Crop Circles Mystery Finally Solved: Was It Aliens?

If you were into crop circles -- the giant, maze-like creations in fields of corn or other crops that can only been seen from the sky -- then you may not want to know the boring truth. After all, aliens, ghosts, and supernatural phenomenon are much more exciting than microwaves, GPS, and mathematical analysis.

But the truth is, the mysterious "crop circle artists" are probably not green-headed, three-eyed bobble heads from Zebulon 3. In fact, they are probably just scientists who hide their secrets well, but still leave clues to their creations. This is according to Richard Taylor, the director of the Materials Science Institute at the University of Oregon, who writes in this month's Physics World about the phenomenon of crop circles.

The circles have long been a favorite mystery for conspiracy theorists and supernatural enthusiasts alike.

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Crop circles started appearing in the 1970s and have exploded since then. There have now been more than 10,000 crop circles around the world, mostly in the UK, but in 25 other countries as well. In the beginning, crop circles were created by crushing plants with boards, but they have become more elaborate and technologically advanced over the years.

Now, Taylor says, artists are likely using Global Positioning System (GPS) as well as lasers and microwaves to create their pattern. Microwaves would make crop stalks fall over and cool horizontally. One research team was able to basically create the same effect using a handheld magnetron, which is accessible via microwave ovens and a 12-V battery.

OK, so fine. We have an explanation, but isn't that boring? Wasn't it better when we thought it was little green men? I am all for science, but sometimes it spoils all the fun. Sometimes a little mystery is more exciting than the truth, which is more like: A bunch of science geeks got together, built a laser gun, and shot some corn.

Which movie would you pay to see? The one where aliens create bizarre patterns in the crops or the one where boring science dudes use the time they aren't having sex to shoot down some corn stalks and wheat fields?

Do you like crop circles?

 

Image via Kecko/Flickr

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