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Hello Earthlings!

From: Frank Warren <frank-warren.nul>
Date: Mon, 02 Feb 2004 07:27:10 -0800
Fwd Date: Mon, 02 Feb 2004 16:24:59 -0500
Subject: Hello Earthlings!

Source: Tucson Citizen


January 31, 2004

Hello Earthlings!

With the space probes Opportunity and Spirit sending back images
of Mars, we can't help but hope they capture a picture of a
Martian peering back at us.

"Where are the Martians?"

You know that's what people are asking, even as they feel so
scientifically correct while staring with straight faces into
their computer screens, visually dissecting NASA's crisply
focused digital photos of a flat, rocky plain on Mars.

While all those announcer-scientists on TV explain that life on
Mars - if it exists at all - will just be microbes or something,
we keep hoping for more. Sure we don't expect to see Marvin the
Martian, or even Uncle Martin from "My Favorite Martian." But
... something.

Since late in the 19th century writers and artists and
filmmakers have worked at convincing us there is life on Mars.
They have described, portrayed and analyzed all sorts of more or
less human-sized creatures who live on the red planet. More than
a century of depictions provided so much lifelike detail it
becomes downright disappointing to see the photographs, which
the space probes Opportunity and Spirit keep sending back.

Just like Peggy Lee, we sigh, "Is that all there is?"

"We know where life is on Mars, but they don't land where life
is," says gruff, straight-talking ret. U.S. Air Force Col.
Wendelle Stevens, the founder of the UFO World Center and the
author or co-author of more than 18 books on extensive UFO
contact cases.

Because of experiences he had in uniform, Stevens has dedicated
his post-military life to investigating the unexplained in
space. As proof Martian life does exist, he hands over printouts
of Mars satellite photographs of trees, standing water, running
water and gigantic wormlike shapes he has identified on Mars'

The original photographs come from NASA's own cameras, displayed
online depicting what does, indeed, look like long-range views
of trees, bushes, standing water and running water. The worm-
shapes aren't that convincing, but check out all the photos
yourself at Stevens' Web site www.marsanomalyresearch.com.

Today's digital pictures are just the latest in a line of
descriptions that began with H. G. Wells' classic novel, "The
War of the Worlds," first published in 1897. Even Wells was
preceded by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who in
1877 first described "canali," properly translated as
"channels," that he imagined he saw through his telescope. With
the 1869 engineering triumph of the Suez Canal fresh in
everyone's minds, "canali" proved there was intelligent life on
Mars. It looked like people up there had been digging canals
just like down here on Earth.

Around that time Darwin's controversial theory of evolution was
just beginning to challenge the biblical theory of creation. The
Industrial Revolution was turning clever workers into wealthy
capitalists, as well. Wells combined these concepts in the
chilling vision that the Martians were technologically superior
invaders whose strength - using science to defeat disease -
 became the Martian invaders' weakness - having no immune system
to fight off Earth's disease.

History helped "The War of the Worlds" become still more
influential as the horrors of World War I were easily transposed
to Wells' book and the work of early 20th century fantacists
such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, who first wrote of the "green men
of Mars."

Why green? Historians didn't question Burroughs on that point
but, ever since, green has been universally accepted as the most
popular color for aliens - Martians or otherwise.

Marvin the Martian actually wore a brown uniform when he first
appeared onscreen. That was in Chuck Jones' "Haredevil Hare," in
1948. At that time Marvin was known only by his official name,
Commander X-23, when he tangled with Bugs Bunny. Only later we
learned his off-duty name was Marvin.

By 1980 in "Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 1/2 Century"
Marvin was clad in Martian green. As always, his motivation was
to blow up Earth using the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space
Modulator powered by Illudium Phosdex from Planet X. So far, the
good guys in the Looney Tunes camp of finely drawn fellows have
managed to keep Earth safe for the rest of us.

Our laughter at such good-natured foolishness is only possible
because we all know Martians with their superior technology are
a world threat.

"My Favorite Martian," both on TV in the 1960s and in the 1999
movie, is a kindlier sort, whether played by Ray Walston in the
syndicated television series or by Christopher Lloyd in the

With the Cold War at its coldest, audiences welcomed the funny
idea that Martians were more like fumbling suburbanites who
couldn't get their cars fixed because they couldn't get the
right parts. It was reassuring after all those tense films of
the 1950s such as "Invaders from Mars," "The Angry Red Planet,"
"Red Planet Mars," "The Thing" and other threatening aliens like
"The Blob" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." One of the most
effective of these frightening visions was the first film
adaptation, in 1953, of "The War of the Worlds."

   "Mars is our mirror. Martians are reflections of ourselves,"
said Charles Scruggs, a professor in the English department at
the University of Arizona. He enjoys looking for the metaphors
in film and literature. At present he teaches students that
films about ancient Rome, such as "Gladiator," are really films
about the United States. Like the gladiator played by Russell
Crowe, the U.S. treasures small town life and fears getting
caught in political ploys by the high court, which would be like
the United States ensnared in world politics today.

Scruggs looks to "The Martian Chronicles" film, adapted from the
1951 collection of stories by Ray Bradbury, which has the
Martians pretending they lead lives just like the small-town
Americans who have arrived uninvited on the planet Mars.

"Even then," Scruggs said, "the Martians were considered
treacherous for pretending they had what was most valued in the
United States - small-town life."

These days Scruggs also likes the concept that Martians reflect
the dark side of ourselves. "We have never been comfortable with
being an imperial power," he explained, "And here we are the
policeman for the world.

"What people in America really want is for everyone else to stay

So is Mars an empty and barren place whose dried out soil holds
only old secrets? Or as the newest photographs from Mars keep
proving to Stevens, is there life thriving on the red planet?

From "The War of the Worlds" we have let the idea of Martians
morph from impersonal invaders with advanced technology - much
as Europe's explorers invaded the New World in the 16th century
- to vicious tyrants determined to force Earthlings into
submission, such as Nazi Germany. Then to secret forces using
their mental powers to dominate us in the 1950s, which became so
frightening it took all the silly 1960s movies such as "Mars
Needs Women" and "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" to get

Then came kinder, gentler "ET: the Extra Terrestrial" in 1982
(not really a Martian, but, you know ...). In 1996 Tim Burton
brought us the cartoonish "Mars Attacks!" but then Hollywood
went back to meaner versions such as Brian De Palma's 2000
"Mission to Mars" and "Red Planet," followed in 2001 by "Ghosts
of Mars" from John Carpenter.

Sure it's easy to call all these portrayals of Martians
"nonsense." But why does this planet more than 130 years after
the scientific discovery of canali have a stronger hold on our
imaginations than ever? What about the NASA photographs that
seem to reveal an enormous sculpture of a human face? Are the
shadows on Mars just fooling us? Haven't shadows always fooled
us? If we didn't want a security blanket, would Marvin the
Martian still have so many fans?

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