In all of this advocacy of Mari and Gali, SDB somehow neglected to convey what the heck was going on. Or at least I don’t remember it . Spherical Cows to the rescue:
See, since this is a science show for little Japanese girls who don’t get along well with science, they decided it would be best if they have a little Japanese girl who doesn’t get along well with science get trapped in a town where all these famous dead scientists are hanging out, doing sciencey things. They also play Kick the Can. With science.
 I re-read the Mystery Meat for the anime just now, and it contains an explanation of sorts, but it did not click for some reason.