Thanks to Oliver Morton I have been alerted to a fascinating new scientific study of Mars which provides further proof that water once flowed on the Red Planet. A team from the Open University and the University of Leicester have analyzed rock formations from Gale Crater and have determined that they were formed by the evaporation of ancient lakes. They say that the rocks are very similar to those found at Watchet Bay in North Devon.
Which is all well and good, except that, as the North Devon Journal honestly points out, Watchet Bay is in North Somerset. (Kevin – we drove past it on the way to Minehead.)
Suddenly much becomes clear. Mars was once a planet covered by lakes and marshland. The locals drained the land with an extensive system of canals, or rhines as they called them, allowing them to plant vast apple orchards from which the famous Martian cider was made. One day, we hope, summer will return to Mars, the levels will bloom again, and the Martians will emerge from their caves.
There’s all sorts of nonsense you can build on this. Mon Olympus as the Martian equivalent of Glastonbury Tor, for example. Of course the most famous cave system in Somerset is called Wookey Hole, which suggests that the Martians might be a bit hairy.