Invaders of Mars!
Originally produced by Evans & Sutherland
Salt Lake city, Utah
The show opens with a red star shining over ancient Babylon, and identifies the star as Nergal - the planet Mars as it has been seen through most of human history.
The new view of Mars, offered by powerful telescopes, is illustrated by a visit to Lowell Observatory on Mars Hill near Flagstaff, Arizona. There the astronomer Percival Lowell observed the linear markings that came to be known as the "canals" of Mars. The canals suggested the presence of a Martian civilization to Lowell.
Beginning in the mid-1960s spacecraft flying past the planet revealed it to be a bitterly cold, desert dry planet with a very thin atmosphere, not a likely place to find life. The first orbiting spacecraft, Mariner 9, mapped features suggesting that there was more to mars, and that water had been present on its surface in the ancient past. In the mid-1970s two Viking landers settled on the Martian surface to look for evidence of life, but found hostile conditions.
A new strategy in the search for life began with the Pathfinder mission in the mid-1990s - to "follow the water". More recent exploration by robotic probes, including the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity reveal Mars was once wetter and had periods of standing water on the surface.
Future exploration will lead to eventual invasion by humans.