The Mars Mystery

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Mars and Venus have incited imaginations forever. For the last 150 years or so, it’s because people thought these were the only two other planets in our solar system that might have life like ours. Within the last 40 to 50 years, it’s been conclusively shown that Venus can’t possibly have our kind of life: it’s way too hot (often as much as 800 degrees Fahrenheit on its surface), and has too many chemicals antithetical to life as we know it.
Mars is a little different. We know there’s no civilization there, unless it’s underground, but there’s still some question about bacterial life. Conditions on Mars are harsh, but bacterial life has been found in harsh conditions on our planet too.
What may still be true is that Mars was once a planet much like ours, and may have had a high civilization besides. Percival Lowell, in the 19th century, asserted that he had seen canals on Mars, which he thought proved civilization existed there. With advances in astronomical technology, those canals have not been found. But with the spacecraft that have orbited Mars and produced many photos features have been found that do seem artificial.
Among these are a structure known as “the Face”, which looks like a human face staring into the sky. Possibly even more significant are structures that look like pyramids, and their placement.
One of these is a very large structure, a mile by 1,6 miles. Those proportions are significant in themselves, because they’re very close to the Phi ratio, one which artists use to make their creations attractive. It’s also one that occurs in nature, in animals, vegetables and us. It doesn’t occur spontaneously in stone, though. Other mathematical concepts that don’t occur in nature are also found in this pyramid: pi, and the square roots of 2, 3, and 5. There is always some doubt, but it’s nearly impossible that these ratios should have occurred naturally. Intelligence, and very high intelligence, seems to be responsible.
Especially since pyramid complexes in Egypt and Mexico recapitulate much of the Martian structures, including their placement on their respective planets. That seems like a very big coincidence.
But looking at conditions on Mars now, it seems obvious that nothing very much like us could live on the surface of the planet, and the Face looking up from the Martian surface does look humanoid. So what happened to Mars? Its surface seems to say that it was once much like earth, with abundant water and atmosphere.
What happened was three large asteroids that hit the planet, penetrated into it, seem to have knocked much of the crust of the northern hemisphere off into space (the northern hemisphere averages 3 kilometers lower than the south), and done other damage too. Hancock thinks someone survived, though, to build these monuments, since they seem to have been built after the damage was done. But why?
Graham Hancock, in The Mars Mystery thinks the structures on Mars were a message to us. This planet has also had asteroids hit it, as various bodies have hit at least the first five planets, and our moon. The earth had an extinction episode about 250 million years ago, in which about 90% of life died. Another came about 94 million years ago, and then one at 65 million years. That one we know something about: it killed the dinosaurs.
It was an asteroid that landed on or near the Yucatan, and blew up. The speeds at which cosmic debris travels is so high that even a relatively small object can cause great destruction, and this was fairly large, just not as large as the three (at least) bodies that hit Mars. In Siberia in 1908 a meteor calculated to have been about 70 meters in diameter exploded, flattened a large area of forest, and was heard and seen for hundreds of kilometers. The Trans-Siberian railroad had to shut down for a few hours to prevent the cars from derailing. Had the object intersected earth just three hours later, it would have exploded over Moscow.
One might think this was just bad luck, but if Hancock’s picture of it is accurate, the universe is a much more dangerous place than we’ve generally assumed. There are comets and asteroids all around us, some in orbits which will come close to our planet sooner or later. There are also about 100 billion of them in the Oort cloud that surrounds this solar system, and the system picks up more of them at various times, but especially when it travels through a spiral arm or into the core of the galaxy. Coming close to various astronomical objects can disturb the orbits of the comets or asteroids, causing them to fall towards the inner solar system, where they may be disturbed more, and eventually hit one of the planets or moons there. This means that getting hit with cosmic debris isn’t bad luck, but is virtually inevitable, and that our vulnerability rises and falls according to where the sun is in the galactic region, and how many comets are coming our way at any time. There are always some, but sometimes there are more.
This picture, if accurate, leads back to the question I asked before: why did the Martians (presumably) build the structures on Mars, that seem to have been built after Mars was ruined? And why were some of the great monuments of ancient times built, including the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico? Hancock suggests that a civilization more ancient than we know built these monuments to warn us of the danger in our skies. Why were they so concerned? Perhaps they were aware of the disaster on Mars. But if not, they were certainly aware of the disaster that struck this planet at the end of the last ice age.
That ice age had been stable for about 100,000 years, arguing that that climate was normal for this planet. But the age ended suddenly, in geologic terms, melting down over about a 7,000 year period, during which the planet was very unstable, with lots of earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods. As Hancock says, this period is the best recent candidate we know for the Great Flood told about in the Bible and many other places. Some 70% of animals died during this time, especially in the Americas. A 20th century scientist found evidence suggesting that the world’s crust had, in some places, slid some 2,000 miles, causing a great many mammoths to suddenly freeze to death in Siberia, Alaska, and the Yukon, all of which had had mild climates during the ice age. What would cause such geological instability?
According to Hancock, more presents from the sky. There seem to have been two that landed in the ocean off southeast Asia at about the right time. And there is also evidence that many legends began around that time, about the most memorable occurrence there had been. These legends almost universally included numbers relating to the precession of the equinoxes, another cyclical phenomenon not directly related to the path our sun travels on. But its cyclical nature means that danger recurs, and we are never finally done with it, though the recurrence may be infrequent.
Hancock suggests we ought to be thinking about protecting our planet from the kind of thing that happened to Jupiter about 20 years ago when comet Schumacher-Levy got too close and dropped 21 separate masses. One of these caused a depression about the size of the earth, which means that if it had hit us instead of Jupiter I would not be writing this, and you wouldn’t be reading it.
The problem is, what CAN we do about it? We don’t presently have the technology to protect this planet. The idea of intercepting an asteroid and either destroying it or changing its direction means constantly scanning the skies for asteroids headed this way, having space ships ready to go to catch any intruder early enough to prevent any collision with the earth, probably by blowing it up or deflecting it with nuclear weapons. We don’t currently have spacecraft dependable enough for that, and if we did, it would still depend on seeing the asteroid soon enough to do anything. Another problem is that they often travel in swarms. 21 objects would be more than we could handle. So might two or three.
So thinking about how to protect our planet from the rest of the universe is rather depressing. And the threat in the sky is paralleled by the threat on the ground. As above, so below, you might say. As a race we have chosen not to live in harmony with ourselves, each other, and our environment, so if the asteroids don’t get us, we’re likely to do the job ourselves. Not just through war, which is destructive enough, but through pollution and environmental degradation. Some people have been trying to change their lifestyles to reduce their impact on the ecology, but not enough to make much of an impact yet. Some want a new age to be born; others like the old ways, and don’t want to change. And won’t, until they realize it’s a matter of survival. Most of us would rather not believe that’s really true, but some have a REALLY hard time with it.
The Mars Mysteryis where Hancock really puts together his thesis about the evidence for civilization being much older than we’re accustomed to thinking, and asking what happened to the ancient civilization he finds evidence for. Pretty much the same thing that happened to Mars. The bodies that hit Mars were bigger, while Mars was always a smaller planet than ours. Hancock thinks there were three impacts within a period of about 6-7,000 years, the biggest of which he puts at about 10,500 BC, which may be about the time Atlantis was destroyed (if that was the name of the high civilization, as seems likely). The time period Plato indicates in his writing on the subject is about the same, and depictions in Egypt and Cambodia of constellations (the Great Pyramid and Giza complex, Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom) are of how the stars looked in that era. Hancock believes somebody wanted us to look at that time, so far we haven’t done it (except as individuals), and we’re entering the danger period again, when we can expect more stones from the sky.

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