FACETS and the Face
"All government agencies lie part of the time, but NASA is the only
one I've ever encountered that does so routinely."
- George A. Keyworth, Science Advisor to President Reagan and Director of the
Office of Science and Technology Policy, in testimony before
Congress, March 14, 1985
Just as we prepared to jump back into the political game with NASA,
SPSR beat us to it.
We had heard through the grapevine that Stan
McDaniel, the erstwhile leader of the organization, was
contemplating "retirement" from the Cydonia problem. Word was that
he felt he'd been snookered - and publicly humiliated - when NASA
had released the Catbox image after he had pronounced their November
1997 meeting a "breakthrough in communications" on his website.
Evidently faced with either reversing his position on NASA again, or
simply withdrawing from the game, he'd chosen the latter option.
This void left Dr. Van Flandern as the de facto leader of the
self-described "serious Cydonia researchers."
His first act in that capacity was to call a press conference at the
Washington Press Club on April 2001, the third anniversary of the
Catbox fiasco, after the journals Science and Nature had rejected
all of their Cydonia papers - and informed them that the question of
extraterrestrial artifacts was on a short list along with UFOs,
Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster as subjects that would never be
published in their pages.
He spent nearly 90 minutes - after paying for the room for two hours
at a cost of around $10,000 - droning on about various aspects of
the Cydonia research that anyone who had heard him on the Art Bell
show had heard many times before.
Of course, since Van Flandern
himself had only about three years of active participation in the
issues of Cydonia, the presentation was built solidly on the work of
other researchers (mostly Hoagland) - which incredibly, for the most
part he consistently failed to properly attribute.
That was insulting enough, but he then went on to discuss the
writing on the D&M. Once again, he reiterated the absurd notion that
these were actually Arabic letters on the structure itself. It would
have been bad enough if Van Flandern and his SPSR colleagues had
stopped right there - but, as if to further erode their own
remaining credibility, the press kit presentation Van Flandern
handed out (and actually mailed across the country) then devolved
into a ridiculous series of "pictographs" supposedly present on the
Van Flandern at least had the presence of mind to
not bring these images up at the actual Press Club briefing, but
their presence as graphics on the press conference web link, and in
the hard copy press kit, was an abominable political move.
These supposed "pictographs" represented what SPSR's best minds
imagined that they saw, because no rational person could
convincingly argue that they are actually on the Martian sands.
Everything from a "scorpion" (actually a collapsed structure found
by Hoagland in 1998)117 to a "child" to an "antlered animal" to a
"dolphin" to (we're not kidding here) "Nefertiti" - was found on
Mars, according to SPSR's rejected "scientific paper." There was
seemingly no limit to what these guys imagined that they saw without
any collateral mathematical context or substantiation (unlike
Cydonia) - and as anyone with any experience with media can easily
attest, there is no quicker way to bury yourself with the press than
to wildly speculate along the lines of this demonstrable projection.
No wonder Nature and Science refused to even consider SPSR's
"scientific" paper on Cydonia. SPSR had become so intellectually
trapped by their insistence that there were no NASA conspiracies
that they had now publicly embarrassed themselves. Luckily, thanks
to the Catbox image three years before, virtually no major press
showed up at the "event."
That didn't stop Van Flandern from
revisiting the Catbox in order to assign the most benign motive to
Malin's duplicitous behavior around its acquisition, and JPL's
participation in its creation. SPSR's semi-official position was
that yes, the Catbox image was deliberately degraded, but it was
only done by JPL to "protect their funding-This dubious (if not
ridiculous) position is based on the idea that admitting the truth
about Cydonia would inevitably result in a manned mission to
Mars, and in such a venture JPL would be out of the funding loop.
They cite the Apollo program (and the cessation of the unmanned
lunar probes a few years before) as a stark example of how this
would come to pass, then point to the lack of unmanned lunar
missions after Apollo as the clincher - except, of course, their
notion of history is demonstrably wrong, and their reasoning
The simple fact of the matter is that the Ranger, Surveyor and Lunar
Orbiter programs were not run independently of the manned program at
NASA, but to support it.
Their sole function (after Apollo was
announced) was to map and examine the lunar surface to prepare for
the manned landings a few years later. A Mars-manned program would
presumably follow the same pattern.
In reality, a commitment to a manned Mars program would be the best
thing that ever happened to JPL. They'd have more work than they
could handle, sending probe after probe to map the Martian surface
(as much land area as all the continents of Earth combined) to pave
the way for the manned landings, just as they did in the heady days
It was now obvious to us that the SPSR crowd would do anything to
avoid admitting the truth - that JPL was deliberately covering up
the evidence of artifacts on the surface of Mars. To do that would
be to admit that ours - and not theirs - was the correct model for
the motives behind NASA's twenty years of aberrant behavior
vis-a-vis Cydonia. And that, apparently, was politically impossible.
This absurd refusal to acknowledge that JPL's resistance to getting
good images of the Face is rooted in a deep imperative to maintain
political control over public reaction to the "unthinkable reality"
of artificial structures on Mars led the authors to sever all ties
to the group.
We printed a scathing review of the press briefing on
the Enterprise Mission website, and while Hoagland would continue to
support Van Flandern's work on the Exploded Planet Hypothesis and
other areas of agreement, we decided to go our own way on Cydonia.
FACETS and the Face
Coincident to SPSR's disastrous press conference, Dr. Malin marked
the three-year anniversary of the Catbox by releasing another batch
of 10,230 hi-resolution Mars images to the internet.
this release were three more images taken in and around the portion
of Cydonia that included the Face and other artifacts.
Unfortunately, Malin had managed only to get another partial image
of the Face, but just miss (again) the still largely unseen eastern
half of the monument. Somehow, the man who seemed able to target
objects like the Cliff (which is narrower than the Face) with
pinpoint accuracy just kept missing this most crucial piece of
Cydonian real estate - the Face itself.
A clear shot of the eastern half was crucial to settle another area
of disagreement with members of SPSR. In various publications they
had taken the staunch position that the Face was a symmetrical human
visage, while Hoagland had speculated (and predicted) as far back as
1992 (at the UN) that the eastern half had a feline aspect.
a JPL source had recently confirmed to Hoagland that the eastern
side of the Face did possess this puzzling "feline" aspect.
By the early 1990s, Hoagland had come to the conclusion that the
Face was significantly asymmetric. While broad features, like the
platform and the two visible "eye sockets" were generally aligned,
Hoagland decided upon close examination of the original Viking data
that the overall features would be significantly asymmetric when new
imagery of the entire feature was obtained.
for this apparent divergence were bandied about among the other Cydonia researchers at the time (including that it was not a face at
all, or that the right side was "significantly" eroded), while
Hoagland began seriously thinking that such asymmetry was actually
Kynthia Lynne, the Enterprise Mission art director, was in
the process of sculpting successive 3D models of the Face in this
She saw - and even modeled - the same asymmetry, but
was uncertain of the cause. It was only years later, after the
acquisition of the 1998 Catbox image, that Kynthia - working to
bring her 3D analog Face sculpture into conformity with the new data
- became a convert to Hoagland's specific asymmetry ideal, that the
right-hand (Cliff) side was specifically intended to represent a
Even afterwards, however, a few of the other scientists working the
Cydonia problem continued to argue that the Face had to be
symmetrical, and attempted to persuade Kynthia to re-sculpt her
model to conform, as a "valid reconstruction of the original
design." As previously noted, Hoagland hadn't bought that the
"original" shape was anything like a symmetric form - and, more
importantly, not necessarily even human.
One key reason was an
experiment that he'd conducted; Hoagland had taken a series of
cutouts of large photographic blow-ups of the Face from the Viking
data and made himself two faces - one mirrored from the western or
"City side," and one mirrored from the eastern or "Cliff side."
he found astounded him [Fig. 8-1].
When the two "city halves" were put together, they created a
distinct (if primitive) proto-human form - a clear "hominid"
appearance. When the Cliff side halves were placed together, they
created the markedly feline image on the right. Hoagland later made
a major point of this during his 1992 UN presentation, and included
the feline side prediction in all subsequent versions of his book
The Monuments of Mars.
When the first MGS image was released in
April 1998, Hoagland again went on nationwide radio and television,
reiterating his position that the Face was two distinct Faces, and
that one was feline. He even posted the old and new images pointing
out feline characteristics of the
Face on the Enterprise Mission website at the time.
So while a full daylight overhead view of the Face might not exactly
be the holy grail of Cydonia research, it could certainly go a long
way toward deciding yet another crucial aspect of the argument. Was
the Face a symmetrical human visage, or did it have some other,
deeper and even more mysterious message to send us?
The question now was how to extract an overhead image from Malin and
the lab when they seemed so intent on preventing us from having it.
Into this void stepped Peter Gersten and David Jinks.
as the lead counsel for Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) had
fought and won previous actions against the U.S. government under
the Freedom of Information Act, was designated as the lawyer for a
new group, FACETS, the Formal Action Committee on Extraterrestrial
Studies. Jinks, an anomalist and author, put forward a substantial
amount of money to contract Gersten's services.
Along with the
authors, Gersten and Jinks formed FACETS as a new public interest
lobby for those of us that wanted more from NASA and JPL than we had
been given to date. It was thought that such an organization (with
open membership) might have more pull with the reluctant space
FACETS' first act as an entity unto itself was to compose a letter
to NASA, specifically to administrator Goldin.
The letter contained
three specific requests, which were to be acted upon within thirty
Post on the internet any and all previously obtained, but still
unreleased, images of the Cydonia area of Mars;
If not already obtained, vertically image the entire structure
known as the "Face" at high resolution with reasonable high sun
lighting, publicly releasing the results immediately; and
Consent to re-image five additional areas of Mars from a list
submitted by FACETS.
As a last bit of motivation, copies of the letter were sent to
Senator McCain, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other
major media outlets. Since we had no idea how this new initiative
would be received, all we could do is sit back and wait.
Well, perhaps "no idea" is less than accurate. For months ahead of
the March 16, 2001 letter, we'd been receiving hints from NASA
through a variety of public and private statements that they might
be amenable to such a formal request. A private source, with
connections to the Bush White House, had informed us that things had
changed behind the scenes at NASA, and that there were forces inside
that wanted a more open policy on Cydonia. So, in reality, we were
putting this alleged "new tone" to the test with our FACETS letter.
Still, first days, then weeks, then more than a month went by with
Finally, on May 15, 2001, Gersten received a reply. In
a letter dated May 11, 2001, from NASA deputy director Dr. Edward Weiler (essentially Goldin's second-in-command), NASA formally
responded to our requests - and also shocked the hell out of us.
First, Weiler defended NASA's conduct on the Face. He denied that
NASA had ever withheld any images of Cydonia (which was laughable,
but it may have been what he'd been told).
But then he made a
"None of the images acquired to date by the MGS/MOC system have been
withheld and indeed, several recently (April 8, 2001) acquired
images, including stereoscopic coverage of the Cydonia feature under
question, have been released via multiple public websites.
NASA responded to the request by FACETS... by initiating a complex
set of MGS spacecraft operations to ensure that the highest possible
resolution images of the Cydonia Tace' feature were acquired. These
spacecraft operations require special care and only a few can be
performed each day.
In addition to 1.5 m per pixel... resolution
images of the Cydonia feature, NASA released a stereo 'anaglyph' of
the feature that allows a viewer with colored 3D glasses to view the
feature in 3D. This is the first release of a 3D image of any
features on Mars acquired in this resolution. Furthermore, NASA has
assembled public website access of ALL MGS images acquired of the
Cydonia Face feature since the start of MGS scientific observations.
Given the challenges of imaging any
feature on Mars (i.e., NASA has yet to find the second Viking
Lander specifically), this has involved considerable effort."
So Weiler was claiming that not only had NASA responded to our
letter by targeting the Face specifically on April 8, 2001, but he
was also claiming that they had already released the image (along
with a stereoscopic 3D version) some time prior to his response.
Obviously, this put us back on our heels. Had we somehow missed
something? Quickly, we went back to scour all the public NASA, JPL
and MSSS websites, but could find no such Face image.
it was not in the public domain, Gersten composed another letter,
this time directly to Weiler, dated May 21, stating bluntly:
"My client requests that you provide it with the specific URL(s)
where these new images can be found. Your statement that NASA has
fully and openly distributed by means of public web-sites all images
obtained of the Cydonia Face feature under question' seems somewhat
disingenuous in light of our inability to find the new images on the
Before we received a response, rumors began to circulate of a hubbub
Our Bush administration source (let's just call him
"Deep Space" from here on out) told us that a new Face image had
indeed been taken, and it was sending ripples, if not Shockwaves,
through the agency.
Hoagland went on Coast to Coast AM on the
evening of the 23rd to inform the audience that the latest report
from Deep Space was that high NASA officials (including Dr. Weiler)
were meeting "late into the night" to try to decide what to do about
the Face question.
There were even rumblings of a press conference
being scheduled for the next day. Instead, all we got was the
In the late morning of the 24 of May, NASA abruptly released the
first MGS high resolution, full and mostly overhead image of the
Face on Mars [Fig. 8-2]. While it was still substantially off-nadir,
taken at an angle off the vertical of 24.8°, as opposed to 45° for
the Catbox image, it was a significantly better representation of
what the Face would look like from directly overhead.
Very quickly, it was also obvious that there were a number of issues
with this Face image, as there had been with the Catbox. While the
image was the full resolution 2048 pixels wide, it was only 6528
long, implying it had been cropped by about two-thirds along the
downtrack. While it had 175 different tonal variations (compared to
only forty-two for the Catbox) this still left about 30% of the
grayscale information missing.
A two meter-per-pixel spatial
resolution was declared for the image by MSSS, which meant that an
object as small as a jetliner could be discerned from the data
available. Further, it seemed to have been improperly
ortho-rectified, because features that were seen to be along the
centerline in Viking data and the Catbox image were now skewed to
the western side.
This had the effect of enhancing the asymmetry of
the two sides of the object by stretching the eastern half in
proportion to the western side.
Overall, however, it was a dramatic improvement over the Catbox
image. What was clear from the new image was that while the Face had
a substantial general symmetry, it was not (just as we predicted) a
clearly symmetrical human face. Preliminary symmetries confirmed it
to be exactly what the authors had predicted, a half-and-half,
Unfortunately, our hopes for the supposed "new tone" that Deep Space
had told us about quickly evaporated in the light of day. NASA
released the new image amid a flurry of extremely negative public
comments simultaneously posted on several official NASA websites.
Specially prepared "hit pieces" were posted coincident with release
of the new image.
Titled "Unmasking the Face on Mars"119 and
authored by NASA (there was no byline), the article series resorted
to gross distortions and outright fallacies in their attack on the
Obviously, these were prepared days or weeks before the image
release, and it was now obvious that the late night strategy
sessions were political strategy sessions, not scientific. A
scientific approach would have been to simply release the data the
day it was acquired, and allow the scientific debate to take its
course. Instead, we were once again treated to a calculated smear
campaign obviously aimed directly at the national media.
While we were disappointed that NASA had chosen to continue the
disinformation campaign they began when the initial "Catbox" Face
image was released, we were hardly surprised.
What did surprise us
were the rather desperate lengths NASA was forced to go to debunk
the new Face image.
Making a Mountain Out of a MOL(A) Hill
In "Unmasking the Face on Mars," NASA used all the standard
debunking and propaganda techniques they had honed over the previous
twenty years of debate on the Cydonia issue.
They described the Face
as a "pop icon," never mentioned the existence of any of the other
anomalies in the Cydonia complex, and used a cartoon to ridicule the
idea that the Face was anything other than a common Martian mesa.
Jim Garvin, chief scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, was
quoted as saying that the Face reminded him of Middle Butte Mesa in
Of course, the article didn't contain an image of Middle
Butte, making it impossible for anyone to assess NASA's integrity
when making such comparisons.
Fortunately, SPSR's Lan Fleming contacted the U.S. Geological Survey
and obtained an overhead view of Middle Butte, and published a
comparison in an online rebuttal titled "Unmasking Middle Butte."
Any reasonably observant person could easily conclude that Middle
Butte bore little or no resemblance to the Face [Fig. 8-3]. For one
thing, the Face had two parallel straight edges on either side of
the base that ran straight for hundreds of meters on either side.
Middle Butte was just a common cinder cone.
Fleming concluded his
own evaluation with the comment,
"I think the time has come for
science to start searching for a real explanation for the Face on
Mars. The public's patience with the sophistry from JPL's public
relations office may eventually wear thin."
However, there was still more to NASA's hit piece that needed to be
In the article, NASA used a vertically compressed,
grossly distorted and upside-down version of the Face, supposedly
generated by a shape-from-shading algorithm. It was so badly
distorted that parallel features clearly visible in the Viking
overhead shots from 1976 ended up highly (and impossibly) divergent
Later in the story, they linked this image to a very
impressive-looking 3D color version of separate data from the MGS
MOLA (Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter) instrument - and then used these
two images to "prove" that the Face on Mars is just another Martian
According to the story,
"The laser altimetry data are perhaps even
more convincing than overhead photos that the Face is natural. 3D
elevation maps reveal the formation from any angle, unaltered by
lights and shadow. There are no eyes, no nose, and no mouth!"
The reality is that it is highly unlikely that anyone would
recognize a picture of their own grandmother if it was stretched
horizontally, flattened, compressed and shown upside down. So of
course it doesn't look much like a Face.
There was one more major problem with NASA's argument: The MOLA
instrument they were relying so much on has a resolution of 150
meters per pixel. NASA was basing its entire "it's just a hill"
argument on a MOLA "image" that is six times worse than the
twenty-five-year-old Viking data. At that resolution, an object has
to be about the size of three baseball stadiums to even show up.
Frankly, trying to make their argument based on this "non-image"
(which they still had to distort) was laughable and desperate.
In fact, NASA's logic and analysis was not only categorically wrong,
but also so wrong that it could only be the result of a deliberate
attempt to mislead the public about the true nature of the Face.
Because it can produce neat, colorized views like the one shown in
the article, most people assumed that MOLA is a high resolution
instrument. Some of our critics had even gone so far as to suggest
that since MOLA has a "vertical" resolution of only a few
centimeters, it is in fact a "better" and more accurate visual
instrument than the MGS camera.
In fact, it is nothing of the kind -
and this sort of ignorance among the lay public and the press is
precisely what NASA depended on to keep the Face from being seen it
its true context. If that is not enough, as we have seen, they are
not above flipping it upside down and backwards even in their "MOLA"
presentations to enhance this deception.
What the MOLA really does is send out a series of pulses (ten per
second) of laser light that "bounce" off the Martian surface and are
reflected back to the instrument's receiver.
This results in a
single, circular "pixel" (or picture element) of data that is some
160 meters in diameter. Since the spacecraft is traveling at about
3.3 km per second, the next "dot" is some 330 meters down track
(since MGS is in a roughly polar orbit), leaving a gap in the image
track about 170 meters wide. While the spacing is greater at the
equator and less at the poles, it still requires multiple scans to
accurately define any object visually.
MOLA has been operating
continuously since MGS went into the primary science phase, except
when it was turned off during solar conjunction.
So what the MOLA
has produced is one continuous string of data, consisting of a
series of 160 diameter spots, with 170-meter gaps in between them -
winding around the planet like a ball of twine for over two years.
Sounds kind of cool, doesn't it?
It is - but what it is not is very specific or accurate on the scale
of a mile or so. In other words, it is certainly incapable of
"imaging" any individual object as small as the Face, nor is it
anywhere near the spatial resolution of the MGS camera, even at the
Some people have been confused by the stated
"vertical" resolution of the MOLA. One particular critic at the time
seemed to be utterly incapable of grasping just what the twenty to
thirty centimeter vertical resolution of the instrument actually
means. He even went so far as to suggest that because of that, the
MOLA instrument is "better" for resolving features on the Martian
surface than the MOC camera.
If that were the case, they wouldn't
have even bothered to put a camera on the spacecraft - thereby
saving perhaps a hundred million dollars over the course of the
Within that 160-meter diameter "dot" that we keep talking about, the
MOLA can discern almost no detail. Its ten quick pulses hit the
ground in the area in question and return the timing data to the
instrument. MOLA then takes the average altitude of the spacecraft
above the ground within that 160-meter pixel and assigns a value to
that pixel based on the average.
As a result, every bit of detail
within that pixel is reduced to a single point, a single value: the
average spacecraft altitude above the ground being "pinged." All of
the individual stuff within that 160-meter circle is completely
That average value for the area in question is accurate to
within about one meter with respect to the distance below the
spacecraft, but that's it.
So just how big is "160 meters?" Just how much is missed by this
"precision" instrument? A lot, it turns out. 160 meters is a huge
pixel diameter. It is, within about five feet, the diameter of the
Tacoma Dome arena near Seattle.
The Tacoma Dome can hold upwards of
23,000 people, not to mention the playing field, the facilities,
locker rooms, concession stands, press facilities plumbing, miles of
wiring and enough concrete to build a fifty-mile-long highway - and
to MOLA, it would just be one big blob. A dot. It would be able to
give a very close estimate of the average distance the roof of the
Dome was from the MGS spacecraft, but that is it. It could discern
no details about the object whatsoever.
The argument has been made that 160-meter resolution really isn't
that bad, that it is "only" three times worse than Viking. But
remember, 160 meters-per-pixel vs. Viking's fifty meters-per-pixel,
is a 150% difference. And when you consider the scale of the Face
itself, it becomes obvious just how much crucial detail is missing
from these "precision" MOLA scans.
To give you some idea of the scale involved here, we have placed the
Tacoma Dome - approximately to scale - next to the Face on Mars
[Fig. 8-5]. As you can see, the pixel size of the MOLA is so large
that a feature like the eyeball in the eye socket (which is about
the same size as the Dome) would be completely missed; assuming that
by some miracle the MOLA scan actually ran across the feature in the
first place [Fig. 8-5].
In fact, one MOLA "pixel" is about the size
of the pupil feature itself.
By contrast, the MGS camera, at its maximum resolution of 1.5 meters
per pixel, would "see" an area thousands of pixels "square" in this
same 160-meter circular space. Objects as small as passenger cars
could be made out without enhancement. And each of those pixels has
a specific color value assigned to it from 256 available shades of
Enhancement processes can use these color values to bring out
even more detail, effectively increasing the spatial resolution
(under certain conditions and assumptions) even farther.
So to argue that there are "no eyes, no nose, no mouth!" based on
such a crude instrument (MOLA) is not only scientifically absurd -
it is scientifically dishonest. The simple truth is that MOLA is
incapable of resolving a feature as small as the (Tacoma Dome sized)
eyeball. And the old-fashioned MOC camera, with its 1.5-meter
dimensional resolution, and a "mere" 256 shades of gray-scale
resolution, is thousands of times more accurate.
Which brings us to the next problem with NASA (and our critics)
using MOLA data to "debunk" the Face. There is, again, a general
misunderstanding about just how the MOLA works. Because planets are
so large, and individual features like the Face are so small by
comparison, the chances of MOLA actually tracking directly across
the Face in the course of its two-year "nominal" Mission were very
Most critics assumed that MOLA, like some kind of
"scanning camera," completely blanketed the Face in a tight
grid-like pattern. In fact, once again, this is completely wrong.
In looking at the unprocessed version of the new Face image, we see
the CCD "pixel dropout" lines.
These less sensitive pixels, of the CCD "line camera" that makes up the heart of the MOC itself,
represent the actual geodetic track around Mars that the MGS took
over the Face, as it acquired this new image. In an ideal
circumstance, MOLA would have tracked down right across the center
of the Face along those darker "scan lines" (which are offset from
true north by about 5°).
The actual data pixels as they would have
been acquired by the MOLA in an ideal "centerline" scan would be
roughly every 160 meters with the 170-meter gaps between the
This is far different than the idealized notion that there were
hundreds of MOLA data points taken across the Face. At best, there
could only be between fifteen and twenty points.
But wait a minute, why couldn't MOLA have made multiple passes
across the Face, and gathered enough data to accurately measure the
height of the entire object in its mission around Mars? After all,
hasn't MGS been in orbit for years? Yes - but that had only amounted
to about 10,000 orbits since MGS began the Mission Mapping Phase in
This might seem like a lot of orbits, but since Mars is
such an enormous place (with a surface equal to the land area of all
the continents on Earth combined), it means that MOLA has only
covered the planet sufficiently to date to leave 1.5-mile gaps
between the "twine" (at the equator). At the latitude of the Face
(41° N), the distance between tracks is somewhat less - probably
about 0.80 miles.
Since the Face is only about 1.2 miles wide, it is
highly unlikely that any subsequent parallel tracks actually scanned
across the formation more than twice.
Since there had only been one
direct overhead MOC shot of the Face released by Dr. Malin to this
point - the one taken in June 2000 - there could almost certainly be
no more than two samplings of MOLA data taken across the Face in the
course of the entire mapping mission (because the first MGS image,
taken in April 1998, and the latest one were taken "off nadir," so
MOLA was not used).
And not only that, the June 2000 example did not
track accurately across the middle of the Face, but was offset to
In fact, we can test all this rather easily. If we assume that the
unprocessed version of the latest off-nadir (~25°) Face image has
not been cropped, then the
(bore sighted with the camera) MOLA scan (if the instrument was
actually turned on) would have been pretty much right down the
center of that frame. When we drew a simple line down the center of
the unprocessed frame, it became obvious that the best MOLA track
would have been off to the East side, and clearly would have missed
the tip of the "nose" - which is the highest Facial point.
notion - that the MOLA scan NASA used in its (mis-) representations
of the Face, missed the Nose completely - is further reinforced by
the claim made in the NASA hit piece: that the Face is "only" 800
Previous estimates, made from reliable methods like
comparative stereo images and measuring trigonometric shadow
lengths, have shown that the Face is actually some 1,500 feet high
at the nose tip. This discrepancy can be easily accounted for when
you see that the MOLA scan that NASA actually used had to have
tracked to the side of Face's highest point (the Nose) - completely
missing the tallest feature on the Face.
Jim Frawley, the contract scientist who is credited (along with
NASA's Jim Garvin) as having created the "MOLA" image used in the
NASA hit piece, admitted as much in an e-mail.
When asked directly
if there were only two MOLA passes over the Face, he responded,
[sic] right. I found just two."120
So, that's two passes: each a series of fifteen to twenty dots, 160
meters in diameter, with absolutely no discernable detail about the
"Tacoma Dome-sized" areas that MOLA scanned.
How could NASA, from
this meager data, decide that the Face was "800 feet" in height, and
generate the supposed "3D mesh" to create their now infamous "MOLA
image" for the hit piece?
How could they further decide, from just
two scans that missed all these crucial facial features, that there
was, as Garvin is quoted as emphatically stating,
"No eyes, no nose
and no mouth!"
The fact is, there is no way for Garvin and Frawley to have created
the "images" presented in the NASA "hit piece" from the available
MOLA data. Further, it is equally impossible for them to have made
any kind of accurate determination regarding the fine scale ("Tacoma
Dome-sized") features - like the "eyeball" strikingly visible in the
June 2000 image and in the April 8, 2001 second detailed image.
These facts are in stark contrast to how the data was portrayed in
the NASA hit piece (which was reprinted and treated uncritically on Space.com and other media outlets).
The image they were passing off as "MOLA-generated data" is nothing
more than a deliberately "de-resed" version of the MOC image itself.
Once again, confronted with this information, Frawley admitted to
"You're right on this too. Image is 99% MOC. It's made
with an 'inverse imaging' program I wrote some time ago. MOLA is
used for constraints."
"Constraints" simply means that he used the
available MOLA data to make sure he had the height-to-width
proportions correct when he made his shape-from-shading image - and
in reality, it's more like the image is 99.99% MOC.
But why quibble?
The key point here is that NASA had made outright
false claims about the image they presented to the press and public
as specific MOLA data, and compounded that lie by pretending that
the instrument could resolve more than it actually could.
wasn't enough, they flipped the image upside down and stretched it
to ensure it was totally distorted. To be fair to Frawley, he simply
produced the image he was requested to produce. He had no control
over how Garvin and the NASA hierarchy used and distorted that
information to serve their own partisan political purposes.
And make no mistake; this article was all about politics. As we have
shown, there was no science in Garvin's MOLA claim at all. In fact,
like his other statement comparing the Face to Middle Butte Mesa
(and then not even producing an image of the mesa to support his
claim), Garvin has been shown to be lacking either the intelligence
or the integrity necessary to carry out his duties as director of
NASA's Mars projects. He is either ignorant of the capabilities of
his own instruments, or was engaging in a deliberate deception.
Either way, the reality is that the MOLA claims were not only false,
but they were calculatingly designed to "scotch this thing for
good," as one unnamed JPL scientist put it after the 1998 Catbox
Why does an open, honest agency that is so sure that the Face is
"not exotic in any way," need to create the Catbox three years
previously at all?
And why did they need to embargo this new 2001
image for almost two months - while they built up a carefully
orchestrated smear campaign against it?
And why would they try to
pass off data that is six times less precise than the original
twenty-five year-old Viking images, to make their case?
The answer is; they wouldn't. But by this time, we had long since
given up on the idea that NASA was open or honest.
Yes Virginia, it Really Is a "Catbox"
"And it [the temple] was made with cherubims and palm trees, so that
a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had
two faces. So that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on one
side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other
side: it was made through all the house round about."
Regardless of NASA's latest duplicities with the new image, we were
still confronted with a fundamental problem; what did we learn from
the new image and what did our new conclusions tell us about Cydonia
that we didn't already know?
That the Face was meant to represent
two distinct species, one human and one feline, we were now
relatively certain of [Fig. 8-6].
The implications of this startling
new confirmation - not only for the reality of this object as a
structured Martian Monument, but for its ultimate "message" to
humanity at large - were overwhelmingly profound.
At the same time, we are confronted with the same quandary we
ridiculed SPSR over on the "letters" on the D&M.
Did the presence of
a Man-Lion - on Mars, of all places - not by necessity imply that
the builders, presumably ancient Martians, knew all about these two
Didn't that imply some even more potentially
preposterous answers to the questions already raised?
Did lions once
roam the Martian deserts?
Were the original Martians humanoids, like
And if these two things were true, what was the monumental
fusion of the two on the Face trying to tell us?
Before we could address any of these metaphysical questions, we had
to first confront the technical and scientific issues of the new
This was crucially important, insofar as the Face represents
the starting point for countless new or casual followers of this
long scientific controversy. But simultaneously, we did not want to
lose sight of the fact that the Face, at a more fundamental level,
had almost become a secondary part of this debate.
Geometric Relationship Model for Cydonia - with its potential for
quantification and testing of the foundations of the "intelligence
hypothesis" itself (in the form of specific predictions made by the
hyperdimensional physics theory derived from that alignment model)
had clearly stepped to the forefront of the debate over the
artificiality of Cydonia.
Because of this quantifiable basis for the
model, the Face itself had been relegated to a secondary,
"confirmatory" status - rather than the lynch-pin around which all
decisions vis-a-vis the artificiality of Cydonia must (or should) be
The reason for this was that the Face, no matter how good an image
we obtained, was always subject to interpretation. No matter that
the new image showed fine structures that appeared to be supports
for an artificial edifice, no matter that there were eyebrows and
pupils and curved lips right where there should be, it was always
vulnerable to one simple objection - "it doesn't look like a face to
Fortunately, we have an impartial arbiter that transcends the biases
or a priori objections of any particular discipline of science. It
is called the scientific method. The cornerstones of this method are
specific measurement, and specific prediction.
There is a common axiom in science that reads, "you do not have a
science without prediction."
This is a modern (but no less correct)
play on the axiom advocated by early 20th-century astronomer Sir
Arthur Eddington, who inserted the measurement side of the equation
into the method with his simple statement "Gentlemen, you do not
have a science unless you can express it in numbers."
In this case, our prediction had been about the visual makeup of the
eastern half of the Face. It stated boldly that the Face is really
two faces: One human, one feline. But still, even if the presence of
a feline side of the Face on Mars were universally accepted, that in
and of itself would be meaningless without Hoagland's decade-old
prediction. And in the end, there was no real way to quantify a
visual interpretation. So we were left to debate the issue at a
lower level: was it a Face, or wasn't it?
In a way, perhaps the name itself unfairly raised expectations that
we would see a friendly, ail-American, symmetrical human visage when
we finally got a real good look. But we never expected that. And we
said so repeatedly over many years.
With depressing unanimity, however, the news articles critical of
the Cydonia investigation (in the New York Times, the Washington
Post, USA Today, CNN, etc.) relied on a flawed recitation of
previous claims made about the Face by other Cydonia researchers
over the years. NASA's own position, highlighted by the hit pieces,
is that all of the Cydonia researchers have consistently claimed
that the central feature at Cydonia would be "a symmetrical humanoid
In response to this long-awaited image, the independent research
community responded by rolling out every excuse they could think of
for why the Face wasn't totally symmetrical. These excuses ranged
from declaring that the eastern half, or Cliff side, was "more
eroded" than the City side to describing it as "more irregular," or
even partially melted, anything apparently to keep from admitting
that it's feline.
Some even tried to make the case that the entire Cliff side of the
Face shows evidence of collapse (however, why would such an internal
process be restricted to only one side...?).
Reconstructions of the
Cliff side eye socket and mouth area appear to support the notion
that they may have once been more similar to the City side, but have
now slumped inward. Subsequently, the beveled base around the upper
and lower Cliff side has slumped outward slightly, from a proposed
accumulation of material that pushes outward underneath the
If this is the case, then it is possible that the Face
did have a much more uniform left/right appearance at one time.
Still, in the absence of a specific engineering analysis or,
especially, a prediction that this process would produce the
resulting asymmetric appearance, this after-the-fact reconstruction
has little weight behind it.
Another serious problem is that whatever material the surface
"casing" of the Face is made from should show serious signs of
fracturing, if it has generally fallen in on the eastern half. Such
a dramatic cave-in would have produced a chaotic, shattered
appearance quite unlike the smooth and non-fractal appearance that
we actually see on that side of the Face.
In truth, it is simply wrong that the eastern (Cliff) half is more
eroded than the western (City) half. It is equally wrong that the
Cliff side is also more irregular.
These are clearly coping
mechanisms put forth by those that expected to see a symmetrical
"human" face. The reality is that the eastern half is simply less
familiar than the more commonly seen western half - and, since it is
decidedly feline, it is less consistent with many of the hopes and
expectations of seeing a familiar, friendly human countenance
staring back at us from the Cydonia plane.
In reality, the new image
showed that the eastern half is significantly less eroded and
appears to have more of the original "casing" on it then the more
weathered western half. What the problem really came down to is that
the Cliff side confirms our model and not "theirs" - and that was a
new scientific and political reality that many long-time researchers
of this decades-long puzzle were having difficulty coping with.
The real test should have been whether the feline predictions stood
up against the details revealed by the new Face image, and whether
or not the Face could now validly be viewed as an eroded remnant of
a once much grander Monument.
The symmetrical beveled base, the
rough facial symmetry and specific corresponding features (the left
and right eyeballs and eye sockets, and the nostrils) all argue that
even if we were wrong in our feline interpretation, the damn thing
still looks an awful lot like a Face. And again, it is surrounded by
a crucial context - all that other "weird stuff also on the ground
Our own preliminary analysis of the single high-resolution image
NASA released May 24 had also revealed provocative evidence of
structural detail. In other words, as opposed to being "carved" -
like a Martian "Mt. Rushmore" - significant portions of the Face on
Mars seem to be composed of highly eroded manufactured elements.
There literally appear to be a series of still-detectable geometric
rooms and complex supporting structures, nakedly exposed on the
heavily eroded western platform of the Face.
Writing in Monuments in 1992, Hoagland - based on Carlotto's
previous revealing fractal imaging analysis - noted that the
appearance of "a Face itself might be due to the,
placement of shadow-casting pyramidal substructures on [the]
In other words, that when sufficient optical
resolution was achieved, the Face would be found to be a highly
complex, constructed object whose former sophistication would now be
evident by its repeating arrays of geometric ruins.
from the May 24 image is striking confirmation of that major
Publicly, at least, the authors got very little support for our
model from the independent research community. Ultimately, however,
it is the predictive aspect of the "feline model" that gave it a leg
up on the general collapse concept. But, in the absence of a good
way to quantify our model, we were left to argue our position on the
Face on much softer ground - the traditions of archeology and
anthropology - rather than on the rock-solid footing of Eddington's
numbers. And we had to address the biggest questions first.
What was the Face, exactly? A partially collapsed representation of
a Pharaoh? Or, a Pharaoh/Lion hybrid split down the center? We
obviously thought the latter - but if that's truly the case, the
next (really loaded!) question must be answered: What is a
terrestrial feline "half-Face" doing on a half hominid monument - on
That depends on how weird you want to get. Ultimately, you cannot
argue that the Face is a possible monument on Mars, without spending
some time studying the possible cultural significance of it as a
monument. All monuments that we're familiar with are meant to impart
a certain message - to pay homage to an epoch, or a person or an
event - as a lesson or example to those who would come after.
is with the Face on Mars.
If we can show that this alien artifact has a fundamental
terrestrial connection, both in form and fact, to the practices and
rites of ancient cultures here on Earth, then we can go a long way
to explaining how a "Lion/Pharaoh Monument" ended up on a nearby
Our new model, shared (and inspired by) other researchers
like Michael Cremo, Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock - is that all
of the ancient advanced cultures on Earth ultimately sprang (in the
form of refugees) from the same pre-diluvial, truly advanced root
This golden age of science and technology was called,
So as we look to these ancient civilizations, we must question
whether we see any similar examples in monumental architecture or
cultural precedent to what we're now - unmistakably - seeing on
It turns out that the Maya, one of the most advanced (and in
some ways the most mysterious) of these early post-catastrophic
civilizations, did indeed have exact examples of these split-faced
We've found (with the invaluable research of George Haas and his
colleague William Saunders121) that there are indeed innumerable
terrestrial examples of precisely such "split faces" among the Maya
- in ceremonial masks, monumental architecture, even in the classic
"Mayan glyphs." In many cases, these split faces are precise
man/animal hybrids (like the man/jaguar image) - just as Hoagland
long ago proposed for the Face on Mars.
And, as the extraordinary quotations from the Old Testament at the
beginning of this segment demonstrates, there is also an ancient
Hebrew text describing Ezekiel's vision surrounding the statuary
that would someday adorn the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.
the face of a man was toward the palm tree on one side, and the face
of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side."
dictates exactly the same Man/Lion split face imagery that we now
see at Cydonia.
So, there is a major human tradition - across not one, but several
human cultures - that reinforces the notion that the apparent
asymmetry of the Cydonia Face is in fact intentional. But we think
even more important is the specific nature of that union - the
Man/Lion hybrid - for it uniquely speaks to a very sacred, very
ancient human religious tradition.
The most obvious Earth-bound affirmation of the Man/Lion hybrid
tradition is the Great Sphinx at Giza. With the head of a Pharaoh
and the body of a Lion, the Great Sphinx is the ultimate terrestrial
architectural expression of this deep "connection" to the ancient
mysteries of antiquity - and, apparently, to Mars.
research has shown that the Sphinx most probably dates to a much
earlier epoch than had been previously assumed, to a time when its
gaze to the east would have let it bear direct witness to the rising
of the sun in the constellation of Leo (the Lion) - to which the
Sphinx is inextricably linked and identified. Most startling, the
timing of this particular alignment, 10,500 BC, predates by
literally thousands of years the existence of any accepted
"advanced" ancient human civilization.
The constellation of Leo and
the Sphinx itself were considered by
the Egyptians to be one and the same. They were also both identified
with a particular god of ancient Egypt, Horus.
As we've already learned, Horus was the son of the Egyptian gods
Isis and Osiris, two Egyptian deities whom we have shown
inexplicably appear over and over again in the mythical symbolism of
the folks who took us to Mars - NASA.
Horus represents the notion of
"rebirth and resurrection" to the Egyptians, since he grew to
manhood and defeated his uncle Set who was the murderer of his
father. Afterwards, Horus reestablished the good kingdom of his
father Osiris to ancient Egypt, and according to Egyptian belief he
was in essence "the first Pharaoh" - since all later Pharaohs
descended directly from him and ruled as Horus themselves.
even more provocative is that the Egyptians also identified Horus
directly with the planet Mars - as they both shared a name;
"Hor-Dshr," literally "Horus the. Red."
Graham Hancock also
discovered that in its early history, the Great Sphinx at Giza was
painted red - in honor of this specific Man/Lion-Horus/Mars
connection. And the headdress, the one we are so used to seeing on
images of Egyptian Pharaohs, is designed to represent the mane of a
This Pharaoh/Lion connection even stretches into our own modern
Christian traditions. Besides the startling Hebrew testimony of
Ezekiel there are additional "Man/Lion" connections at the very
foundations of Christianity.
Elsewhere in the Old Testament, one of the great prophets was
Daniel. During the first year of Belshazzar's rule in Babylon, at
about 556 BC, Daniel had his own series of "great visions" -
featuring four "great beasts."
One of those eerily echoes the same
combined imagery we've now confirmed on Mars.
"The first [was] like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till
the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth,
and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given
- Daniel 7:4
Jesus, the central figure of Christianity, had a lineage directly
connected to the "House of David" - the first king of the tribe of
The line that was prophesized to one day produce the
"Messiah" was described in the Old Testament thus:
"Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; your hand shall
be on the neck of your enemies; your father's children shall bow
down before you. judah is a lion's whelp... the scepter shall not
depart from Judah."
- Genesis 49:8-10
For this reason, Jesus was specifically known by the messianic title
"Lion of Judea" in the last book of the Biblical canon - titled the
"Apocalypse of Jesus," but better known as "Revelation" - Jesus'
crucial role is prophesized at the End of Days:
" So I wept much, because on one was found worthy to open and read
the scroll, or even look at it. But one of the elders said to me,
"Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of
David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven
- Revelation 5:4-5
In the Apocrypha (books no longer accepted into the Biblical canon),
this dual imagery - Man and Lion - is also echoed... the Gospel
According to Thomas contains this remarkable passage:
Blessed be the Lion, which eaten by man, becomes man. Cursed is the
man, whom eaten by the Lion, becomes a Lion."
The Sacred City of Jerusalem itself - site of the famed Temple, and
controversial modern crossroads of three of the world great
Christianity and Islam - flies a flag emblazoned with the lion image
- a tribute to the symbol of power and authority behind all three.
Many other official flags, such as the flag of Scotland (below,
right), contain identical lion images of power and authority.
must now wonder...
Jesus was also known as the "King of Kings" - as good a description
of supreme authority as you will ever find. Do all these Earthly
"symbols of authority" extend back across an immensity of space and
time to an eroded, monumental "Human/Lion" image lying on the rusted
There are many extraordinary parallels between the Horus of the
Egyptian tradition, and the historical Jesus. Indeed, even the
traditional depiction of Mary and Jesus as "Madonna and Child"
derives from earlier images of Isis and Horus.
How all of this terrestrial esoterica relates to a possible
"monument" discovered by a ritually-bound space agency on Mars is
ultimately to be found in the true meaning of the Face on Mars. The
now unmistakable Pharaoh/Lion connection at Cydonia - and identical
dual imagery long present here on Earth - was obviously intended to
express some deep, fundamental message for the human species.
the NASA hit piece astonishingly acknowledged that the Viking view
of this Cydonia enigma bore a strong resemblance to "an Egyptian
Pharaoh." Our own conclusion was that this monument was intended to
be exactly what it appeared: A "Martian Sphinx" - the first Horus.
This unique redundant symbolism is now overwhelmingly apparent, the
connections crystal clear - if you want numbers, the tangent of the
Face's Cydonia latitude (41°) on Mars is precisely equal to the
cosine of the Sphinx's latitude at Giza (30°).
The message of the Face on Mars is that of Horus here on Earth. It
is either as a true "one-to-one" epic recreation of a specific
personage on Mars, or a Monument to an idea: that the Golden Age may
be long gone, but it still lives ("the King is dead, long live the
The literal recreations of the redundant "Man/Lion" message
here on Earth - copied in increasing likelihood from their immensely
ancient template at Cydonia - speak to a time of great human
accomplishment and enlightenment.
A time "someone" has ever since apparently been patiently seeking to
recreate here on Earth. Witness the extraordinary monumental
civilizations of Egypt, Sumer, the Mayans and the rest. These
attempted "recreations," however, obviously came long after whatever
series of unimaginable
catastrophes erased that Epoch Time, not only from two worlds, but
almost from human memory itself.
"Something" happened. That is
increasingly obvious. Something destroyed (apparently not once, but
several times) what was once a vast and far reaching solar
system-wide human civilization, a civilization that left its calling
cards on at least two worlds, anchored in the identical Pharaoh/Lion
symbolism we've now identified on Mars.
The message of Cydonia (as Hoagland termed it years ago) is now
apparent: we are supposed to ask, "how is this monument related to
us?" and ultimately go back to Cydonia to find the answer.
And what will we find?
Our own all-but-forgotten past amid the
Or, something even more essential: a window on our
Or simply this one essential truth: we are the
Chapter Eight Images
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