Ancient Aliens s07e05 Episode Script

Aliens and the Red Planet

Nuclear annihilation.
This would have been an absolutely devastating event.
mysterious pyramids There are, apparently, these unusual structures there.
and evidence of life billions of years ago.
Researchers found objects that looked extremely similar to microorganisms here on Earth.
Throughout human history, the planet Mars has captured our imagination.
But is it simply because of its striking red color and prominence in the night sky? Or might we have a more profound extraterrestrial connection? NASA knows there is life on Mars, but for some reason, it does not want that information out.
Millions of people around the world believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings.
What if it were true? Did ancient aliens really help to shape our history? And if so, might they have come from the red planet of Mars? Cape Canaveral, Florida, August 20, 1975.
Ignition, we have liftoff! The United States launches a Titan rocket carrying the Viking spacecraft.
Viking is embarking on a of the most prominent sights in the night sky Mars.
If all goes well, in 11 months, the unmanned probe will touch down on the Martian surface and search for evidence of life.
Mainstream scientists say Mars is most likely a dead planet because of its incredible temperature swings and high levels of solar radiation.
So why is NASA spending a billion dollars to explore it? The night sky is an astounding thing.
And to the naked eye, the red planet could be seen with its special color.
After all, it's the biggest thing you see up there past the moon.
So it's been a special object of fascination and reverence because religious systems often were associated with the planets and the stars, the sky in general.
Speculations about what's there, is intelligent life there, are the gods there? That's gone on for a long time.
Our dream for life on Mars probably goes back to the ancient times when we were just doing naked eye observation.
It's the planet that really stands out, that we now know is very close to Earth in terms of physical conditions.
Even though Venus is much more like Earth in size and gravity, it's a hellhole in the solar system.
But Mars, Mars is out there within our grasp.
Among the first to record this fiery red ball in the night sky were ancient Egyptian astronomers.
In 1534 BC, they placed Mars on humanity's first chart of the the Senenmut star map.
Two and a half centuries later, the Egyptians painted the planet Mars on the ceiling of the tomb of Seti I.
But while the Egyptians honored Mars, many other ancient cultures feared it because they associated the red planet with death, destruction, and war.
According to some anthropologists, this is because the planet glows red like the color of blood spilled on the battlefield.
The association of the red planet with the gods of war goes way back.
In ancient Babylon, Mars was named after Nergal, the god of fire, death, and destruction, essentially a god of war.
The Greeks named Mars after Ares, their god of war.
The Romans, "Mars," that is their god of war.
Rome was a warrior culture, so this martial emphasis, all connected to the red planet, is accounting for the great armies that conquered the known world; a very successful story and very much aligned with the planet Mars.
In 42 BC, the Roman forces of Augustus waged the Battle of Philippi against Marcus Brutus, as Augustus tried to avenge the assassination of his adopted father, Julius Caesar.
Augustus pledged to the god of war, Mars, that if he won this battle, he would build a great temple for him.
So he won the battle, became Caesar Augustus, one of the greatest of the Roman emperors, and he created the temple of Mars, and whenever Rome would declare war, the temple doors would be thrown open.
It was called the temple to Mars the Avenger.
Famously, we say the "gates of" "war" nowadays, right? And it was the gates of Mars' temple that were opened or closed depending upon whether there was a war going on.
From India to Rome, all of the ancient societies had a reverence for Mars, a great closeness to Mars.
Very important in their pantheon, very important in the imagination of the people that some kind of connection with that red planet be maintained.
But while many ancient societies felt a bond with Mars, most did not identify it as a planet like Earth.
The ancients thought planets were as uninhabitable as the Sun.
They saw them as wandering stars.
In fact, the word "planet" means in Greek "wandering star," planeta.
You have the fixed stars, the constellations, but then you have these stars wandering about.
They seem to follow the sun because they appear to move against the background of the fixed stars the same way the Sun does.
It wasn't until the 17th and 18th centuries, when astronomers finally had telescopes powerful enough to make out features on the surface of Mars, that we started to imagine life on the red planet as a real possibility.
By the 1860s, an Italian astronomer by the name of Angelo Secchi thought he saw straight lines crisscrossing the surface of our little ruddy buddy up there, Mars.
And he called them "canali.
" The idea was picked up by an American astronomer by the name of Percival Lowell.
And Percival Lowell built his own observatory down in Flagstaff, Arizona.
He spent a lot of time looking through a telescope at Mars.
And he wrote books about this.
He was articulate.
He was clever and he convinced a lot of the public and some of the scientific establishment that there really was a civilization on Mars busy digging up their planet because they needed to irrigate their crops.
But why has Mars fascinated humankind throughout history? Is it simply due to the planet's proximity to Earth and its striking red color in the night sky? Or is it possible as ancient astronaut theorists contend that Mars really was at one time inhabited by intelligent life? The Cydonia region of Mars, July 20, 1976.
An alien spacecraft sent from Earth touches down on the red planet.
Nav is green for touchdown.
After a ten-month journey, Viking I has reached its destination.
We have touchdown.
To NASA scientists, it's a momentous event.
For the first time in its history, the United States has a probe on another planet.
Viking was the first spacecraft to actually attempt a soft landing on Mars, and give us an actual feel, a taste for what the conditions were on the surface.
We looked out at those pictures of the surface, and they looked so much like the Pacific deserts here, like Death Valley.
We all half expected to see a miner and his burro come walking up over the nearest rise.
Scientists knew that finding definitive signs of life on Mars was a long shot.
But when the Viking lander performed four tests on the Martian soil looking for microbial life, it returned surprising and controversial results.
Gil Levin designed one of the tests that the Viking probe performed.
Microorganisms breathe just like you or I or anything else, and then they give off carbon dioxide.
So we got a tiny sample, a thimbleful of the soil, put into a little container.
It was monitored for seven days continuously to see if there are any bubbles forming in the tube.
Surprisingly, the tests came up positive for life by the criteria that had been approved by NASA.
However, the result of another important test one looking for organic matter on the Martian surface was negative.
But Dr.
Levin says the other test wasn't nearly as sensitive as his experiment.
It needed three million bacteria in a thimbleful of Martian soil to find signs of life, while Dr.
Levin's test only required 30 bacteria.
So there was a vast discrepancy in the sensitivity of the two experiments, and I immediately said, "Well, you know, they both could be" right.
We detected life, but maybe there aren't enough bacteria per unit of soil for the organic "analysis instrument to find.
" But NASA was very cautious, and they opted to say no organic matter.
There goes the ball game.
No life.
Levin has fought NASA for almost 40 years on whether the Viking probe found evidence of life on Mars.
If he was right about the results of his test, this would be the first proof accepted by mainstream science that life exists outside our planet, but ancient astronaut theorists say an even more profound discovery regarding the red planet has been uncovered right here on Earth mysterious relics that may reveal an actual visitation of beings from Mars.
Teotihuacan, Mexico.
In 2003, archeologists in this ancient city made a startling discovery.
A previously unknown tunnel lies the Feathered Serpent, one of the most sacred pyramids on the continent.
Working underground, scientists methodically explored the debris-filled tunnel using a robotic probe with an infrared scanner.
After some 250 feet, they reached a side-cave.
The tail end of the tunnel, terminus of the tunnel, was loaded with, um, yellowish metallic-looking orbs, apparently colored clay.
The orbs are very interesting objects.
I've never seen anything like them in any kind of other archaeological context.
On the inside, they are clay.
On the outside, they're coated with some sort of gold flecks, so they look like golden balls.
What purpose these golden balls served is unknown, but some archeologists believe the cavern in which they were found was a place of sacred ritual.
Like the clay balls, the walls were also covered in gold flecks, so if the cavern illuminated it with a torch during a ceremony, the cavern would have shimmered with a thousand points of light, resembling the cosmos.
These beautiful orbs of yellow material strongly suggests that someone was illustrating planets.
We do know that the Mayan calendar is heavily calibrated to the orbital parameters of the planets in our solar system, specifically the inner planets.
The red planet's connection to the Mayan calendar is portrayed in The Dresden Codex.
This rare book from Mayan antiquity describes the calendar in relation to Mars' movements across the sky.
The Dresden Codex is one of four remaining books that the Maya wrote.
It is, in many regards, an astronomical almanac.
There are many different sections of the book that talk about different astronomical phenomena.
One of them is the planet Mars.
There is an almanac near the end of the book, that breaks up days into ten groups of 78 days equaling 780 days, which is the cyanotic period of Mars, in other words, the time in which it takes Mars to get back to the same place on the horizon from a human perspective.
Scholars believe Mars played an important role in the Maya astrology that's described in The Dresden Codex.
Above that almanac is a sky band shown with various aspects of celestial symbols we recognize out of hieroglyphs, and hanging off of it is this interesting dragon-like creature.
at dragon-like creature is recognized as the face of Mars.
Why did the planet Mars feature so prominently in Maya astronomy? Ancient astronaut theorists suggest the answer may be found in a little-known myth surrounding the story of the feathered serpent god, whose temple sits above the secret tunnel that contains the golden orbs.
In the Mayan tradition, their great god, often pictured as a feathered serpent, was said to have been responsible for the death of the god of Mars, flayed him to death.
That's stripping off the skin.
It's a horrific ritual that was actually done in other ways in that culture, but the idea is death by that means absorbs the power of the enemy.
But the name of their god also is associated with the comets.
There are certain drawings that show comets that look like they have feathers coming off the back.
The flames are depicted as feathers.
And some scholars believe there's a connection between the look of the flying feathered serpent and these comets.
Is it possible that the Mayan myth of the feathered serpent describes an actual event, a cataclysmic comet strike that destroyed the Martian atmosphere? After studying the red planet for decades, mainstream scientists admit it's entirely possible this impact occurred on Mars in the distant past.
If you look at the Martian landscape, it is heavily cratered compared to Earth.
Mars is next to the asteroid belt.
In fact, in some ways, it defines the inner edge of the asteroid belt.
So Mars is constantly being hammered by asteroids relative to earth.
You always have the risk, and of course we've seen it here on Earth, of having large asteroids or comets hit the planet and cause tremendous ecological damage.
The most famous example of that is the Chicxulub asteroid that may or may not have been the final nail in the dinosaurs' coffin.
And certainly that could've happened at Mars because it doesn't have a large moon to help shield the planet and possibly deflect asteroids.
In his book, Life and Death on Mars, physicist John Brandenburg describes an impact crater in the Lyot region of Mars that's more than 125 miles in diameter.
He believes this comet strike may have caused a profound disruption to Mars' planetary system.
It's a large double-ring crater.
This happened to a planet that only gets half the sunlight of earth and has one quarter of the surface area, so this would have been an absolutely devastating planet climate-changing event.
There may have been a very dramatic event where some other leftover piece from the birth of the solar system, some big asteroid, sort of made a close fly-by, sort of a fender-bender collision with Mars and just stripped off a lot of the atmosphere.
That's a very popular way to look at what may have gone wrong with Mars.
But if Mars fostered life long ago, before losing its atmosphere, could intelligent life, and perhaps even civilization, have existed and even flourished on the red planet? And if so, where would the inhabitants have gone after the cataclysm? Some say the answers to these questions can be found in the origin story of Earth's first civilization.
Mosul, Iraq, During an excavation of the Biblical city of Nineveh, a team led by the eminent British archeologist Austen Henry Layard, discovers the ruins of the ancient Assyrian library of Ashurbanipal.
Among the priceless relics Layard recovered from the library is a series of cuneiform tablets called the Enûma Eliš, also known as "The Seven Tablets" of Creation.
" The tablets are, essentially, text in columnar style, no more than eight to ten inches tall, uh, six to seven inches wide, which were made of clay.
And while the clay was just in the process of setting, a stylus would be used by a trained scribe to etch the stories of our existence on this planet.
The Seven Tablets of Creation tell a story about a group of gods called the Anunnaki who came from heaven to give birth to the human race, but some ancient astronaut theorists believe the original translations, completed in the scholars of the day, are flawed.
The professors' certainly brilliant brains had no idea of space travel, not to speak of extraterrestrials.
So they all, without exception, made the translations in the belief that the stories had to do with the Almighty God.
In the old texts, we have, for example, a word like "heaven.
" So, for example, Abraham was taken up to heaven and brought back to Earth.
So we should change the word "heaven" into the word "space" so it makes sense.
Using what they say is a more accurate translation of this origin myth, ancient astronaut theorists believe the tablets tell a story about the Anunnaki coming from space to colonize both Mars and Earth.
According to some researchers, the Sumerians had a number of myths about Mars, including that the Anunnaki used Mars as a supply base to come here to Earth.
And subsequently the Anunnaki then ruled the earth as these extraterrestrial god-kings, while humans began to create the many civilizations on our planet.
And eventually the Anunnaki left to go back to their own planet.
Or did they? Is it possible that the Anunnaki gods in our ancient origin stories were actually extraterrestrial beings and that they created the structures that some believe they see on Mars? And if so, did they then journey to Earth? We see multiple references in the cuneiform tablets that are allegedly the records of the Anunnaki.
That, in fact, they did originate from Mars, that this is not a dead, isolated, rocky world with nothing on it, but there was life.
But according to the modern translation of Sumerian and Babylonian origin myths, a cataclysmic event occurred on Mars, an event that sounds remarkably similar to ancient Mesoamerican myths about a feathered serpent flaying the red planet.
While the Anunnaki were using Mars as a supply base for earth, at some point there was a catastrophe.
There was some asteroid or comet strike on Mars.
It ripped the atmosphere from Mars.
It changed the climate, and Mars couldn't be used as a habitable space base for the Anunnaki anymore.
And so therefore, as we explore Mars more and more, we may find structures, pyramids, ziggurats, even giant statues carved into rock on Mars, which are really relics of the Anunnaki and the time when they occupied that planet.
Some have suggested that Mars may have had an atmosphere, and it got annihilated about What some have suggested is that before this annihilation occurred, that that civilization was able to escape to Earth.
Now, according to this view, we might, in fact, be the Martians.
Some scientists say they've found powerful evidence of this lost civilization.
They believe they may have discovered a nuclear signature in the Martian atmosphere that matches Earth's after a nuclear test.
During the height of the Cold War, we were detonating very large hydrogen bombs in the open air, and it produces a lot of a gas called xenon 129.
On Mars, we've also found a lot of xenon 129.
The only process we know to produce this xenon 129 is a nuclear explosion.
So apparently, a very large nuclear weapon or weapons was detonated on Mars.
If we look at the Sumerian cuneiform tablets there are very clear references to a variety of advanced forms of technology.
And it would seem pretty clear that if we were able to get a nuclear bomb, then why couldn't a civilization that was superior to our own have developed the same technology? There is a Sumerian myth concerning the planet Mars having to do with some colossal battle of the gods, so there is elements in mythology that look very much like descriptions of nuclear war.
Signs of a possible nuclear blast, myths of a comet flaying the planet and a controversial NASA experiment that may have found life.
Could these really be traces of an ancient alien civilization on Mars? And if so, is it possible there are artificial structures buried beneath the surface even to this day? The Ares Vallis region of Mars, July 4, 1997.
NASA's Pathfinder spacecraft lands on the red planet.
The first probe to reach the Martian surface since Viking, Pathfinder will look for signs of water.
Since the Viking missions in the have come to the conclusion that the planet may have once boasted oceans full of water and complex life.
Billions of years ago, earlier in the history of the solar system, Mars probably looked, in many ways, the way the Earth did.
It did build up an atmosphere and oceans.
The atmosphere probably would have been equivalent to Earth's atmosphere at that time.
Life could well have formed in the oceans.
One day after the Pathfinder touched down, the Sojourner rover began exploring the Martian surface for signs of these ancient life-forms using an X-ray spectrometer and a high-powered camera.
What they discovered was, yes, Mars, in certain places, looks like the high desert on Earth.
And maybe there are areas which do seem to be dried-out riverbeds.
Maybe there's water under the surface.
The thing we've learned from the rovers that's most interesting, I think, is the fact that Mars once had a wet past.
And if there was liquid water on the surface of Mars long enough, not just for a couple of weeks, a couple of years, a couple of thousand years, but for millions of years, hundreds of millions of years, maybe something cooked up in that liquid, maybe life.
As the Pathfinder rover snapped photographs of the Martian surface, it captured images of something that puzzled some scientists a mountain range they nicknamed The Twin Peaks.
In his book, Life and Death on Mars, Dr.
John Brandenburg says that because Mars has limited volcanic and tectonic activity, it's an open question as to how these mountains were formed.
This interesting formation is the tallest thing for hundreds of miles.
Most of the volcanic activity on Mars is concentrated in the Tharsis region.
How many miles away is that approximately? Oh, it's, like 2,000 miles away, to the west.
All right, so, this area is not known for any volcanoes or anything like that? No, no.
And because we now know so much more about the climate of Mars than we did 20 years ago, it had an ocean.
It had long periods, apparently, of liquid water flowing on its surface, so all of this causes us to look at everything on Mars with new eyes.
And so we have these two interesting objects.
They're conjoined.
Not only are they the tallest things for 200 miles but they're linked to each other.
And this reminds me of what we have found on planet Earth.
Now, there's alignment.
And what's interesting, this is the Giza Plateau from Egypt.
And it is near Cairo, which, name in Arabic derives from the name in Arabic Al-Qahirah, which means Camp of Mars, Place of Mars.
- Very interesting.
- Fascinating.
And we also have found out recently that at one time, the Sphinx was covered with red paint.
So, imagine we are looking at the Giza complex and the Sphinx.
And a million years of erosion has happened.
Wouldn't these things all look kind of rounded and mounded like this? It's conjectural.
Now I notice over here, because it's the Giza Plateau, we have the Sphinx.
Has something similar been discovered on Mars, specifically around the Twin Peaks area? Well, we have this strange object which is nearby, and we see that from space and also in the picture.
And look at this.
At this alignment.
Here is the Sphinx on Earth.
Here is the pyramid.
Here is this object.
And there is what looks like a mound of stuff.
Who knows if it is degraded archeology? We must look at everything on Mars now with new eyes.
In fact, when the Sphinx was originally found in modern times, it was buried up to its neck in rubble - and had to be excavated.
- So something similar could be going on right here.
There could be a much larger structure buried beneath.
Could the Twin Peaks be evidence that an ancient civilization may have once existed on Mars? A civilization whose structures appear to resemble those on Earth? Ancient astronaut theorists say yes, and that evidence for this startling conclusion has been accumulating for four decades.
When Viking orbiters originally started taking pictures of the surface of Mars, they took pictures of very intriguing features on the plain of Cydonia.
On July 25, 1976, they took a picture of something that looked for all the world like a human face.
The whole thing kind of blew up when a NASA project scientist named Toby Owen put a magnifying glass over a frame number named "35A72," and said, "Hey, look at this.
" NASA actually held a press conference the next day, where Owen and Gerald Soffen, who was the chief Viking project scientist said, "You know, isn't it peculiar what tricks of light" and shadow can do? The whole thing kind of went "away a couple hours later when we took another picture.
" The problem with that is that a couple hours later, the Viking orbiter was nowhere near Cydonia and it was dark, so there's no way that picture could have ever existed.
Some believe they found not only a human face carved into Martian rock, but also a pyramid, a cliff.
In fact, an entire city buried by thousands of years of sand and soil.
By the late 1980s, one researcher had even discovered what he thought were mathematical relationships among the features of Cydonia.
A cartographer and satellite imagery expert from the Defense Mapping Agency named Erol Torun took a look at the pyramid and concluded that it was what he called the Rosetta Stone of Mars.
He found a bunch of mathematical relationships that pointed to other objects in the area that he thought were artificial- looking.
They included the face, an object called the cliff, which is a straight line that goes on for hundreds of meters, a rounded mound called the tholos which appears to have a pathway that goes up to the top.
More than 20 years after the Viking mission, NASA rephotographed the Cydonia region in 1998 and again in 2001.
The face no longer looked human, but some scientists believe that was because of when and how NASA took the newer pictures.
They shot it from the side.
They shot it at morning.
It was as much a different viewing geometry and lighting geometry as possible from the original pictures.
Based on that evidence, the face on Mars, evidence of past climate on Mars, a past ocean, I have concluded that Mars was apparently the home of a civilization in the past.
Is it possible that an alien civilization existed on Mars in the distant past, and built the structures that recent Martian probes have photographed? If so, does the government know more than it's telling us about life and death on the red planet? Washington, D.
, August 7, 1996.
On the South Lawn of the White House, 30 years after NASA announced the Viking mission had not found evidence of life on Mars, President Bill Clinton held an historic press conference to announce some momentous news: microbial life may exist on the red planet after all.
Scientists had found what they believed to be fossilized remains on a Martian meteorite that crashed to Earth It must be confirmed by other scientists, but clearly the fact that something of this magnitude is being explored is another vindication of America's space program and our continuing support for it, even in these tough financial times.
There was enormous excitement over this discovery.
Based on the chemical composition of the meteorite, we could tell that it was from Mars.
Inside the rock, researchers found different chemicals and, in particular, different physical shapes of objects that looked extremely similar to microorganisms here on Earth.
Soon after the president's press conference, scientists began to backpedal on whether the meteorite actually showed signs of life.
They said the original team of experts may have been wrong.
The image certainly looks like some kind of a microorganism, but the opponents said the microorganism remains are too small to have DNA to be inside it.
And therefore, it can't be a fossil.
Since then, microorganisms have been found that small, which have DNA in them, but it has not been resolved.
But given the controversy surrounding the possibility that life may have been discovered on Mars, starting with the Viking mission of the 1970s and continuing to - the present day - Liftoff.
some scientists say NASA almost seems to be avoiding the issue.
The space agency has never retried Gil Levin's test for signs of life on the red planet.
It is very puzzling as to why NASA has refused to send life detection experiments back to Mars.
My experiment discovered the most remarkable thing yet known about Mars.
That there is something highly reactive in the soil, chemical or biological.
But we really should find out what it is.
It is startling that NASA has made no attempt to determine that issue.
I truly think NASA knows there is life on Mars, but for some reason unbeknownst to me, it does not want that information out.
Has NASA found definitive signs of life on Mars that they're intentionally keeping from the public? And if so, have they found evidence that an advanced civilization once lived on the red planet? Some ancient astronaut theorists believe they have, and as evidence, point to a report commissioned by NASA in 1960 that offers advice for how to reveal the news if the American space program should ever find proof of extraterrestrial life.
The so-called Brookings Report essentially said that in your travels throughout the solar system, there is a distinct possibility that you will discover artifacts, that you will actually discover evidence of an ancient alien presence on Venus, on the moon or on Mars.
And the implications of such an announcement, if it were made, would be potentially devastating to the human race.
It could be catastrophic.
In fact, it used the word "disintegrate.
" I would imagine that it would be something that would be kept secret for awhile.
I don't think it's a bunch of men sitting in a room and smoking cigarettes and saying we're gonna keep this secret.
But it is a responsibility, and I think that they would certainly be very, very careful as to how to let out this knowledge.
Is it possible that not just microbial life, but also intelligent beings, once called the red planet their home? And if so, what would that mean for the existence of life elsewhere in the cosmos? If life used to exist on Mars, particularly if it formed independently of Earth life, life in the universe is all over the place.
That means that of the billions of planets discovered now similar to Earth, through our universe, many of them would have life on them.
And if there is life different from life on Earth that has evolved, there would be every reason to suspect such evolution would have gone on on countless other Earths.
And that there would be intelligent life out there as well.
We want there to be life on Mars.
We want there to be life somewhere beyond here.
We want that transcendent connection to the heavens.
We don't want it to be invaders, but we don't want to be alone in the universe.
Are tales of life on Mars, found in cultures across the world, simply mythology? Or might Martians really have visited Earth in the distant past, as ancient astronaut theorists suggest? If so, could there be evidence waiting to be discovered on the red planet? Perhaps with further missions to Mars we'll find that not only was it home to alien beings thousands of years ago, but it still is today.

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