Is there or was there life on Mars? Many people, including some scientists, believe that intelligent life used to exist on the Red Planet and that the evidence is already abundant. But how convincing is this evidence? And if ancient aliens did once dwell on Mars, what is their connection to us?
Even though freezing temperatures on Mars today make the planet uninhabitable for humans, research has shown that Mars used to enjoy a similar climate to Earth. Most scientists believe that water is necessary for life, and that once upon a time, water was in abundance on Mars. Signs of dried up ocean beds, lakes and old river channels have been gathered by missions to Mars, revealing large-scale water coverage on the surface at some point in the past. Water molecules and ice have also been found on the surface. Data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has even revealed possible flowing water during Mars’s warmest months.
But most astonishingly is the fact that three Mars meteorites have been found to contain microscopic structures that resemble fossilised bacteria, indicating past life on Mars. So if water and bacteria and a habitable climate once existed on Mars, could an intelligent civilisation have also existed?
The Faces and Pyramids of Mars – evidence of ancient aliens?
In the region known as Cydonia on Mars, several bizarre discoveries have been made. Firstly, images gathered by Mars orbiters show a structure on the surface that bears an uncanny resemblance to a humanoid face. The imagery also revealed a number of pyramid-like structures on the surface. Richard C. Hoagland believes that the ‘Face on Mars’ and the pyramids are the last remnants of a ruined city and evidence of an ancient Martian civilisation.
Another face-like formation – one that appears even when viewed at different angles – has been found in the Libya Montes region of Mars – more evidence of ancient aliens?
There is plenty of mystery surrounding our own pyramids. Some scientists, researchers and geologists believe that the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx were not built by the Ancient Egyptians and are much, much older than people think. Some have made the connection between Earth’s pyramids and the pyramids of Mars, suggesting that the ancient aliens that once dwelled on Mars were responsible for building the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx.
Are the Martians our creators?
The 2011 Ridley Scott-directed movie Prometheus posited the idea that life on Earth was seeded by an alien race. This was not a new idea, and indeed many people have theorised that ancient aliens didn’t just exist – they created us. It is said that Earth’s scientists have plans to transport simple bacteria to Mars as a way of introducing (or perhaps reintroducing) life to the planet. So is it possible that life on Earth began the same way? That perhaps an ancient and highly advanced civilisation from Mars created us?
Maybe our creation is absolutely nothing to do with God, as still many people believe. Or maybe – if the Martians were highly advanced and beyond our conventional understanding of life and existence – God was one simply one of them.
Is it all just pareidolia?
Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon which involves identifying something significant in images and sounds that are actually random, vague, natural or accidental. These include the Moon Rabbit, the Man in the Moon, seeing faces or animals in the clouds, and hearing hidden messages in songs played in reverse. Scientist Carl Sagan hypothesised that we are ‘hard-wired’ from birth to recognise the human face.
Supporting this theory is the fact that several better quality images of the ‘Face on Mars’ have since been returned to Earth, revealing the initial images to be little more than tricks of light and shadow. There’s also the example of the ‘Happy Face Crater’, an optical illusion created by two small mountain clusters in the north of the crater and a curved mountain range in the south. Essentially we’re seeing what we want to see. Both the ‘Face on Mars’ and the Libya Montes face are today generally regarded as examples of pareidolia.
And while significant questions do surround the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, and there is evidence that they predate all known ancient civilisations, there’s no evidence to suggest that Martians or ancient aliens created us. (But then, there’s no evidence that God created us either.)
Of course, it could be that unknown forces are manipulating the data. Perhaps ancient aliens are not so ancient. Still nobody knows what happened to the Mars Observer, which mysteriously vanished in 1993 before it could produce any data about Mars. There are also conspiracy theorists who believe that all the Mars images being sent back to Earth from probes and spacecrafts are being censored, altered and fabricated by the Martians. Because they’re still there – and they never left.
Next week: What happened to Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards?