"I'm now convinced that Mars is
inhabited by a race of demented landscape gardeners," Sir
Arthur C. Clarke announced recently.
The author of
2001: A Space Odyssey was only half-joking. He claims that an
image produced by the Mars Global Surveyor satellite shows
"large areas of vegetation . . . like banyan trees." Most
experts dismiss the idea. But Popular Science loves a free
thinker, especially one as talented and charming as Sir
Arthur. We questioned him in Sri Lanka via e-mail.
> Nicole Foulke
Science What makes you so confident there is life on
Arthur C. Clarke The image is so striking
that there is no need to say anything about it -- it's
obviously vegetation to any unbiased eye.
What about animal life?
AC If there is
vegetation, it seems probable there are other life-forms as
PS Few experts agree with
AC Remember how a certain Astronomer Royal
said that space flight was 'utter bilge'?
Richard van der Reit Wooley said so in 1956 -- Ed.] But they
are right to be cautious -- we still don't have 100 percent
proof. I think it's in the high nineties!
are you so passionate about this?
nothing could be more important than the discovery of other
life-forms. It's getting lonely down here.