Mars attacked!

Was there once a grand civilization on our neighboring planet that was annihilated by a nuclear attack? One researcher says yes. While it’s impossible to prove (for now), the sci-fi geek in me loves this story.

mars

Mars has gotten some, but not enough, attention in the world of sci-fi. H.G. Wells got the ball rolling with War of the Worlds, where we were attacked by Martians (I loved the Tom Cruise movie as well). There have been sporadic Martian-themed stories, including Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red/Blue/Green Mars trilogy. And there have also been one-off stories, like Doctor Who‘s The Waters of Mars episode.

mars and earth

But these are all fictional. What about the real Mars? The red planet is smaller than ours, colder, and less hospitable to human life (and any life, so far). It’s long been theorized that the Mars of the distant past was a very different planet, one capable of supporting life.

John Brandenburg, a plasma physicist, speculates that Mars once had a civilization as advanced as the ancient Egyptians. But this civilization caught the attention of some nasty aliens, who nuked these Martians, and rendered the planet uninhabitable. His evidence? The large number of nuclear isotopes detected on Mars.

Nuclear-Explosion-001

The takeaway, according to Brandenburg, is that we’d better get our butts (and not just rovers) to Mars ASAP, and figure out exactly what happen, lest it happen to us as well. See, we’re too noisy, blasting our radio signals out into the universe. Eventually, the Martian killers are bound to notice us.

He has a point. If there is a superior civilization out there, they may very well decide to rid themselves of any competition. And we’re pretty much defenseless. But what can I do about a high-tech alien force attacking? Not much of anything, so I’ll file that away in the “Things I cannot control, so therefore I won’t worry about it” drawer.

The idea that there were advanced civilizations on Mars that suffered a nuclear holocaust intrigues the sci-fi fan in me. Was Mars nuked? I don’t know nearly enough about the science to say no, though I think that Brandenburg is taking one too many leaps of logic. Nevertheless, the nuking of Mars makes great sci-fi fodder.

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