When I was a kid, I read a book that argued that the Nazca figures in Peru — which depict wheels, monkeys, birds, and other figures visible only from the air — were proof that the Earth was visited from space. Only visitors from outer space capable of rising hundreds of feet into the air, the book argued, could have directed groundbound primitives to create the figures.
At the time, it seemed like a good argument to me. On my flight into Houston earlier this week, however, our approach to Hobby Airport took us directly over some nameless suburb. The amoeba-like view of that neighborhood from the air made me think inevitably of the Nazca figures. Could it be that the Nazca figures weren’t evidence of visitation from space aliens after all, but just early evidence of dreaded suburban sprawl?