but they add up to a pleasing sum.

Room 210 at Backus Junior High School took up a kitty of $17.10. The nine-member 16th Street Sewing Club of Arlington raised $35.35. Checks totaling $50 arrived from Bureau of Mines personnel in the Office of the Assistant Director for Fuels, the Divisions of Coal, Fuels Data and Interfuels Studies. Another $50 was raised when a newsman told his friends he wanted no birthday gifts, just checks made to the order of Children's Hospital. The GSA Region 3 Federal Women's Committee sent me $61 for the children.

Employees and customers of Dockside Sales in Rockville chipped in $122. The Northern Division at Metrobus recycled last year's coffee can "fare box" and used it to good effect again to collect an impressive $275. A Christmas luncheon held by employees of the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County produced a profit of $279 for the hospital.

The Center for Naval Analyses, which has often provided our waning campaign with a helpful boost, did it again this year. Personnel there rounded up a fat batch of checks that added up to $475.77.

What almost - but not quite - brought a smile to my face was the arrival of a contribution from Club Americana. For the ninth consecutive year, it was in four digits. Primarily through its sale of calendars and its annual charity ball, which was held on Dec. 19 at the Twin Bridges Marriott, Club Americana put together a contribution of $2,507.

Unless my cordless abacus is deceiving me, these 10 groups came through with $3,872.22, and 51 anonymous individuals whose names are never revealed here added $1,197 to bring today's total to $5,069.22.

When we suspended our tally on Tuesday we had $151,900.84 in the shoebox. So now the count stands at $156,970.06.

That's very nice, but not quite nice enough to smile about. We are still $14,837.64 behind last year's mark, and our campaign will have to com to an end on Monday, when January comes to an end.

It is clear now that we will not reach our goal this year, but we can at least go down fighting. Please help me cut the deficit to whatever extent we can.

The cost of everything the hospital buys, hires or rents is higher this year than last. We cannot expect it to function on less money when it needs more.

The money you contribute provides medical help for children from poor families who would otherwise have to be turned away. Would you like to be the one who stands in the doorway to tell them, "Sorry, but we just ran out of money?"