Thursday, August 05, 2004

Mars Gone Wild; Wired Gone Mild

Mars Gone Wild

"Clearly, Clarke is no wild eccentric; he invented the concept of satellite broadcasting and was knighted by the Queen of England. What caught his eye is a genuine enigma: a forest of large round blobs with branchlike structures that visibly expand and shrink over the seasons, which Clarke said looked like 'banyan trees.' Though most space scientists attribute these 'dark dune spots' to Martian frost, a group of researchers at the Institute of Advanced Study in Budapest concurs with Clarke, calling the photos evidence of 'probable Martian surface organisms.' Clarke finds further signs of life in the images taken earlier this year by the rovers Spirit and Opportunity. 'I've seen the latest microphotos, and some of them look very biological to me,' he wrote by email. 'But I'm not competent to decide.'"