The Monuments of Mars
The possible existence of alien artifacts didn't get its initial push into mass consciousness until July 25, 1976, when a project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory named Toby Owen put a magnifying glass over Viking Orbiter 1 frame 35A72 and exclaimed "Hey, look at this!" [Fig. 1-1]
Gerald Soffen, a Viking project scientist, addressed the assembled press, including at the time one Richard C. Hoagland. Soffen introduced the Face image with the statement,
That last statement was later proven to be an outright falsehood, and it eventually became the first chink in the armor of the previously un-assailed integrity of the space agency.
Although the Face made newspaper headlines all over the world the next day, no journalist, including Richard C. Hoagland, took it seriously. They all accepted NASA's explanation that there were disconfirming photos taken later that same Martian day.
The Viking missions actually consisted of four Vehicles - two Landers and two Orbiters grouped together and called Viking 1 and Viking 2, respectively. The Landers would separate from the Orbiters and descend to the planet's surface to test for signs of life and take pictures from the Martian surface.
The first Viking Lander put down on July 20, 1976 in the Chryse Planitia region of Mars, sending back photograph after photograph of the planet's surface.
Cydonia was the selected landing site of the second of the Viking Landers, but within a few days of the first "Face" image, 35A72, rumblings began about changing the Viking 2 landing site.
B-l also had the advantage of being in line with the first landing site, so the Viking 1 Orbiter could relay data from the second Lander while the second Orbiter mapped the poles and other parts of Mars during the proposed extended mission. While this was considered a good spot to find water, Viking project scientist Hal Masursky was worried about the geology of the region.
He asked David Scott, who had prepared the geology maps, to work up a special hazard map for B-l.
After studying the map, Masursky came to the conclusion that the area was not "landable." This analysis, of course, was made with maps based on Mariner 9 photographs.
He told Tom Young and Jim Martin, however, that there was one hope; wind-borne material may have mantled the rough terrain and covered "up all those nasties we see."
One NASA scientist, nonplussed by the odd flip-flop on the landing site, compared the choice to landing in the Sahara desert on Earth to look for life, rather than a more hospitable climate.14
In an even more bizarre decision, NASA took two more high resolution images of Cydonia - 070A11 and 070A13 - in mid-August, well after they decided the region was unsuitable for a landing. In doing so, they sacrificed precious Orbiter resources that could have been used to photograph another presumably more suitable region of Mars.
Had they seen something in 035A72 that made them curious?
They quickly found 035A72 (labeled simply "Head" in the Viking image files) and their early enhancements seemed to argue against the "trick of light and shadow" explanation. They then decided to look for other possible images of the Face taken on other orbits.
They were surprised to find both that potentially interesting images of the Face taken on subsequent orbits seemed to have disappeared, and there seemed to be no trace of the "disconfirming photographs" that Gerald Soffen had alluded to 5 years earlier.
After an exhaustive search of the Viking archives, they discovered a second misfiled Face image, 70A13, taken 35 orbits later at a 17° higher sun angle. They never did find the supposed "disconfirming" image and subsequently established that since the next Viking orbit took it nowhere near Cydonia and was at Martian nighttime, no such image could conceivably exist.
Although Hoagland had requested the prints in order to study the image enhancement technique (called S.P.I.T.) being used by Dipietro and Molenaar rather than the Face itself, he was intrigued by what he saw. After some discussions with them Hoagland was able to secure funding for the first Independent Mars Investigation under the auspices of the Stanford Research Institute.
As far as any members of the IMI knew, no one had ever attempted such an investigation before, and there were therefore no set rules as to how the "Face problem" should be approached. Working from the idea that if the Face were indeed artificial it would likely be beyond the experience of geologists and planetary scientists, Hoagland determined that the research required a group with a broad cross section of skills from the various "hard" and "soft" sciences.
This "multidisciplinary" approach allowed the original members of the IMI to examine the Face from every possible scientific perspective, and to cross-reference their results with a ready-made peer review panel.
The higher sun angle image 070A13 showed that the beveled platform upon which the Face was seated appeared to be in the range of 90% symmetrical, despite the presence of a data error in the image that distorted the area around the eastern "jaw."
One of the key tests for the artificiality of the Face has centered on this issue. In fact, it's hard to imagine a more decisive test of artificiality then the representation of teeth in the mouth. Dr. Malin apparently realized this as well, because he made a special effort to debunk the presence of teeth in the Viking data by placing fake images of the "teeth" on his website.
He also went well out of his way to misrepresent the arguments made by the researchers advocating the presence of "Teeth." 15
It is even less likely when you consider that there are no other appearances of teeth-like "artifacts" anywhere else in either image, and the features are well beyond the range of any individual data errors. Finally, the two images are oriented at differing perspectives relative to the pixel grids.
In spite of
this, Malin and others have persisted in their mischaracterization
of the issue.
No matter how much it looked like a Face, if it was all by itself, with no evidence of any civilization around it to have constructed the monument, then it could simply be a marvelous trick of erosion and shadow after all.
Enhancements by Carlotto revealed that the "D&M" seemed to be a five-sided pentagonal object, rather than four-sided, as Dipietro had argued, and the "City" objects displayed a number of unusual geomorphic characteristics as well.
In time, features like,
Further examination provided additional details.
There was evidence of digging next to the Cliff, implying that the platform upon which it rested had been built up from this material. The Tholus turned out to have an "entrance" of sorts at the top, a walkway that went from the base to this entrance and a pointed, almost pyramidal cap on it.
The D&M had what appeared to be almost a bottomless crater next to it, and the right side of the object seemed to bulge out slightly, as if from an internal blast (caused by whatever made the crater?).
The City turned out to have a degree of organization to it, and architect Robert Fiertek did an extensive reconstruction of the original layout.16
Oddly, at the same time he was doing this, Sagan was attacking the whole issue publicly with an infamous disinformation piece in Parade magazine.17 This would not be the last time that Sagan contradicted himself on Cydonia.
Yet, as documented by Dr. Stanley V. McDaniel of Sonoma State University in his voluminous McDaniel Report,19 NASA seemed to have an aversion to investigating what seemed to be an ideal subject for the agency's agenda.
In fact, they vociferously refused to even consider making the imaging of Cydonia a priority for any new Mars missions. Beyond that, they continued to insist, in response to inquiries from congressional leaders and the public, that the non-existent "disconfirming photos" proved that the Face was just an illusion. Only after many years (17) of repeatedly pointing out to NASA that no such images existed did they finally cease making this claim.
Pressed to go even further, they eventually used the program on images covering some 15,000 square kilometers around the Face.
The results were consistent with the earlier run-through. The Face was by far the most non-natural object in the surveyed terrain. NASA responded through Dr. Malin to the effect that Carlotto had not measured anything other than the fact that the Face was different, rather than artificial, and suggested that if he applied the technique to a broader area, he would find that the curve would smooth out, and that the Face was not all that unusual.
Up to this point, a lot of the behavior of NASA and the planetary science community could be viewed through the tint of simple prejudice or ignorance. No one wanted to be the next Percival Lowell, sticking their chin out on the issue of life on Mars only to have their reputation forever soiled if the data turned out to be wrong. Other members of the broader scientific community simply refused to even consider the possibility.
Their models and training had taught them that Mars was a cold, dead world, and had been for billions of years. The notion that someone had been there, built these monuments and then left sometime in the distant past was just too destabilizing to their way of thinking.
By themselves, the Face, Fort, City, Tholus, Cliff, Crater Pyramid and the D&M Pyramid were anomalous geomorphic objects that were incongruous with the existing geologic model of Cydonia.
One edge passed right through the center of the City Square, the next right between the eyes of the Face, and the next straight across the apex of the Tholus.
He also noted several "mounds" in and around the City. They were consistent in terms of size (about the scale of the Great Pyramid at Giza) and shape, and also seemed to form a perfect equilateral triangle [Fig. 1-5].
Even then, the methodology could have become "circular" if certain precautions were not taken. Hoagland carefully used only techniques that had been previously established by archeologists in their surveys of ancient ruins.
So a cornerstone of the whole process was that any "significant" mathematical relationship must occur redundantly. He also made certain not to include any object that was not significant in some other way to the model. If an object was not anomalous in any way, but stood at a significant location in the alignment model, it was rejected. Each and every relationship that would be considered significant had to be a candidate for inclusion on at least two grounds.
Without the initial geomorphic issues calling the features into question, the later determined alignment would have been meaningless in Hoagland's methodology.
In it, there were objects casting extremely long shadows that seemed to imply that the objects themselves were "towers" of seventy feet or more [Fig. 1-6].
Such objects, if they really were present on the lunar surface, would almost by definition be artificial. Eons of meteoric bombardment would have long since blasted any such naturally occurring objects into dust.
Blair had extensive experience analyzing aerial survey maps to look for possible prehistoric archeological sites in the Southwest United States.
He went on to claim that the long shadows were caused by the fact that ground was sloping away from relatively short objects, thereby elongating the shadows. Subsequent analysis has proven Shorthill wrong on all counts.21
The objects are indeed very tall, and the shadows are not caused by a sloping hill. Beyond that, the geometric relationships cited by Blair turned out to be based on tetrahedral geometry, which will become very significant as you read on.
In 1988, Hoagland was approached by Erol Torun, a cartographer and satellite imagery interpreter for the Defense Mapping Agency.
Torun was probably the most uniquely qualified person on the planet to render a judgment on the potential artificiality of the Cydonia enigmas. After attaining a degree in geology with a specialty in geomorphology, he had spent more than ten years of his professional life looking at remote imagery just like the original Viking data and distinguishing artificial structures from naturally occurring landforms.
He was particularly impressed with the geometry and geology of the D&M Pyramid.
Torun had come to the Mars investigation as a skeptic; relatively certain he would find that the geomorphic interpretations and the early contextual alignments cited by Hoagland would turn out to be "false positives" in the search for answers to the riddle of Cydonia.
Being careful to avoid projecting his own biases on the measurements, Torun decided beforehand that he would restrict his analysis to just a few possible relationships.
As it turned out, not only did the D&M have a consistent internal geometry, it was also one full of rich geometric clues that spoke to him of a specific mathematical message. He found numerous repetitive references to specific mathematical constants, like e/pi, v2, v3, v5 and references to ideal hexagonal and pentagonal forms.
He also found geometry linking the shape of the D&M to other ideal geometric figures, like the Golden Ratio (phi) and the Vesica Piscis, which is the root symbol of the Christian church - and the five basic "Platonic Solids" - the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron. Further studies found that the reconstructed shape of the D&M, as determined by Torun before he took any of these measurements, is the only one that could produce this specific set of constants and ratios.23
More than that, these same constants showed up redundantly in all the different methods of measurement, and were not dependant on terrestrial methods of measurement (i.e. a radial measurement system based on a 360° circle).
As Torun put it:
After receiving Torun's study, Hoagland quickly realized that they were on the verge of a potentially important discovery.
If Torun's numbers were repeatable throughout the Cydonia Complex, if the same angles and ratios appeared in the larger relationships between the already established potential "monuments," then they would have a very strong argument that Torun's model was valid.
Again being careful to only take measurements between obvious features, the apex of the Tholus and D&M, the straight line defined by the Cliff, the center of the City Square, the apex of the tetrahedral Crater Pyramid, Hoagland found that many of the same angles, ratios and trig functions applied all over the Cydonia Complex [Fig. 1-8].
Searching for the significance of this number, they eventually determined that it related to the geometry of the tetrahedron. The simplest of the five so-called "Platonic Solids" (because it is the most fundamental three-dimensional form that can exist); it made a certain kind of sense to use this "lowest order" geometric shape as a basis for establishing communication across the eons.
This whole "tetrahedral" motif was reinforced when they went back to the original Cydonia images.
Some of the small mounds Hoagland had noted earlier had the look of tetrahedral pyramids, and the Crater Pyramid, which is involved with one of the key 19.5 measurements, is also clearly tetrahedral. The mounds themselves were also arranged into a couple of sets of equilateral triangles, the 2D base figure for a tetrahedral pyramid.
What Crater found was that not only was there a non-random pattern
in the distribution of nearly identical mounds at Cydonia, but that
the pattern of distribution was overwhelmingly tetrahedral - and to
a factor of 200 million to one against a natural origin.
Based on the barrage of ad-hominem criticism Hoagland had experienced after "Monuments" was published two years before, they assumed that it would be pointless to try to have their paper published in the NASA controlled peer review press. Instead, they decided to go "straight to the people" and uploaded the paper to CompuServe, the largest online message board of its time.
The paper contained a number of predictions based on their evolving theory of the tetrahedral Message of Cydonia and also the even more radical new idea that within the tetrahedral mathematics was nothing less than an entirely new physics model.
Hoagland then found that there was a long-abandoned line of thought by some of the masters of early physics, including James Clerk Maxwell, which included the idea that certain problems in electromagnetics could be solved by the imposition of higher spatial dimensions into the equations.
The energies coming from these higher dimensions would then be "reflected" in our lower three dimensional universe through tetrahedral geometries. It was this crucial insight, they decided, that the builders of Cydonia were ultimately trying to impart.
They argued that Torun's measurements were not reliable because of the amount of error built into the ortho-rectified images. They frequently disputed the measurements themselves, but did not actually bother to try and reproduce them.
Dr. Ralph Greenberg, a University of Washington mathematics professor, has more recently taken up this view.
Greenberg has written several documents critical of Hoagland and Torun's model, and has also made something of a mini-career for himself accusing Hoagland of lying about his contributions to the idea of life under the oceans of Europa.
The issue of margins of error, especially, is one that (even today) is simply misunderstood, even by experienced mathematicians. Put simply, Greenberg argues - as many have before him - that the margin of error built into the measurements of the Cydonia Complex renders them useless, because they are large enough to make almost "any" mathematical constants and ratios possible.
Greenberg, who has become pretty much the point man for attacks on the Cydonia Geometric Relationship Model, also claimed that Hoagland and Torun "selected" 27 the angles they found, implying that they were looking for specific relationships before they ever started.
The side faces are all perfect equilateral triangles which align precisely with true north, south, east and west.
The length of each side of the base is 365.2422 Hebrew cubits, which is the exact length of the solar year. The slope angle of the sides results in the pyramid having a height of 232.52 cubits. Dividing two by the side length by this height gives a figure of 3.14159. This figure gives the circumference of a circle when multiplied by its diameter.
The perimeter of the base of the pyramid is exactly equal to the circumference of a circle with a diameter twice the height of the pyramid itself.28
In addition, the builders also apparently knew the tilt of the earth's axis (23.5°), how to accurately calculate degrees of latitude (which vary as an observer ventures farther from the equator) and the length of the earth's precessionary cycle.
They are not saying, "these are the numbers within a loose tolerance range," they are saying flatly "these are the numbers."
The tolerances are just what we have to live with pending higher resolution images. Further, having stated that the measurements reflect a specific tetrahedral geometry - not just any set of "significant" mathematical numbers, as Greenberg implies - and that they encode a predictable physics, it becomes very easy to simply test their contextual model vs. his reductionist view.
Greenberg seeks to isolate the numbers themselves, and argue only his view of the "power of randomness," rather than simply test the alignments in the greater context of the physics they imply.
At the end of their paper, Hoagland and Torun put in three specific predictions about what Voyager would see. They predicted a storm or disturbance within a few degrees of the tetrahedral 19.5° latitude.
Based on their further interpretation of the hyperdimensional physics they were developing, they also predicted that this disturbance would be in the southern hemisphere of the planet, and that the magnetic dipole polarity of Neptune's magnetic field would be anchored at the Northern Pole.
This tactic, combining the predictions into a single one instead of three, is a common means of dismissing the frequency of Hoagland and Torun's successes.
As Harvard astronomer Halton Arp put it in his excellent book, Seeing Red,
There is, flatly, no way that Hoagland and Torun could use a set of "meaningless" or "fallacious" data to make three such accurate predictions about features on a planet the human race had never seen up close before.
These features have no explanation in the conventional models, at least as far as providing a mechanism for the storm, the location of the storm, and its relationship to the magnetic pole of the planet. In other words, there is no way they could have just "gotten lucky" by using established models of the solar system.
Their predictions come solely from the Cydonia Geometric Alignment model.
This is not only a ringing endorsement of the validity of both the measurements and the physics model deduced from them, but also a harsh indictment of the methods and motives of both Greenberg and Malin (Greenberg at one point challenged Hoagland to a "debate" on the mathematics of Cydonia, but only if he could exclude Crater's tetrahedral mound data, which he acknowledged he could not explain away).