Water, Water Everywhere
Back in the day, and I mean way back, it was a sign of education and sophistication to talk about life on Mars.
This was, like, a hundred years ago.
Smart people of the early twentieth century just knew that the channels on Mars were really water-bearing canals. These were the times of defining events such as the War of the Worlds radio drama, which depicted a Martian invasion—and made several thousand listeners poop in their pants.
But then we all got wiser to the facts. The canals didn’t really have water in them after all. And our probes to the Red Planet proved that Mars hosted no little green microbes, much less little green men.
So we could sit back and collectively sneer at the morons of the past. They were stupid to believe in all that water-based fantasy, right?
Scientists reported last week that new Mars Global Surveyor pictures strongly suggest water does, in fact, flow on the surface of Mars.
Holy crap! First, the astronomers demote Pluto … now, they tell us Mars may be hospitable to life. How much planetary whiplash can we take in a year?
Photographs of the planet’s surface taken a few years apart reveal differences that scientists say were probably caused by the water flowing down crater walls. And recently—not within millennia or centuries, but within years.
We shouldn’t freak out about this, though. Even if water is getting to the surface via geysers or some other mechanism, it freezes quickly and fails to sit around waiting for life to form.
It does, however, provide another element necessary for the presence of life as we know it. In some shape or form, we might not be alone in the universe—or even in our own solar system.
Which is disturbing. You see, we don’t have many grand achievements to boast about right now if the Martians decide to come over for a celestial version of Show and Tell.
What will we hold up as our greatest accomplishment?
We humans are awesome builders. So maybe we can brag about our greatest architectural creations, like the Great Wall of China. Or perhaps the pyramids of ancient Egypt.
But wait a minute—aren’t those accomplishments of bygone eras? Something in this millennium might be better. If we show off this old stuff, the Martians will just laugh at us.
If they have a sense of humor, of course.
We’d best try again. Maybe the arts will do the trick.
We are great musicians; that might be a good thing to blow our own horn about. We could show off a recent magazine cover, let’s say Rolling Stone, to illustrate our triumphs in harmony and melody over the millennia.
Or maybe not.
Because Rolling Stone right now would suggest that the pinnacle of our musical development is … well, Snoop Dogg. And the Martians would look at us—if they actually have eyes, of course—and just shake their heads in disappointment.
If they have heads, of course.
No doubt we’re better off turning to something we know they would appreciate. Something that shows them our sophistication, our elegance, and our stunning confidence and self-assurance.
Something like the movie War of the Worlds. Nothing says “welcome” like a film depicting our guests as heartless invaders from outer space. Surely they’d love that!
If they have hearts, of course.