Mars, the distant fourth planet from the sun, and our closest yet estranged friend in this infinite mass of possibilities we call the universe. Christened after the Roman god of war, and dubbed the “Red Planet”.
The iron oxide on this terrestrial planet gives it this reddish appearance, scarred with impact craters, valleys, volcanoes, deserts and even polar ice caps reminiscent of our home planet Earth. The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are strikingly similar to those of Earth, and the tilt is that, which produces the seasons. Besides holding the record for the highest known mountains and largest known canyons found in the solar system, Mars has a bruise on her face that questions Earths mortality.
Covering 40% of the planet in the northern hemisphere in theory, is an impact crater capable of snuffing out any form of life that could have ever flourished on this crimson sphere bringing to mind the possible future of planet Earth and the resulting aftermath. Geological evidence dictates that Mars once had large-scale water coverage on its surface. In 2005, radar data revealed the presence of large quantities of water at the poles, as well as at the mid-latitudes.
This brings about the possibility of life once existing on the planet. The European Space Agency’s orbiting spacecraft detected methane gas in orbit. We know that organic material, animals and even humans generate methane on the surface of earth. There is no evidence to suggest that Mars has active volcanoes or life in that matter, yet water and methane are clear indications of life past and present. But let’s get on to the archaeological interest of this article. Since the age of antiquity ancient man has been tracking the lonely red planet and we have always known that there is something special about mars.
The discovery of carbon isotopes within cracks of meteorite have opened new areas of thought for the possibility of life once roaming or colonising the world of mars. The idea of artificial canals was first introduced during the 19th century but as science progressed and telescopes increases their voyeur, these were disproved. However there are many strange “geological” anomalies present on the face of Mars, and many seem too structured, to be considered random creations of nature.
What would have life been like on Mars, would they have been like us, and could we use ethnographic analogy to properly work out the cultures of tribes, civilisations, nations and the people of Mars. What I really want to focus on in this article is the area called “Inca City” that is found at the southern Pole of Mars. This area when first looked upon, comes across as the remains of an ancient urban settlement.
During the Mariner 9 mission, in 1972, at the time when features on Mars were being mapped close-up for the first time, imaging team members found this very strange feature at the high altitude southern pole. Latitude 82° S and Longitude 66° W seem to create this rectilinear grid of straight walls and square like depressions, typically 3km on a side. It looked like a natural formation but its origin was difficult to determine.
It slightly resembled an ancient structure complete will walls and plazas. Speculation brought forward two ideas. One said that the winds created a sort of megalithic dune complex, and the intersecting ridges are the product of two different wind patterns. However this feature is far too large to be explained away in this manner. The other idea is that some type of fracture or fault pattern caused by tectonic forces produced a set of parallel fractures, not uncommon in geology. Once these fractures exist, magma ascends into them, filling them with molten rock which cools.
Where Inca city lies, at this high altitude, we know that there are polar sedimentary layers and they are more than likely to be weaker than freshly solidified igneous rock. This in effect will cause erosion and wind will strip away the host rock sediments, leaving the igneous rock standing in ridges that pinpointed the original fractures. These sort of formations are also well known on earth and they are what we call dikes. The second theory basically states that the Inca city was a set of intersecting dikes exposed by erosion, but if that really is the case, why does it represent such a localized linear pattern, and why does it resemble the ruins of cities from antiquity?
Notice the similarities between these two pictures. The top image is the “Inca City” from Mars, and the bottom image is an Inca city ruin. If this Incan ruin was found in a similar setting to that of mars, a desert like landscape, the features would be even more similar, with sand dunes covering areas of the remaining structure and therefore giving it a more geological appearance? If this so called “Inca city” found on Mars was a real city it must have been extremely large, housing thousands of inhabitants. But why the location? Why on the southern tip of the planet.
One reason could be that the planet had started to die after the colossal meteorite had destroyed most of it. This city could have been the last frontier the last hope for the inhabitants of a dying planet. War could be another factor. Perhaps the vast lengths of walls, and massive structural integrity were put in place to keep armies out and, to hinder sieges set upon the city.
The questions are endless. The site was chosen well, built up on a plateau of cliffs, the city was completely secured from outside influence, especially the aggressive kind, and laying siege to this city would be an immense task. Towering above the armies and surrounded by cliffs, the advantage would have been granted to Inca City, and I believe this could be an explanation to its massive scale, and un-interrupted line of development. If the city did flourish, and did exist, these Martians were doing something right. But like all great ancient civilisations found on earth from antiquity, they fell, and it seems the “Inca city” could not escape this fate either.
The idea of the possibility of life on Mars is an exciting one, although not enough evidence is present yet to create any established fact there are some strange features on the surface of the planet. The ideas I have portrayed are merely just that. Some anomalies like the Inca city coupled with imagination and the similarities with known ancient structures allows one to piece together an explanation for something that is otherwise unexplained. Perhaps more can be deduced from this image and more ideas let out.
Written by Gordon Phillips