Chapter Seven

An Eye for an Eye

I In July 24, 1998, with no prior announcement, the Society for Planetary SETI Research (SPSR) quietly delivered to NASA a report on the new Mars Global Surveyor images of the Cydonia region.


One day later, the summary of this report was placed on the web at the home site of SPSR member Dr. Stanley McDaniel. No mention was made of which NASA officials received the report, and the actual contents of the report were listed but not released to the public.

The summary, as written by Dr. Horace Crater, was a timid document that barely scratched the surface of the anomalies present in the three new MGS images. It focused almost exclusively on the Face, mentioning the other plainly anomalous features of the region only in passing. Some obviously geometric areas supportive of Hoagland's arcology model of the Cydonian monuments and the hyperdimensional physics hypothesis derived from them were completely ignored.


In addition, Crater misrepresented Hoagland's descriptions by cryptically referring to "speculative individuals" who claimed the city objects were pyramids and that the City Square was "a major object of concern."

Hoagland had proposed the arcology (architectural ecology) model back in the early 1990s, and the City Square was but one of numerous objects cited by him in the geometric relationship model of Cydonia. Dr. Crater also ignored the fact that Hoagland - on nationwide radio - had asked for images not of the City Square, but of the Fortress, D&M and the Cliff.


These were hardly the acts of someone obsessed with the City Square. As for the pyramids reference, the major features of the city were given identifiers (Main Pyramid, Western Pyramid) by architect Robert Fiertek, not by Hoagland.

The SPSR report seemed to (falsely) link Hoagland with features or theories not well borne out in the new images (the central mound in the city square is somewhat indistinct, and the so-called pyramids are obviously not GizaŽstyle colossi). In reality, the new images were littered with symbolic and overt structures reinforcing his stated concepts.


If such "speculative individuals" were really so speculative (read - not thorough or careful), why the need to lie about their positions?

The summary also asserted that "as far as we know, the work done by SPSR scientists constitutes the only careful study of the images in relation to the Viking data..." This flatly specious statement hinged its mendacity on the word "careful."


By inserting this single word along with the opening equivocation, Crater swept aside assessments and enhancements done by Hoagland and others immediately after the release of the images. All that was required was an evaluation (by SPSR of course) that these studies were not "careful" enough.

The assessments of the Face and other objects that actually made it in the report were remarkably banal. SPSR mentioned only the most indisputable anomalies of the landforms (like the symmetry of the Face platform), and did so in a conservative, almost bashful manner.


Mark Carlotto continued to refer to the Face as "highly eroded" when it is in fact quite remarkably well preserved (far more so than our own earthly Sphinx, for instance) - and he was even unwilling to acknowledge the spherical pupil in the western eye socket, despite its presence in three confirming images over three separate missions. Crater then cited a discovery of "considerable importance" - a crater in the area with ice in it.


Now, to be fair, the presence of water ice on the surface of Mars has some geologic significance, but compared to the various triangles, hexagons and buildings in the images, it's pretty tame. SPSR seemed to feel a need to justify further imaging of the region with a legitimate geological anomaly. Hardly the bold sort of leadership required to bring such a controversial subject into the mainstream.

All this added up to a markedly meek and naive report. Little was made of the poor marksmanship of Malin's camera in the new report, for instance, and there was no mention of the data reduction that Hoagland has found on the original Face image. SPSR seemed to be more concerned with winning favor with NASA hierarchy than with providing a clear picture to the American people of just what their newest Mars probe had found.

The implication of these observations was that SPSR, far from being an independent oversight group, was playing an inside game with NASA brass. Dr. McDaniel had flip-flopped on NASA's motives and conduct regarding the Cydonia question, contradicting his own earlier report and proclaiming the
process and principals "honest."


While deploring the conduct of individual JPL employees, the new report failed to point out the obvious, that the PR spin fest after the release of the new Face image was a well-planned and executed political operation, and was entirely consistent with NASA's previous behavior on this issue (as documented by McDaniel himself).


After declaring NASA's earlier conduct to be highly suspicious and even "contrary to [its]... stated policy" in favor of full disclosure of any discoveries of artificial structures in the solar system, McDaniel now seemed ready to ascribe the whole thing to misunderstandings and honest mistakes.

With this latest political move, SPSR had started to take on the foul air of a sell out. Far from pushing NASA to keep public commitments or questioning its behavior, they seemed to be spending more energy dragging their feet and attacking the agency's harshest critics. Nowhere in their report did they push NASA director Dan Goldin to keep his promise to "continue taking images until everyone is satisfied."

The whole issue had taken on added importance because of additional research Hoagland had been doing on the original three MGS Cydonia images. In going back over the original Cydonia Face strip, MOC 22003, he'd taken a closer look at an oddly symmetrical mesa just south of the Face [Fig. 7-1].

It is highly unusual for any kind of natural formation - let alone a mesa hundreds of feet across - to erode symmetrically.


However, this sort of fractal degradation is exactly what one would expect to see from an artificial object of the type proposed for Cydonia. Even more interesting, just beneath the southern edge of this odd mesa was something else - a seemingly collapsed, eroded tetrahedral pyramid.

The only part left of this fractally-eroded pyramid was the lower portion of the southern Face, a bit of the left sidewall, and a bright apex node pointing roughly north. Still, it was fairly easy to reconstruct the original shape from the surviving faces and equidistant corner nodes. Hoagland also noted that his proposed reconstructed apex lay on a line 19.5° off of the central "Face-D&M" line in the geometric relationship model. Another interesting coincidence?

All of this paled however, to what he found next. As he was studying the lower portion of MOC 22003, the part that covered about one fifth of the northern portion of the D&M, he noticed something strange. As he worked to enhance it, it became more obvious what it was [Fig. 7-2].

It was writing. Hebrew-Arabic script. On the D&M Pyramid.



Letters From Mars?

Hoagland's mind raced.


He'd been working for months, hoping to find more proof of what he'd suspected from the beginning; that the Catbox image was a second generation fake, or at best a degraded copy. Here, he felt, he finally had what he was looking for. Specific words were difficult to make out, but one of them might have been "Barsoom," the name for Mars in Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels, and also the name of Michael Malin's MSSS website.

Before he could act on this new data, he got an excited call from SPSR's Tom Van Flandern. He'd found the letters too - before Hoagland had.

This complicated matters, because Hoagland wanted to go public with the information, while Van Flandern wanted to hold the letters for future use. In the course of the discussions, Hoagland discovered that the official position inside SPSR was that these symbols were features embedded on the D&M Pyramid itself.


They steadfastly refused to consider the alternative - that someone placed these symbols on the image at Malin's lab, or even JPL. As a result, they were forced into a totally absurd scientific position.

Let's consider this for a minute. If these are really letters on the D&M, then that has all sorts of implications about who put them there. The first assumption must be that Martians - three million years ago, at least - used Hebrew-Arabic lettering in their ancient communications.


And not only that, but they scrawled these modern English language letters on the D&M, like some sort of cosmic graffiti, just for us to find, literally millions of years later. And that these "symbols" just happened to be oriented on the pyramid in such a way that they could be read without even having to rotate the image to make them appear right side up.

A far more plausible explanation is that somebody at MSSS or JPL simply put the letters there. These letters, which are obviously on the original image on the official NASA site, were put on the D&M, an object of obvious interest to us, as a message.


They are clearly meant to confirm that the image has been altered.
Whether this was done as a whistle blowing-move, or simply to rub in the impunity with which MSSS and JPL felt they could manipulate the data, this is clearly a far more logical explanation than SPSR's anonymous "Martian graffiti artists."


Yet, SPSR (through Van Flandern) refused to budge from their ridiculous stance that these symbols were genuinely on the D&M. Beyond that, since they had found them first, they requested that Hoagland not make mention of them. Out of respect for their priority, he agreed.

So Hoagland literally had the smoking gun he had sought to prove that JPL and Malin had been tampering with the Cydonia images, and he was unable to use it. It was small consolation that SPSR claimed they were making headway in an effort to get their papers on Cydonia published in either Science or Nature.

As a result of this fiasco, he decided he could no longer trust the members of SPSR. They were now so entrenched in their "honest but stupid" model of NASA that they couldn't see proof of NASA's duplicity, even when it stared them in the face.


However, that stance would be sorely tested by the events of the next few years.

Oh My God! They Killed MARCH

On September 23, 1999 at 9:06 a.m. UTC, JPL lost contact with the $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) as it passed behind Mars on its final orbit insertion burn.


The spacecraft was carrying the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera under the control of Dr. Michael Malin. JPL scientists were unable to re-establish contact with the spacecraft when it should have re-emerged from behind the Martian disk, and immediately began a series of emergency measures to communicate with the spacecraft.


As with the Mars Observer in 1993, these efforts failed when it was discovered that a navigation error had likely plunged the spacecraft into a terminal crash dive into the Martian atmosphere.

Mars Climate Orbiter was part of NASA's "faster, better, cheaper" Mars Surveyor 1998 program. Teamed with the Mars Global Surveyor and the upcoming Mars Polar Lander, it was to give NASA an unprecedented opportunity to study the geology and environment of Mars, not only from orbit but also from MPL's 195 (19.5?) longitude southern pole landing site.

According to a terse press release,109 the spacecraft was thrown off course when one navigational team in Colorado and the other at JPL used two separate measurement systems (metric and imperial) in key navigational calculations. The Lockheed/Martin team transmitted acceleration data in the English system, and controllers at JPL assumed that it was metric.


According to press reports, this had been ongoing since the December 1998 launch.

This highly implausible and bizarre set of circumstances caused some minor upset on Capitol Hill, but otherwise created nowhere near the firestorm that surrounded the loss of Mars Observer. Still, this very suspicious and convenient "error" had all the usual earmarks of another NASA ritual killing.

The notion that this error could have been induced from the beginning of the mission and gone unnoticed is ridiculous.


The considerations of such an undertaking, the relative positions of the two planets at launch, their relative speeds as they orbit the sun, their rotational speeds and the gravitational effects of not only the two major bodies but also of most of the other objects in the solar system - all must be accounted for in the elegant dance called "celestial mechanics."


While exceedingly complex, these factors are also exceedingly well-defined and predictable.

This is why all missions are set up on the concept of waypoints. As the spacecraft travels the millions of miles from one world to the next, it passes a series of check points at which its position, speed and trajectory are checked against the predictions. Any deviation is immediately noted and a course correction burn is initiated as necessary - and the farther away and faster it goes, the more pronounced an error would become.


According to AP:

"The bad numbers had been used ever since the spacecraft's launch last December, but the effect was so small that it went unnoticed. The difference added up over the months as the spacecraft journeyed toward Mars."

To anyone with the slightest understanding of measurement systems and orbital mechanics, this statement, apparently sourced from inside NASA, is ludicrous. The conversion factor from pounds of thrust (imperial) to Newtons (metric) is 4.44 Newtons to the pound.


This means that from the beginning of the mission, the velocity calculations should have been off by some 75%! And nobody noticed this "minute" error?

In fact, by the time of the MOI burn, the spacecraft should not have been anywhere near Mars. That is why NASA's explanation (excuse) is so unbelievable. If there were any error introduced and not noticed by the "honest folks" at JPL, it would almost certainly have had to come at the MOI burn itself.

Even Van Flandern, SPSR's resident anti-conspiracist and defender of the system, was forced to admit the obvious:

"I wouldn't take the cover story literally - it's just an excuse the public might be able to understand and sympathize with, but with little connection to reality. We'll find out the truth when the outside investigation releases its report." 110

But there are, as always, other reasons to be suspicious of JPL's motives and explanations. In watching the stars above JPL at the moment that the fatal burn was initiated, we see the expected Masonic/Egyptian ritual stellar alignments.


Alnilam, the center belt star of Orion/Osiris, the Egyptian god of death, resurrection and the afterlife was positioned at the ubiquitous 19.5° tetrahedral altitude as the engine was fired. Five minutes later, as MCO slipped from view behind the occultation of Mars itself, Mintaka had assumed the 19.5° ritual position.

The mission patch reinforces this tetrahedral pattern for Mars Polar Lander. It depicts a triangular shape, with Earth, MCO and Polar Lander in the vertices, and Mars in the center. It even shows a hint of Mars' rich watery past, with an ocean and dense atmosphere covering half the planet. And of course the Polar Lander was scheduled to touch down at 195 W longitude when it landed.

It is the authors' position that this implies a deliberate, ritual "tetrahedral" act on the part of Malin/JPL, either to destroy MCO or to take it "black" for their own purposes. It could be, however, that the alignments were originally intended to commemorate another successful Mars arrival to the in-crowd.


This would be a further indication that whatever was done to the spacecraft was a last minute decision, not an error induced months before. However, the feeble and obviously hastily conceived "metric" excuse speaks to a desperate need to take the spacecraft "dark."

So just what could be fueling this desperate need?


Malin has often feigned indignance at the notion that he had anything to do with the disappearance of Mars Observer, and has claimed it cost him money and prestige. Yet, despite his complaints, as we have seen, he was subsequently given the exclusive contract for the camera on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft and then the Mars Color Imager.


He remains NASA's one and only "Mars boy" when it comes to orbital images of the 'Red' Planet.

This may have been the problem. MARCI was in many ways a better camera than the one on the MGS. Its wide angle camera was capable of images of the Martian surface at an average of 7.2 km per pixel. However, under optimal conditions it could get resolutions of one km per pixel, good enough to significantly illuminate the arguments vis-a-vis Cydonia - but the medium resolution camera was even better.


According to Aviation Week & Space Technology (September 27, 1999):

"MCO carried a Mars Color Imager (MARCI), designed to observe atmospheric processes on a global scale and study the interaction between the atmosphere and the surface of the planet.


Medium and wide-angle coverage were to be provided in ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared wavelengths.


The medium-angle portion of the system was to have a resolution of forty meters (130 ft.) in eight [sic - 10] colors to characterize surface properties and changes in surface dust cover."

In other words, this "medium" resolution camera was capable of providing images some 20% better than Viking.


The addition of multi-spectral color, infrared and UV bands would have placed the instrument on a par with the highly degraded Face image released by MSSS in April 1998. Its near infrared capability would have also given the instrument a significant degree of "ground penetration" in the images sent back.

So, just as with the disappearance of Mars Observer (remember, under intense political pressure), taking MCO and its medium resolution, full multi-spectral color camera "black" would have given Malin and co. plenty of opportunity to review just what would be revealed by MARCI or a comparable instrument (like the upcoming THEMIS imager on the Mars Odyssey 2001 mission).


Was history repeating itself?

A few months later, the second half of the Mars Surveyor 1998 mission also went missing when the Mars Polar Lander simply disappeared during its de-orbit burn. As with Mars Climate Orbiter, there was a significant alignment over JPL that fit the ritual system.


This time, we saw Regulus, the heart of the lion in Leo, dead on the horizon when the command was sent to MCO to begin the de-orbit burn. While Leo represents Horus, this was the first time such an alignment had appeared in the system. We took note of it, but did not consider it necessarily a major "hit," despite the fortuitous timing.

Following this second failure in as many missions, NASA director Dan Goldin appointed a commission headed by Thomas Young, formerly of Lockheed Martin, to investigate not only the MPL disappearance but also the entire Mars program at JPL.


Then, just a few days before Young issued his report, former NASA chief debunker James Oberg published a story on UPI that accused JPL employees of knowing full well that the MPL was doomed (due to software problems related to the spacecraft's landing legs) from very early on in the mission. JPL employees rabidly denied the report, using words like "bunk," "complete nonsense" and "wacko" to describe their reactions to Oberg's charge.111

Young's scathing report was subsequently delivered to Congress, the White House and the press - in addition to attempting to identify the immediate cause of the Mars Polar Lander failure, the Report went on at length to probe an insidious series of more fundamental "management shortcomings" that had taken place at JPL.


The Report underscored that the underlying reason for these shortfalls was Goldin's own decision to mandate the, "faster, better, cheaper" space management philosophy.

In response to the report's grave findings, Goldin immediately moved to institute major changes at JPL. He not only appointed a new "Mars Czar" at NASA Headquarters to oversee all future Mars exploration programs (thus taking such management away from JPL), but the man he picked - Dr. Scott Hubbard - came from one of JPL's long-term rivals within the "NASA family": the NASA-Ames Research Center in Northern California.

This was apparently only the first step in a series of new moves, designed ultimately to win back agency management authority over Mars from JPL. Based on this, we began to wonder if we were seeing the playing out of the scenario that Mark Carlotto had referred to after the initial SPSR meeting with Carl Pilcher in November 1998.


Was there a growing friction between those at the agency that wanted the ground truth of Mars revealed (NASA headquarters) and those that still wanted to hold onto the idea of a cold, dead Mars (JPL)?

If it was the goal of NASA Headquarters to seize control of Mars from JPL, then deliberately allowing the lab to gradually overextend itself with "faster, better, cheaper" would, in effect, push JPL into the inevitable spacecraft failures it was now experiencing - but that left us with a fairly difficult question: if NASA headquarters wanted to usurp control over the unmanned Mars programs coming out of JPL, why didn't Goldin simply order it to be done?


As NASA Administrator, he (theoretically) had authority over every division of his agency.

Yet following NASA's damaging previous two weeks, stretching from Oberg's initial bizarre UPI accusation to the release of the Young Report, Dan Goldin flew on March 29, 2000 to JPL itself. His mission: to address the beleaguered personnel, scientists and engineers of the laboratory, and to advise them of the new political and engineering realities, while simultaneously exhorting them to continue to new heights under more stringent NASA management.

Goldin's speech was provocatively titled "When the Best Must Do Even Better." It was in the second paragraph of his prepared text that Goldin gave the game away:

Td also like to acknowledge Admiral Inman, head of the PL Oversight Committee at Caltech. He couldn't be here today, hut I talked to him by phone. His commitment to the team here is also unwavering. And I thank him for that...112

The "Admiral Inman" he was referring to was Admiral Bobby Inman, former director of the National Security Agency, deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, vice director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and former Director of Naval Intelligence.


He was once memorably referred to by Newsweek as "a superstar in the intelligence community."


A White House press release,113 issued on the occasion of President Clinton's 1993 recommendation that Inman be confirmed as Secretary of Defense, noted: "As he rose through these posts, Inman won the Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy's highest non-combatant award, and the DIA's Defense Superior Service Medal for "achievements unparalleled in the history of intelligence."

So what was the nation's most celebrated spook doing heading an oversight committee at one of its leading private universities and, specifically, a committee overseeing all civilian unmanned exploration of the planet Mars? Could it have anything to do with Viking's discovery, a quarter of a century before, of a set of artificial ruins at Cydonia and the potential national security consequences of that discovery?

The blatant flagging by Administrator Goldin of Admiral Inman's name was obviously not accidental. The staggering implications of the most accomplished alumnae of the current intelligence community having legal oversight responsibilities of JPL's supposedly civilian space activities drove home all the "alternative scenarios" that we'd discussed for many years, certainly going back to the missing Mars Observer.


In light of Inman's presence, the idea that these latest Mars missions also weren't truly lost at all seemed far more likely. It was reinforced even more strongly when a Caltech spokesman revealed he'd been on the committee for "at least eight years" - in other words, since just before Mars Observer disappeared.

This also meant, obviously, that he served on the Caltech committee while in his active capacity as Secretary of Defense of the United States. At this point, we could smell blood in the water.

Hoagland and Bell (and subsequently Mike Siegel, who replaced Art as host of Coast to Coast AM when Art abruptly retired from the air for family reasons) took the opportunity to use the radio program to inundate Washington, and specifically Senator John McCain of Arizona, with a fax and e-mail campaign.


It had been nearly two years since the first three MGS images of Cydonia had been released, and no one had held Goldin to his promise to keep taking pictures of the region. Over that same time period, there had been at least a dozen Cydonia imaging opportunities during the primary science mapping period of the mission. McCain was on the senatorial committee that oversaw NASA, and he obviously got the message.


McCain called Senate hearings on the contents of the Young report, and lambasted Goldin in front of the committee:

"If the media reports are true - that NASA withheld critical information from the public and elected officials - then the trust that is vital between this government and its citizens has been violated and warrants a very serious examination of how this agency operates."

And then, after a few more days of the fax and e-mail campaign:

"This report is an embarrassment to the agency. I believe it's important that this committee exercises more rigorous oversight of NASA from this point forward."

This latter comment must have sent Shockwaves through the NASA hierarchy, because just two days later, on the second anniversary of the Catbox fiasco, everything came to a head.


Without notice, and in violation of NASA's stated policy on Cydonia, Dr. Malin released nine previously unseen images of the region to the internet, some of which he had held on to for more than a year. Although Malin's "exclusive rights" contract with NASA/JPL gave him the right to withhold images for up to a one-year period, Administrator Goldin had specifically exempted Cydonia from that constriction.

Clearly, this new image release was cynically designed to curry favor with congressional critics and reinforce the idea that NASA was open and honest. But, by proving what the authors had asserted all along - that Malin had far more images of the region than he had released - it in fact showed that the system of public accountability had all but broken down at JPL.

Reconstruction of the orbital parameters revealed fifteen science mapping imaging opportunities for Cydonia in the previous two years, not to mention the Science Phasing Orbit opportunities between October 1997 and May 1998, when MGS was passing over Cydonia every nine days, creating several dozen more chances to take images of the area.


So the question hung there: If there had been fifteen imaging opportunities and Malin had released only nine what had happened to the other six?

Malin, in various scientific meetings over the previous two years as well as in a published interview in Smithsonian Magazine (September 1999), had gone to great lengths to describe the "terrible arm twisting by NASA Headquarters" that ultimately forced him against his better scientific instincts to acquire the three original MGS Cydonia images in April 1998.


In these public protestations, he also vowed (because it was "simply awful science") to "never do it again" - despite what NASA had agreed to:

"His least favorites (images) are the ones NASA ordered him to take of the so-called Face on Mars... According to Malin, it cost $400,000 to take the new pictures.


There were other targets that could have been viewed on that same orbit, including volcanoes on Elysium that would not likely come into view again.

'Does the government spend money on ghost research?' Malin asks. 'Or the Loch Ness monster? Or the lost continent of Atlantis? I think the Face was a kind of stupid thing to spend money on.'"

Yet here we had found, when push came to shove, that he had been privately imaging the hell out Cydonia, despite the fact there was virtually no public pressure to do so.

Indeed, several of his nine new images had required Malin to point the MGS camera "off nadir" - essentially taking an image at an angle other than straight down. Since MGS is a "nadir pointing" spacecraft and Malin's camera cannot be gimbaled, the entire spacecraft must be rotated in order to take an image of anything on the Martian surface that is not directly below the spacecraft.

He cannot do this alone. While Malin has total control over the imaging sequences of the MGS camera, he has no say in how the spacecraft is oriented to acquire those images.


In order for him to have even attempted to obtain many of the new images, he would have had to submit his request through channels at JPL and have the approval of project managers to spend the money to have the commands worked up and then transmitted to the spacecraft.


An off-nadir image of this sort involves a fairly convoluted dance between Malin, mission planners at JPL and the uplink dishes required to send the orders to control the "momentum wheels" which actually reorient the spacecraft. So, JPL would have been aware of several attempts by Malin to re-image Cydonia.

After all this, were we really to believe Dr. Malin - who was obviously a bald-faced liar when he feigned no interest in Cydonia - if he claimed that he just didn't take the other six pictures? How plausible was it, really, that he just skipped six opportunities while in the midst of his Cydonia photography binge?

Anecdotally, both Vincent Dipietro and "Communion" author Whitley Strieber stated on Coast to Coast AM that JPL scientists told them that Malin had been taking so many pictures of the Face in the last two years that they could not get time on the MGS for their own research.


If this was true, and Malin's obviously overwhelming interest in Cydonia makes it likely that it was, where were these images?


And even more, if these images clearly showed the Face to be natural, why would he not release them immediately? After all, if they supported his public contention that "this is all nonsense," he could have ended the debate long before by simply putting out the images of these supposedly "natural" features - but he hadn't.

The nine images themselves pretty well blanketed the Cydonia complex. Malin, despite his earlier claims of targeting difficulties, had no problem nailing several of the key features of the region including the Tholus, the Fort and the majority of the City - but he seemed to have completely missed the Face itself. According to the image maps, he did make an attempt to image a portion of the Face in mid-February 2000, but a sequencing error caused the loss of most of that day's data.

What he did get was more than a little interesting. He managed to get several more of the tetrahedrally arranged mounds, and a direct, high-resolution hit on the Tholus, a rounded object completely at odds geologically with the rest of Cydonia.


Earlier shape-from-shading computer enhancements had shown that the Tholus had some sort of peak at the top. The new MGS image revealed for the first time what that peak actually was - a fractally eroding tetrahedron [Fig. 7-3].

This still-discernable structure once again exquisitely reinforced our previous geometric relationship model for the entire Cydonia Complex. One of the edges pointed due north, straight through the Cliff, while another was aligned with the D&M apex.

In addition to the Tholus itself, there was also a cluster of partially buried dome-like objects, just north of the Tholus on the image strip, with regularly spaced, archway-like entrances at their bases.

Also of great interest was the Fort, imaged for the first time under better, overhead lighting. What had seemed to be an angled, interior foundation with walls was now revealed to be apparently a very strange looking "mesa."

Having extracted these nine images from Malin's cold storage box, we weren't about to let up on the gas pedal.


Hoagland quickly arranged a public lecture in Senator McCain's back yard, Scottsdale, Arizona, and invited the senator, his wife and staff to attend. Ironically, just as Hoagland would take the stage at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts around 2:30, May 7, 2000, MGS would be passing over Cydonia with an ideal chance to take a direct, almost perfect overhead view of the Face under ideal lighting conditions.

We don't know if Dr. Malin ever took an image of Cydonia that day, because one has never been released. Perhaps he was too busy.

As it turned out, what we did get, two weeks later, were twenty thousand previously embargoed images of Mars. A quick scan of the ancillary data showed that a great many of the images were actually prepped for the web on Sunday, May 7, 2000, literally as Hoagland was making his presentation to the public.


Although no new views of Cydonia were among them, this massive image release (and a subsequent release of thirty thousand more images later that year) provided a treasure trove of new data to scour - and Mars did not disappoint us.

The Glass Tunnels of Barsoom

Almost immediately, the authors, as well as numerous amateur researchers, began to find extraordinary anomalies all over Mars.


Ranging from what appeared to be pools of standing water (with waves) to long tubular constructs with supporting cross-members, to meandering streams and rivers, to entire towns full of block like buildings and symmetrical installations, there was seemingly no limit to the oddities of Mars.


Near the South Pole, an image strip was found which seemed to show lush, growing vegetation [Fig. 7-4].

"Arthur's Bushes," as they came to be known, bore a striking resemblance to terrestrial banyan trees, and images showed them growing and receding as the Martian summer waxed and waned.


They were named for English visionary Sir Arthur C. Clarke, probably best known to followers of our investigation for taking Richard C. Hoagland's ideas about life in the oceans of Europa and using them to create his novel 2010, the long awaited sequel to 2001.

There was another image, even more extraordinary, which had caught Clarke's eye even before the "banyan trees" - found by Hoagland, the image is located in an ancient ocean bed which has rifted apart due to some sort of cataclysmic stress, and appears to be nothing less than a series of interlocking, reinforced and still intact translucent, glass-like tubes. [Fig. 7-5]

Reinforced by regularly-spaced, cylindrical arches, this clearly defined translucent structure seems to be running along a hollowed out section of the former ocean floor.


The clear "glass" tube can be easily seen running the length of the rift, and there is a distinct edge where the clear tube wraps around the arches. The composition of the tube is given away even more directly by a brilliant specular reflection.


This reflection is not associated with any kind of geologic feature (it seems to be simply hanging in space), effectively demolishing the argument that "wind polished rocks" are responsible for the many brilliant features of the Martian surface.

Critics in the past attempted to pass off similar arches as "sand dunes." To be sure, there are some superficial resemblances between these "arches" (and similar structures near the base of some pyramids at Cydonia) and real sand dunes - but on any sort of close examination, the "sand dunes" argument quickly falls apart.

We quickly found many images of real sand dunes on the surface of Mars.


They are irregularly spaced, vary in length, have diffuse edges and are the same color and texture as the surrounding terrain. They are also restricted mostly to flat, wide plains, and are not parallel to each other, even when the topography does not interfere with wind patterns. By contrast, the arches on the glass tube are regularly spaced, nearly identical in length and breadth, and wrap around the surrounding features.


They have completely different albedo properties than the surrounding terrain (indicating they are made from different material), and are restricted to the specific area of the glass tunnel.


Note also that they are sharp-edged and tubular, suggesting that they are individual structural features rather than drifting mounds of piled-up sand.

After seeing the images on Hoagland's website, Clarke made a fuss about them at an event in December 2000 hosted by Carl Sagan's Planetary Society. Clarke's flat statement, that he believed the images constituted evidence of life on Mars (he was thinking of the "glass tubes" as potentially fossil remains), made Society chairman Louis Friedman acutely uncomfortable - so much so, in fact, that he abruptly ended the video conference with Clarke.


Friedman is remembered by Monuments readers as the guy who refused to look at images of Cydonia while attending a meeting with Carl Sagan, John Brandenburg and Dr. David Webb of the Mars Investigation Group, at one point hiding his own face behind a stack of books to prevent himself from seeing the images of the Face.


Sagan eventually gave up trying to get Friedman to look, and then told Brandenburg and Webb that he would deny the meeting took place if he were ever asked about it.

Clarke upped the ante a few months later, during a visit to his Sri Lanka home by Buzz Aldrin, the Apollo 11 astronaut.


Clarke used the occasion, covered by, to reinforce his earlier statements, saying,

"I'm fairly convinced that we have discovered life on Mars. There are some incredible photographs from (the Jet Propulsion Laboratory), which to me are pretty convincing proof of the existence of large forms of life on Mars! Have a look at them. I don't see any other interpretation."

NASA's staff geologists were swift to respond.


First, they attacked Clarke personally; second, they attacked the images themselves; and thirdly, Dr. David Pieri and others attacked the authors, implying we had altered the images. Their counterclaims were quickly disproven, however.114


The sole remaining issue to be addressed was the question of light direction. Using photoclinometry (shape-from-shading), a pair of independent researchers ran some experiments with a ribbed plastic bottle to simulate the "tubes."


The resultant experiments ended with a very close match to the tube in the visual image, strongly implying that the glass tube was just that, a convex, 3D cylindrical tube. Amateurs soon found many other examples similar to the original glass tubes in various MGS images.


However, just as the debate over their reality reached a crescendo, Dr. Malin surprised us again...

An Eye for an Eye

On the last day of January 2001, with no warning to anyone in the planetary science community or the independent investigators, Malin Space Science Systems principal investigator Michael Malin released a close-up image of the western half of the Face on Mars.115


In the same image batch, Malin (also for the first time) released an image of the Cliff, another anomalous feature of the Cydonia region [Fig. 7-9].116

Initially it was very difficult to determine when the image was actually taken, since the normal ancillary data was not linked to the page. It was not until several months later that the ancillary data was actually posted to the page, and it revealed that Malin had taken the Face image back in early March 2000.


It was during this time that he and NASA were under intense pressure from Administrator Goldin and Senator McCain, but somehow he had neglected to include this image in his April 2000 Cydonia data dump.

By not issuing a notice that the image would be taken and then withholding it for almost a year, Malin was once again in violation of NASA's stated policy on Cydonia. In fact, it could be argued that he was in violation on seven counts, since he released six other Cydonia images taken between March 2000 and January 2001 at the same time.

Despite the fact that this was undeniably the best (though partial) view of the Face yet, there were problems. The stated resolution of the image (1.7 meters per pixel) was not exactly the whole story. As with the previous MGS view of the Face, there is a large amount of noise in the image, suggesting that the full range of contrast was not made available to the MOC.


Since actual image resolution is a function of both spatial resolution and contrast range, the actual image resolution is more like five to six meters per pixel. This same problem on the previous 1998 MGS Face image had the effect of reducing the actual resolution to around fourteen meters per pixel, as opposed to the stated resolution of around five meters per pixel.

What all this induced noise does is make it more difficult to discern the fine structure of a given feature. And the basically overhead sun angle also has the effect of washing out details. That said, this new image was still remarkably revealing.

More than nine years before, former NASA imaging specialist Vince Dipietro proposed that his new analysis of the Viking Face images showed the presence of not only what appeared to be an "eye socket," but also evidence of a "pupil" of the right size and shape to be a representation of such human features [Fig. 7-7].


Despite the fact that other researchers using different imaging techniques found the same feature, his prediction was ridiculed at that time by individuals both inside and outside of NASA, and his "bit-slice" imaging technique was roundly criticized.

Now, it seemed, Dipietro would have the last laugh.

The most noticeable thing about the new image (a narrow swath cutting across the center forehead region of the Face and down across the right eye socket to the corner of the mouth) is that what appeared to be an actual "eye socket" and "pupil" in the earlier Viking and MGS images are, in fact, just that.


The "eye socket" was perfectly shaped and positioned to represent a human eye (even including a tear duct) and even though the outlines of the socket are somewhat faded from the sun angle and lack of contrast, it took very little imagination (or enhancement) to determine just what the original shape truly was, and it was easy to artistically enhance the clearly present and obviously genuine contours of the socket to reflect them as they might have appeared in their heyday [Fig. 7-8].

Normally, these kinds of interpretations are dismissed as just that, an interpretation, but in this case absolutely no "fudging" was required.


Simply emphasizing the lines that are flatly present on the structure produces the extraordinary result - and the presence of the "pupil," so controversial previously, could now be placed alongside most of the other predictions of the various independent Cydonia researchers, as proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It's an eyeball.

In addition, we could also see (in spite of the noise) some incredible details in the fine structure of the Face as well [Fig. 7-9]. Around the eye socket was a set of very regular, geometric shapes that appeared to be a sort of honeycomb cellular structure on the Face itself.


This very anomalous and decidedly artificial pattern is exactly what Hoagland had predicted (in Monuments) we would find on the Face when we eventually got a good enough look. He had argued that the Face was not just a Mt. Rushmore-type re-carving of an ancient Martian mesa, but a 3D, architectural, "high-tech" construct. That, with high enough resolution, it would begin to reveal precisely those necessary (though now badly eroded) architectural details of which it truly is composed.

So once again, the higher resolution images had confirmed earlier predictions of the artificiality model. However, after nearly three years with MGS in orbit around Mars, we had grown tired of Malin dancing around the subject at hand.


It was time for a full-on high resolution image of the Face, and we were ready to push for it.


Chapter Seven Images













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