Chapter Nine

2001: A Mars Odyssey

Within a few days of the release of the new overhead view of the Face and NASA's "unmasking" of it, the agency began to make somewhat curious announcements about revisiting Cydonia.

 

NASA's Lead Scientist for Mars Exploration, Dr. Jim Garvin, publicly promised that not only would more pictures of the Face be taken by MGS, but that Cydonia and the Face would also be a target of the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, due to go into Martian orbit in October, 2001.

 

This seemed a little strange to us, considering NASA had now officially decreed the case of the Face "closed;" had gone to great lengths to debunk the possibility that the Face was artificial, and that it cost upwards of $400,000 to target any specific feature on the planet. More images from MGS would certainly be useful, but getting time on the Odyssey mission to look at Cydonia was an unexpected boon to our efforts.

 

Odyssey had the potential to unlock even more secrets of Cydonia than the Global Surveyor had.


Odyssey carried not only a gamma ray spectrometer, which would be able to detect the underground hydrogen from any Martian reserves of ice or water (crucial for a manned Mars mission), it also carried a combined visual/infrared high-resolution camera called THEMIS, for THermal EMission Imaging System.

 

(Interestingly, in the annals of Greek mythology, Themis was a Titan, one of an ancient race of gods whose origins are unknown but who ruled the Earth before the gods of Olympus. She was the ancient Greek goddess of justice, who was also the opposite of Nemesis. Where Themis was order, Nemesis was chaos.)
 

According to Garvin, this unique instrument (which had a spatial resolution capability about twice that of the original Viking cameras) would be able to distinguish the "Pyramids of Giza" from the background noise. It would do this by separating the unique spectral signature of the materials making up the Pyramids from their natural surroundings of the Sahara Desert.

 

The infrared capability of THEMIS might also allow us to see "below the surface" of Cydonia for the first time, using the ground-penetrating capabilities of the near IR wavelengths. Certainly, we felt that if THEMIS could make out the Giza Pyramids, it could deduce the mysteries of Cydonia below the sands.


In the meantime, a new Martian controversy had broken out. Back in June of 2000, NASA announced through Michael Malin and Ken Edgett of MSSS that it had discovered evidence of water on Mars.

 

Their discovery centered around the notion that certain features found at latitudes above 30 north and south (in other words, from the those locations poleward, away from the equator) indicated the ejection or runoff of liquid water very near the surface of Mars. The ejection points were also curiously facing away from the sun. They proclaimed themselves to be completely baffled by this finding, since in the conventional model water almost certainly cannot flow at such high latitudes and out of the sunlight.

 

According to the accepted view of Mars, the planet is so cold that any water should be frozen solid to a depth of at least six miles. Further, if there was liquid water near the surface, it should only appear near the equator, where it is much warmer, and in areas illuminated by the sun's warming rays. What perplexed them was that these findings were exactly the opposite of the ideal conditions for water on Mars.

 

They were also surprised that the features were so geologically "young." Even though they admitted that their own model was inadequate to explain the phenomenon, they put forth an idea that the water was bursting forth from semi-permeable liquid pockets in crater walls.

 

Yet they provided no examples of any mid-latitude, "poleward"-facing seepages.


Then, just a few days later, the authors shared a discussion about an image found by Hoagland in the vast image libraries that Malin had put on the internet. Hoagland was at first perplexed by the odd looking streak he had found on MOC image SP2-33806 [Fig. 9-1].

 

But in the course of the conversation, Bara was adamant that it was water. Bara based his reasoning on the visual resemblance to a hose trickling water out on a dry, dusty slope. The image shows a liquid seepage that exactly fits the Malin/Edgett model, with liquid clearly seeping from a dark crack in the crater rim and running down the slope of the crater wall that faces the direct sunlight. Add to that the fact this crater sits at about 10 N, which is precisely the kind of mid-latitude location for their model to work. Note also that the darkest portion of the flow is in the middle, where the largest amount of water would be in such a scenario.


But there was one real problem with this model. The water was so dark, so obviously fresh, that it begged the question of just how long ago this burst had happened. Water should evaporate rapidly in the exposed Martian environment. So rapidly in fact, that unless the water flow causes a destructive action on the crater wall, i.e. a groove or channel, there should be no real evidence left that the water was ever there. In this case, there is no such "destructive force" visible in the flow. It's just a dark, apparently wet patch.

 

This means that it must have been a very gentle flow, and it must have happened only hours or even moments before MGS snapped this image. Not only had we confirmed that there was flowing liquid water on Mars, we'd caught Mars in the act!


There were, as always, immediate objections to our assertions. The first was that there was insufficient atmospheric pressure to allow for liquid water at the surface of Mars, never mind the temperature. This supposedly guaranteed that any water ice on Mars that melted in the heat of the day would instantly vaporize.

 

However, we soon discovered a paper from Dr. Gil Levin, the principal investigator of the Labeled Release Experiment on the Viking 1 and 2 Landers. He cited several sources that confirmed that there were vast areas of the planet where atmospheric pressure and temperature exceeded the triple point of liquid water.


The final proof of this came ironically not from Odyssey, but from the venerable old Mars Global Surveyor. Surveyor has carried an instrument that up until this point had been pretty much an afterthought, called the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES).

 

One of the most stunning (and stunningly ignored) results from this instrument was its finding that during the summer on Mars (remember, Mars' year is about twice that of Earth's), the regions of Mars even above 40 latitude warm to a ground temperature of over 60 F. Obviously, this is well above the threshold at which water can exist in a liquid state, and resoundingly destroyed the last objection to the seeps as liquid water.


We soon discovered that some amateur investigators were interested in the water seeps as well. Working with them, we found that there were quite a number of these "seep images." NASA, in the guise of Malin and Edgett, stepped up to propose that they were "dark dust streaks," simply the result of a rock becoming dislodged (by wind or tremors) and tumbling downhill, exposing darker material underneath the dry surface.

 

Of course, "darker material" under the ground on Earth is usually darker because it's wet, but they didn't mention that in their paper.123


Hoagland then began an exchange of ideas with Effrain Palermo, one of the brightest of the amateur researchers. Under his mentoring Palermo had collected an enormous amount of data on the seeps. At Hoagland's suggestion Palermo and his research partner, Jill England, then proceeded to systematically map the locations of these "seep" images relative to Mars surface coordinates, to see if there was a global pattern to their distribution. As a control, they also mapped randomly-selected "non-stain" images until a representative and statistically valid sampling had been completed.


Immediately, two striking global patterns emerged: both pointing to present day liquid water as a source of the "stains" or seepages. In the first pattern, the map showed that seepage images appeared preferentially near equatorial latitudes, mostly between 30 north and south; none were found above 40 north and south.

 

This implied that the phenomenon is restricted to warmer areas of Mars, which would be expected if these were truly water flows.

 

An equatorial pattern is also completely inconsistent with the "dust avalanche" model put forth by Malin and NASA as an explanation for these features. After all, winds or tremors that shook the ground loose would not be restricted to the warmer equatorial regions.


The second, more important pattern discovered was that the water flows seemed to cluster preferentially around two pronounced geological features on the Martian surface: the Tharsis and Arabia mantle uplifts, or "bulges." The curious thing about these bulges, though, was their location: 180 apart.


It was Hoagland who first realized the significance of this distribution. "I've got it," he said in a phone conversation between the authors. "They're anti-podal bulges, Mike. Tidal bulges."

 

His conclusion was simple, elegant and indisputable. The Tharsis and Arabia bulges on Mars were 180 apart, on opposite sides of the planet. Such bulges are commonly seen all over the solar system, on Jupiter's moons Io and Europa, on Saturn's moons and even in our own Earth-Moon system - and they are always, 100% of the time, caused by tidal forces between two orbiting bodies.

 

The scars of her former life as a tidal-locked companion of a mysterious, long-forgotten parent planet told the story. Mars was not always a planet. It was a moon. A moon that had once been in a tidally locked relationship with her parent, just as the Moon was with the Earth.


Immediately, all sorts of implications fell out of this inevitable conclusion.


In our model, this relationship went on for millions of years, perhaps hundreds of millions, and was broken only when "Planet V" (named for the missing planet in Van Flandern's Exploded Planet Hypothesis) was destroyed in a cataclysmic collision with another body, or a gargantuan internal explosion. The resultant debris bombarded not only Mars, but also a large portion of the solar system.

 

Mars, as a close-by satellite, was the hardest hit, as the devastating impacts ripped away most of her atmosphere and blasted the planet with rubble. It is this bombardment that accounts for the well known "crustal dichotomy" of Mars, where the southern hemisphere has a crustal thickness nearly twice that of the northern lowlands in some places.


And, the stains were indeed pockets of water. They were fossil remnants of a former Martian bi-modal tidal ocean.

 

Vallis Marineris, so inexplicable in conventional terms, became a water-eroded, tidal bored scar - and the smooth-planed northern hemisphere was further (and subsequent to the planetary bombardment) massively re-sculpted in this process, by the sudden and catastrophic release of waters of the oceans. This newly released "double ocean" flowed north from the Tharsis Rise and Arabia Terra, completely flooding the northern lowlands in the process.


Although we tried to get our work published at established Mars conferences, we were told in no uncertain terms that our theory would not be allowed to be presented because of our work on Cydonia.


But it didn't really matter, because we now had a completely new piece of the puzzle. We now knew why it was so imperative for NASA to keep Cydonia suppressed. It wasn't just that confirmation of artifacts on another world would cause cultural upsets or even panic. What was really scary was the answer to the question of what happened to the civilization that built them.

 

For such a technologically advanced civilization to be so utterly devastated would be terrifying. If Mars was once not so different from Earth, then the same thing could happen to Earth.


It didn't take long for one prediction after another of our model to be confirmed. Odyssey's data showed an abundance of hydrogen (probably water) in the northern and equatorial regions, right where our model said they should be.

 

Palermo and England's distribution pattern was confirmed by work at Brown University, and new outflow channels were found implying that Valles Marineris had once been filled with water - and no one had even addressed the anti-podal tidal bulges of Mars.


Now, however, with Odyssey in orbit, we had more pressing issues to deal with. It was only a matter of time before infrared images of Cydonia would start beaming back.



It's Only a "Whole New Mars"- to Them

On January 21, 2002, a story by Leonard David appeared on Space.com.124

 

In it, David quoted Steve Saunders, project scientist for the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission, as saying that the spacecraft was ready to begin the science phase of its operational life, and that the Face on Mars would be one of the early "high priority targets." Obviously, as we said above, if NASA really believed their own propaganda about what the ground truth of Cydonia was, they wouldn't be bothering to spend precious Odyssey resources on such an endeavor.


This heads-up prompted us to consider just what they might be doing behind the scenes at Mars Odyssey headquarters. Unlike the Mars Global Surveyor, Michael Malin or JPL would not control the THEMIS visible light camera directly.

 

Dr. Philip Christensen, a relative newcomer to the Mars programs, would run it out of Arizona State University. This gave us hope that we might actually get some real data for a change. It was possible that Christensen was one of the insiders who believed that the public should get the straight scoop on Cydonia, rather than the part of the group that believed in continued repression.


For purposes of our own internal discussions, we had taken to calling these two groups the "Owls" and the "Roosters," two terms used inside the intelligence community to refer to groups that advocate suppression of a given issue vs. revelation of a given issue.

 

We got the strong impression that the "Roosters" were winning, as President Bush had replaced Dan Goldin with his own man, Sean O'Keefe, shortly after the "Unmasking the Face on Mars MOLA fraud had been exposed. Further, Deep Space told us that the order to take the May 2001 Face image had come directly from the office of Vice President Cheney.


We took all this with a grain of salt, of course. We didn't even know for a fact which side Deep Space was on, much less what the White House agenda might have been on this issue. Still, things seemed a bit more hopeful, since some of the previous cast of characters had been swept aside for this mission.


We strongly suspected it was this change in leadership that had led to the change in attitude that would make the Face an early target of the Odyssey suite of instruments, along with the promise of an "immediate" release of the data.


The more we learned about the THEMIS instrument, the more promising it looked. THEMIS is actually three instruments in one: a visible light camera, a thermal imager, and a multi-spectral imager - or infrared camera. The infrared camera can scan the planet's surface at 100 MPP resolution, but with a sensitivity of one degree difference in temperature.

 

The same infrared instrument, by scanning in nine different regions of the IR spectrum, would allow determination of the surface composition of the objects that it scans at that same 100 meter/pixel resolution.

 

The total image would actually be several hundred "pixels" square, allowing us to make precise comparisons of temperature and material composition variations over the entire surface area of the Face, at the resolution of a football field... on a structure over a square mile in total area. So despite the relative dearth of spatial resolution from the IR camera, in many ways it would tell us more about Cydonia and the Face than all of the visible light images taken so far.


As Odyssey approached Mars, the FACETS initiative paid off once again.

 

Peter Gersten received a call from the office of Dr. Jim Garvin, requesting a phone conference with him and Richard Hoagland. The call was quickly arranged. During the course of the call, Garvin promised that FACETS would get the data it wanted from Odyssey, and that a future mission, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), would be the mission in terms of answering all of our questions about Cydonia. He also encouraged us to submit papers to the various Mars conferences and publications, promising that they would get a fair hearing.


Getting a call from NASA's Mars point man was weird enough. Having him completely reverse his position and encourage us to participate in the public scientific process was downright bizarre. Still, we had little choice but to take the man at his word, and hope for the best. The climate seemed to be changing for the better.


Then, early in 2002, Hoagland got a call from Deep Space. He told us that the early returns from the nighttime infrared were stunning, and had sent shock waves all throughout NASA. He assured us that Cydonia had already been targeted successfully, and that the data was described as "amazing." He encouraged us to demand nighttime IR data, especially of Cydonia.


On February 26, a new story appeared on Space.com by Leonard David, in which NASA project scientists described the early data from the science phase of the mission as "amazing" - exactly the word Deep Space had used. Steven Saunders added that the data represented "a whole new Mars." While the story was short on details, it was clear by reading between the lines that the data that was causing such a stir internally was from the IR camera, and that raised a whole series of interesting questions.

 

Some of those, we learned, might be answered in a press briefing scheduled for the following Friday, March 1,2002.


As we contemplated what might be revealed at the press briefing, it occurred to us that we had no reason to think it might involve Cydonia or the Face, or for that matter even address the question of artificiality in any meaningful way. But if the data itself was honest - and given the "new tone" we'd been experiencing, it might be - then we still had reason to hope that something interesting would be revealed on the following Friday.

 

But the important thing we decided to keep in mind was that the way NASA spun what they presented was increasingly irrelevant.

 

What would matter is what the data showed, not what NASA decided to emphasize politically. Even after the "unmasking the face" hit pieces and the MOLA fraud, an MSNBC poll126 had found that among those that had changed their mind, the vast majority had decided it was more likely the Face was artificial after viewing the May 2001 image.


Those of us longing for some sort of official "disclosure" on artificiality or even a radical geologic theory like the tidal model were missing the point. "Disclosure" is not going to happen with the president sitting at his desk in the oval office, with the paned windows and pictures of his family behind him, dourly reassuring us that it is worth going to work tomorrow despite the stunning revelations of the "last twenty-four hours."

 

Disclosure had been happening all around us, and right in front of us, pretty much unabated since the magical ball in Times Square turned us all toward a new millennium. We were being given the data, in bits and pieces, and pretty much allowed to make up our own minds what we thought of it.

 

NASA's own relevancy in the greater scheme of things was increasingly precarious - perhaps even by design - as it became more and more obvious to those of us that were paying attention just how truly wonderful and strange a place Mars, and our solar system, really was.


It was almost as if someone high up in the agency (or outside it) was pulling the strings, trying to get this particular rooster to get its message across without so much as a single crow.


We'd started to get a hint that "something" was coming about two weeks prior to the late February Space.com piece. A series of images suddenly appeared on the web, purportedly from Mars and leaked from a company called IEC. They included color, infrared and radar imagery of an "Anomaly 502" that was supposed to be of some Martian ruins just below the surface.

 

While we immediately had serious doubts about the legitimacy of the image, this was exactly the sort of "trial balloon" that a "Brookings" pattern of disclosure would mandate - put out an image, see what the reaction is, and decide whether to go ahead with your disclosure based on the response.

 

So while we were somewhat unimpressed with the execution, the timing and content of the release jogged our memories and got us to thinking.


Why a couple of weeks before the Space.com article and the press conference? And why emphasize infrared and other ground-penetrating technologies? Why not just forge a doctored-up surface anomaly? Then we remembered: Mars Odyssey would not be the first probe from Earth to use ground-penetrating technologies in Mars orbit.


The Russians had sent two probes, named Phobos 1 and 2, to Mars in the late 1980s to study the surface and atmospheric properties of the planet and the composition of one of its two moons (Phobos). Phobos 1 failed along the way, but Phobos 2 made it all the way to Mars and operated nominally for a period of several weeks.

 

Its disappearance has become the stuff of UFO lore, but in the process the spacecraft made numerous valuable observations of both the Moon Phobos and Mars.

 

One of the most curious discoveries was that Phobos' density was found to be extremely anomalous. According to a paper published in the October 19, 1989 issue of Nature, Phobos had a bizarre density of 1.95 g/cu.cm ("19.5" anyone?), meaning it was almost 1/3 hollow. Since both Martian "moons" are actually captured asteroids, this finding is extraordinary.

 

There is virtually no way that a solid object like Phobos can be "hollowed out" in this manner naturally, leaving a really big question - just who hollowed it out, and why?


But things got even more interesting when Phobos 2 was rotated to look at Mars itself. The probe carried an infrared spectrometer, a device not too different from the infrared thermal imager on Mars Odyssey. While it lacked the resolution of Odyssey's far better THEMIS camera, the infrared device on Phobos 2 also gave the Russian scientists the capability to discern buried objects just below the surface of the planet (covered with sand or dust) via their relative rates of cooling.


In 1989, just after the loss of Phobos 2, a program appeared on England's independent Channel 4 revealing the discoveries of the Phobos 2 probe Among them was a tantalizing infrared image, taken in the Hydraotes Chaos region (0.9 N, 34.3 W), showing what seemed to be a fairly mundane landscape in the visible light spectrum - but when the IR filter was applied to the same area, an astonishing rectilinear pattern appeared just beneath the sand [Fig. 9-2].

 

This regular, highly geometric pattern (across an area the size of Los Angeles) is strongly indicative of a cityscape just under the surface. Although some of the rectilinear features seem to be aligned with the scan lines of the image, others are unmistakably not aligned, and are also curved and somewhat geometrically irregular, as they would be if they were wrapping around uneven topography.

 

Clearly, they are incredibly similar to some sort of buried (regular/geometric) construction or tunnel system.


There was no question that a lot of people noticed just how weird this all was. The program featured comments from Dr. John Becklake of the London Science Museum (and a very sober guy), and he left no doubt about what he thought of the images.

 

Interviewed in front of an exhibit that was obviously prepared with the help of the Russians (remember, it was still the Soviet Union then), Becklake was unequivocal: "The city-like pattern is sixty kilometers wide and could easily be mistaken for an aerial view of Los Angeles."


The program went on to show excerpts from a Soviet Space Research Institute press briefing in which the anomalies were discussed. And yet, all of this high level interest in this story by scientific heavyweights was virtually ignored in the United States.


So maybe, just maybe, Phobos 2 had given us a preview of what would be shown in the March 1 press conference. If the infrared images from Odyssey were in any way similar to what Phobos 2 found, NASA was going to have a hard time spinning the data.


We had a sneaking suspicion that we were guessing right on this one. Keeping in mind that NASA is an agency steeped in ritual and bound by a Brookings-like code of behavior, we couldn't help but notice one odd little coincidence: The Phobos 2 images of Mars were taken on March 1, 1989, exactly thirteen years to the day before the upcoming NASA press conference.


Based on this, we expected that NASA would produce an IR image, most probably taken of or near Hydroates Chaos at their press conference. We had only a few days to wait and see if we were right.


Just as we suspected, we were dead on about NASA's proclivity for ritual and symbology.

 

Exactly thirteen years to the day after Phobos 2 had imaged the Hydroates Chaos region of Mars, NASA released a new series of IR images from Mars Odyssey 2001. The undisputed star of show was an image of the Hydaspsis Chaos region of Mars. If that sounds familiar, it should, as it is just a few miles from Hydroates Chaos (0.9 N x 34.3 W vs. 2 N x 29 W), the location of the stunning Phobos 2 image.

 

So, as we expected, we got an IR image of virtually the same area exactly thirteen years to the day from the moment Phobos 2 took its picture [Fig. 9-3].


And what a picture. Almost from the beginning, many of the scientists at the briefing seemed a bit nervous and uncertain. Dr. Phillip Christensen, especially, seemed edgy as he presented images from the infrared camera.


As Christensen haltingly displayed the image to the assembled media, he made no mention of the stunning regularity of the terrain - especially considering it is dubbed "Chaos."

 

What was most striking initially is the incredible consistency of the channels between the "sand covered mesas" (how does sand stay on top of a flat "mesa" that is buffeted by 300 MPH winds from time to time?) in the image. The channels all seemed to be about the same width, and remained incredibly consistent for miles.

 

The mesas themselves were shockingly geometric, not really what one might expect from a fluvial erosion process - but the Devil of course, is in the details.


Close-up enhancements showed some very unusual features of these "mesas" [Fig. 9-4]. There were regular, geometric "notches," or even openings, in some of them and others showed signs of being buried foundations for larger objects. A little further up in the image was a strange looking "crater" plastered on top of a dark rectangle with incredibly square edges.

 

Considering that this was not aligned with the image scan, but is aligned with actual north/south, we were inclined to doubt this was an image artifact or natural formation.


We were also pleased to get more confirmation of our tidal model at the press briefing, in the form of Gamma Ray Spectrometer data. The GRS has a very coarse resolution and wasn't fully deployed yet, but the GRS team, led by Dr. William Boynton, gathered some data anyway while the instrument was still in its "parked" position.


Of the data, the most crucial was the information gathered on "high energy neutrons." These types of neutrons are typically absorbed by hydrogen - a key component of water and water ice - so by measuring areas with little or no "HEND" return, it is possible to determine just if, and how, water was distributed on Mars.


As it turned out, there was a hell of a lot of water, or water ice, on Mars. Most of it was clustered (as expected) in the south polar cap, but huge amounts of it are also present on two specific (and bi-modally opposed) areas of the planet - the Tharsis and Arabia bulges.


Obviously, this was a flat confirmation of our previous work on the tidal model. Because of our specific prediction more than six months previously in our paper, that Odyssey would find exactly this anomalous (beyond our model) water distribution, we could state categorically that these findings constitute absolute, inviolable confirmation that our model is correct.

 

It also proved that the work done by Palermo and England is correct, since the water distribution corresponds precisely where they have found what were now proven water stain images.


What was stunning was that neither Boynton nor any members of the assembled press, either because of ignorance or timidity (is there any American institution that has fallen into a greater state of disrepair than the Fourth Estate?), made the slightest note of the fact that the water - inexplicably for the established conventional models of Mars evolution - was distributed on two such prominent features of the Martian landscape.

 

This does not change the fact that there is nothing in any conventional model that can account for this distribution. The only explanation that fits the data is our tidal model.


Even after they had hyped the data to be presented as a "whole new Mars," and "tremendously exciting," not one of the scientists bothered to explain just why any of this constituted a "whole new Mars" - and nobody asked.


This astounding lack of curiosity by the press as to just what made this data so exciting played right into the NASA strategy we'd come to expect. NASA's policy was clearly now one of disclosure - but unacknowledged disclosure. With so few science beat reporters actually having a science background anymore, they have become completely dependant on the agency for their material. The scientists at NASA have become priests, virtually unassailable.


We posted our thoughts on all of this that night on the Enterprise Mission website. The reaction - from all sides - was swift. In fact, few stories over the years generated as much negative comment as our web posting on the new Hydaspsis Chaos IR image.


With unanimity (and predictability), our critics steadfastly ignored the flat-out confirmation of our Mars tidal model that was included in the piece, and instead preferred to focus on the infrared image. During the course of reading through these nasty comments, it became clear to us that most of these "armchair geologists" not only did not understand what they were seeing, but also completely misunderstood (or deliberately misrepresented) just what it was about this data we found so fascinating.

 

In many cases, they accused us of immediately claiming that the geometric block-like features in the IR image were artificial, which we flatly had not done - to that point.


For the most part, the attacks focused on our (perceived) inability to recognize "simple geology." The attackers also criticized us for not providing a context visible light image of the Hydaspsis Chaos region in our piece. One web article even blatantly accused us of being "unscientific" for not including such an image.

 

Of course, this critic made no mention of the fact that NASA, at its initial Odyssey press briefing, also failed to provide such an important context image.

 

This, in spite of the fact that the THEMIS folks had their remarkable nighttime IR image for over a week before the press conference, not to mention the budget and staff to easily do a search for such a visible companion image from the Viking archive. We did not have the luxury of those resources - certainly not in the few hours immediately after seeing what the THEMIS team presented, and the posting of our initial article, which we clearly characterized as a "preliminary assessment" in any case.


We found this reaction, from the alleged "anomalist community" to be quite disturbing.

 

They were the ones supposedly most interested in finding proof of extraterrestrial artifacts, but when we confronted them with solid evidence, they reacted angrily. We began to wonder if maybe "Brookings" had been right, that the science and engineering buffs and professionals would have the hardest time with "proof of extraterrestrial intelligence.


In any event, when we read through the criticism, it became obvious that the critics literally had no idea why we found this nighttime IR image so fascinating, and so potentially important. They assumed that we were expecting to see blatant evidence of artificiality in the broader context visible light image. We weren't.
Key to understanding the bizarre nature of this area is the buried formations - the underlying structure beneath the Martian surface features, revealed for the first time at this roughly "Viking" resolution by Odyssey's IR imager.


Just for the sake of argument, let's review one natural geologic model for this kind of formation for a minute. One of the arguments consistently advanced to explain such regular patterned formations is the tired, old, "frost wedging" model.


In typical examples of frost wedging here on earth, the forms are caused by repetitive freeze and thaw over many years.

 

The ground eventually forms cracks, or weak points, sometimes in vaguely polygonal patterns like you see above. The melting snows find their way into these fissures, slowly wearing away the ground in between the harder blocks and creating water-filled channels for runoff.

 

This is a slow process, and the wedges are very shallow-but the important thing to remember is that the softer soil is pushed away by the flowing waters, which eventually shapes the harder stuff into the polygonal forms we see above. In other words, the runoff flow creates the shapes. Now let's consider Mars.


In our tidal model, what happened to Mars was quick and cataclysmic.

 

In a very short period of time, starting with the fateful day of the destruction of Mars' parent planet, "Planet V," the Red Planet took a beating almost unparalleled in the history of the solar system.

 

That first day she lost better than half her atmosphere, experienced floods of Biblical proportions, was bombarded with literally miles of Planet V's debris, and lost her ability to sustain higher forms of life.


Within a few months, if not weeks, virtually all of the remaining water on Mars was either frozen in place as surface or subsurface water ice, or sublimated to the poles. So whatever sculpting took place was rapid and intense. Since frost wedging would have taken decades to accomplish its erosive process, it seems unlikely that it can be attributed to what we see here.


Look again at a close-up of this nighttime IR data from Mars Odyssey [Fig. 9-4].

 

Remembering that dark is "cool" and bright is "warm," this image makes no sense in terms of conventional geologic models. Casting aside for the moment NASA's silly explanation that the "mesas" are "dust covered, which is why they are "cooler" in this image (dust collecting deeply on the tops of flat, windswept mesas, on a planet where the winds can exceed three hundred miles per hour), take a good look at the edges of these tantalizingly regular "cells."

 

Note that they are all brighter by a factor of at least ten than the interior of the "mesas" they encircle.

 

If, in fact, the walls of these mesas were made of the same stuff as the interior (rock?), then they would be expected to have pretty close to the same heat-emissive properties as the interiors, even if there were a little dust on top. Instead, we see a dramatic difference in the amount of heat retained by these precisely defined, amazingly geometric "walls," compared with their very cool interiors. For conventional geologic models, this is a big problem.


How can a natural ring around a mesa be made of something completely different than the interior of the mesa itself - since mesas are carved (in natural geology) out of pre-existing bedrock? And how can the (shadowed) channels between the mesas now be brighter (warmer) than the windswept (exposed to wind and sunlight), rocky tops?

 

The channels should collect and trap significant amounts of sand and dust over any interval of time - which should then act as insulation, producing dark (cold) channels. In fact, the entire situation is reversed - to NASA's own admitted bafflement.


Enter the Mars tidal model. In our take on this remarkable region, Hydaspis Chaos was a "dumping ground" for some of the huge volumes of water that were released from the sudden severing of Mars' prior gravitational relationship (orbital lock) with Planet V.

 

As this catastrophic flood unfolded, the sudden orbital release dumped trillions of tons of water, massive boulders, dirt, silt and sediment all over this (and every other) low-lying area on Mars.

 

The rushing tidal waves would eventually slow to a trickle, but not until they left literally trillions of tons of miles-deep debris, mud and sediment in their destructive wake.

 

The finest sediment - initially deposited in catchments between more resistant areas of rock - would later be worn away by the remaining flows before the planet then literally froze. After a period of drying, the incessant Martian winds would then continue to erode - but at a much slower pace, and for literally millions of ensuing years - what those last flood waters only started.


Anything standing above ground before this almost inconceivable cataclysm would have been simply obliterated by the sudden floods. As these raging waters ebbed, the remaining flows have found their way to narrower and narrower rivers and streams, constrained somewhat by the previous geology, eventually carving out the shapes we see here by removing much of the initial sediments deposited between the "mesas."


OK, so at this point there's no difference between our model and conventional processes, right? Well, our model assumes that the area Odyssey and Viking imaged is covered now with a (relatively insulating)


"hard mud" to a significant depth (at least several kilometers). The initial flood of water could not have gone on too long after the initial cataclysm (because of the sudden loss of atmosphere, and the freezing temperatures) so there would have been relatively little post-catastrophe erosion from remaining, flowing water before those waters froze.

 

Mud and sediments unlike exposed bedrock, do not retain heat, so it would be expected (in this model) that these deep sediments would now show up in any nighttime IR image as a "dark" or "cool" area, just as we see here over most of the nighttime IR image - but if simple geologic theory were not enough, there is further proof in this same image that we are looking at a huge "mud flow," rather than exposed planetary rock.


Just above the "mesas" in this nighttime image (to the west, since north is to the right) are two modest impact craters, each a couple of hundred feet across. In both cases, in the infrared they have brighter (warmer) rims than their surroundings, and dark (cool) interiors. This is as it should be - if the crater rims are (warmer) exposed outcrops of underlying bedrock, uplifted by the initial impact process, and the bowl-shaped interiors have trapped (cooler) blowing dust and sediments, which now appear dark because of their thermal insulating properties.


Yet something's not quite right with this standard geological picture.

 

If you compare the brightness of the crater rims (the "exposed rock" in the impact model), they are only slightly brighter than their surroundings.

 

They are certainly not as brilliant as the (presumed) exposed mesa rock walls of the Chaos region just to the east. It's as if the craters were created, not in bedrock, but in an ancient layer of insulating mud. If the impacting objects had struck a hard-pan surface, presumably the underlying rock would have been shattered and raised, exposing it as brightly as the edges of the nearby eroded "mesas" - but it has not.

 

The IR signature of each crater rim seems curiously dull - as if the thermal emission was coming from something with a much softer, far more insulating nature than bare rock (which is exactly what these nighttime IR images are supposed to reveal). It in fact appears like clods of friable (and thus insulating) sediment instead of deeply excavated (by the cratering process) bedrock.


Thus, these completely unexpected IR crater signatures neatly reinforce our model - that this region is in fact a deep flood plain of overlying mud and sediments, with the ancient bedrock now buried miles below the surface.


So these simple craters reveal remarkable, independent confirmation for our basic massive flood scenario. These cannot be simple exposed, rocky mesas, now covered with accumulated windblown dust, but rather, that this whole area (and the other "Chaos" regions?) is one massive mud flow from the ancient cataclysm that rent Mars from its mother planet about sixty-five million years ago from its orbit of Planet V.


If this area is indeed covered to some depth in ancient sediments, then the simplest reason the interior of the mesas are now dark is not because they are composed of the same material as the much hotter walls and are covered with dust on top, but because they are literally catch basins filled in with those same ancient muds still contained within the current IR bright walls.


The latter, then, are simply composed of some much more heat-retentive material arrayed in a stunningly regular, geometric pattern of amazingly uniform thickness - and stretching for literally hundreds of collective miles around each mesa.


Thus, these Hydaspsis Chaos mesas do not appear themselves to have been shaped and eroded by the vast tidal floods gauging out pre-existing bedrock into intricate geometric forms, but by the tidally-released sediments flowing around and over pre-existing sets of resistant walls composed of a heat-retentive something, walls clearly now already in place before the catastrophe itself.


So then, the next question must become: What kind of natural geologic process forms such walls - with regular, uniform thickness and intricate (and opposing) geometric patterns - that can be filled in by massive mud flows of the type we now see here? The short answer is: none.


There is, however, a perfectly viable alternative scenario. Let's consider what would happen on a planet like ours if a sudden cataclysm on the scale of what happened to Mars were to occur.


If the Earth's rotational axis suddenly shifted, or if the collapse of the Ross Ice Shelf resulted in massive amounts of water suddenly inundating habitable coastal areas, everything above ground would be swept away almost instantly in the resulting massive floods. Large buildings would be crushed and tossed aside, leaving only their foundations below the ground.

 

If this happened in an area the size of say, the Los Angeles basin, then, all one would expect to see would be the remnants of these former rising structures, arranged in a hauntingly geometric pattern indicated by their remnant foundations.


If you then flooded that whole area with miles-deep sediment, the hollowed-out cores of these former skyscrapers and other structures would also fill with sediments - and the whole L.A. basin would become one big featureless sea of mud.


On Earth, however, as rain and wind began to erode away these newly-formed deposits, eventually the eroding sediments would sink low enough to reveal the preserved foundations of the former artificial structures. At this point, the waters (and wind) would take the path of least resistance, as they always do, and flow around the massive base foundations of these former structures.

 

Yet, protected from this erosive action by the basement walls, the interior sediments would remain where they were initially trapped in order to dry, and form a series of essentially level "mesas" to any aerial observers, separated by the former streets between the buildings.


Thus, our hypothetical post-cataclysm L.A. basin would strikingly resemble (in the infrared) exactly what we were seeing in this nighttime Odyssey Mars image (though on a much smaller scale) - even down to the geometric crenellations on the mesa walls.


It was increasingly apparent that these bright, intensely geometric outlines are, in fact, the exhumed foundations of former massive artificial structures - all that remains after the ancient raging floods completely leveled the original structures' towering upper levels.


So what we'd found in the Odyssey infrared of Hydaspsis Chaos are the ancient foundations of something far more crucial to our eventual understanding of this entire shattered planet, far more relevant to the search for who we ultimately are, than mere frost wedging.


It is precisely these remarkable structures, if not answers, that NASA was obviously looking for when they took and then released this specific Odyssey IR data as their "first nighttime image," precisely thirteen years to the day after the Russians took their own provocative Phobos 2 IR images just a stone's throw away from this same area.

 

Is it truly an accident that this first IR image - from a mission named literally after Arthur C. Clarke's famed epic of extraterrestrial intelligence's formative involvement with mankind - should be a set of buried artificial structures which (if we had now read the Odyssey IR correctly) can teach us so much about Cydonia itself, if not the history of Mars destruction.


The last nail holding in place this increasingly tattered assertion, that these intricate, highly ordered Hydaspsis Chaos forms are somehow the product of a "simple Martian geology" was then removed not by us, but by NASA itself.


At two subsequent Mars Odyssey public lectures, one held at JPL's Von Karmen Auditorium, the second at Pasadena City College (in Room 333, of course), Dr. Roger Gibbs, the new Odyssey Project Manager, provocatively showed this same baffling IR Odyssey image, and flatly admitted that he and the entire Odyssey team had "no idea how to interpret it."

"Why does a channel have no dust, and the top of a mesa does?" he asked rhetorically. He then asserted that the working model was that the channels had somehow "collapsed around the mesas."

Again, this is silly. Clearly the exposed channels were literally scooped out by an erosive process that attacked the softer, drying mud, but left the hard, geometric foundations - each containing its own reservoir of trapped sediments - of the ancient arcologies essentially intact.


Somehow, Gibbs and his colleagues can't publicly consider a non-natural explanation for these impossible features, even while blandly admitting,

"It [the IR image] really asks more questions than it answers."

Clearly, if the explanation for Hydaspsis Chaos was "simple geology," as our critics had asserted, it seems to be "geology" well beyond the leadership of the Odyssey Mars mission, if not of NASA's best planetary minds.


Yet still we had one last hurdle to clear. Some of the critics then raised the similarity to even older and similar geologic anomalies on Mars, like Mariner 9's so-called "Inca City." They pointedly used the MGS images of "Inca City" in an attempt to dismiss Hydaspsis Chaos as an obviously similar "natural set" of features - but there is very little natural about the "Inca City" at all.


As you can see, "Inca City" (Fig. 9-5) compares very favorably (in terms of straight geometry) to well-known archeological ruins on Earth, like the Anasazi structures in Chaco Canyon.

 

Even though Inca City is on a much larger scale and completely unexcavated, this does not mean that artificiality should be ruled out a priori - certainly not based simply on existing visible light data. To expect ancient, highly eroded archaeological "ruins" on another planet (and ones of potentially immense scale) to look as clean as a recently excavated dig on Earth is not only naive in the extreme, it's not even logical.


As noted previously, an IR study of this formation is crucial to determining the underlying structure that (even heavily "mantled") presents such a compelling geometric comparison to our own terrestrial monuments. It's bad enough to dismiss the sand and frost-covered "Inca City" as "natural" without a closer study of the entire area, but to then cite it as some sort of "proof that the Hydaspsis Chaos images have a similar "natural" explanation, is almost criminally idiotic.


After all, what lies just beneath the surface sometimes tells a completely different story.



Do Geologists Dream of Windblown Sheep?

After another month of waiting, on Friday, April 12, 2002, we got the first Mars Odyssey data to cover the Cydonia region of Mars.

 

Unfortunately, we did not get what we had hoped for (a multi-spectral nighttime infrared image of the Face and surrounding structures). Nor did we get a full-color image of the Cydonia complex in the promised five-band color. What we did get was a nice grayscale strip from the spacecraft's visible light camera [Fig. 9-6].

 

At nineteen meters-per-pixel, the image was substantially better resolution than the fifty meter-per-pixel images we got in the Viking era. Still, it is an order of magnitude lower than the four to five meter-per-pixel images we got in the best of circumstances from Mars Global Surveyor.


This did not prevent it from being useful. It was still a better overhead view of the center of the Cydonia complex than we had before, allowing us to view the specific objects of interest in context and at a resolution we have not generally seen (the D&M, for instance, had been almost completely missed in the publicly released images from Malin Space Science Systems).

 

Previously identified objects of interest that were visible in the new Odyssey image strip included the Face, the D&M Pyramid, the Fort... and some surprises.


The first thing we noticed was that the so-called "massive tetrahedral ruin" adjacent to the symmetrical mesa just south of the Face was much more clearly defined than in the previous images. This object was first spotted on the infamous Catbox MGS image strip. It had been stylistically interpreted from previous images as a "dolphin," or various other absurd pictogram shapes, with one amateur pixologist even claiming he saw a "trailer park" at the base of the object.

 

Part of the illusion was the extreme forced perspective of that original MGS image-taken 45 off-nadir - which effectively distorted the shape of the ruined pyramid. We could now see clearly from directly overhead that there were two distinct faceted walls that once made up this tetrahedral structure.

 

The object lies just south of the suspiciously symmetrical mesa and - conveniently - lies at exactly 19.5 off the base symmetry axis of the D&M. This same axis passes right between the eyes of the Face.


The real prize, however, was the good, higher-resolution image of the D&M, which we could now compare with the Viking data.


One of the most controversial objects in the entire Cydonia artificiality debate (because of its status as the lynchpin of the Hoagland/Torun Geometric Relationship Model), the D&M had always been key to deciphering the correctness of the original Cydonia observations from two decades ago.

 

The most crucial question surrounding the D&M has been that of the Pyramid's five-sided symmetry, which was suggested strongly by the original Viking data and was an issue of some considerable debate in years past. Vince Dipietro, for one, had maintained for years that the D&M was only a four-sided object, objecting to the implication of a "fifth buttress" in the shadowed side of the Pyramid on the Viking data.


This projected five-sided symmetry not only held up extremely well in the new image [Fig. 9-7] (note especially the four clearly defined faceted sides to the pentagonal pyramid meeting at a central apex - exactly as observed by Hoagland and Torun on the original Viking data in 1989), but we could now see substantially more detail on the lower section of the damaged right hand side.

 

We also (despite deep shadow) could verify the existence of a "fifth buttress" to the northeast - the final piece needed to complete the pentagonal form and reconstruct the object's original, undamaged shape. The buttress seemed to be pretty much the same length as the other visible buttresses (the southeastern buttress is mostly buried under debris flow from the mild collapse the object has endured) and verified the predicted geometric form proposed by Torun in 1988 perfectly.

 

Obviously, such a "hit" was way beyond even "the power of randomness," and is a compelling confirmation of the validity of Torun's original work.


We could also see additional evidence of the internal bulge in the Pyramid as noted back in the original investigation. It was once argued - by Hoagland in Monuments - that the "crater" to the right of the Pyramid seemed to be some sort of "entrance wound" for a possible projectile that may have accounted for the bulge in the upper right hand quintile.

 

This new Odyssey image gave far greater detail of this area, and it seems to substantiate earlier 3D shape-from-shading work done by Mark Carlotto that indicated it might actually be a horizontal "entrance point," either from a projectile or as an actual architectural entrance. Additionally, the new image - at nineteen meters per pixel resolution - revealed new structural details of both southern "buttresses" that further reinforce the idea that these are essential architectural elements of a massive artificial edifice.


The conventional geologic model of these features is that they are due to "slumping."

 

Basically, the idea is that loose material from the top of the D&M tumbles down the slopes of the Pyramid and preferentially piles up at the corners of the object. Forgetting for a moment that none of these geologic experts seem to have noticed that the mass-wasting has put piles of debris precisely at the five corners of a 1.5 mile high, bilaterally symmetric, pentagonal Pyramid, our model is that these are actually reinforcing "buttresses" that have a specific architectural and mathematical function.

 

Close examination of the new image - remember, twice as good as the Viking data - shows that these buttresses are indeed just that. They have a very "boxy," geometric look - and the southwest buttress even seems to have two rectangular openings (doors?) in the base. The simple truth is that no "mass-wasting" process produces rectangular box shapes - certainly not ones with several-hundred-foot-wide doors in them.


The other major discovery from the new image was that the entire structure could now be seen to be placed atop a huge rise (or platform) much like the Giza Plateau on Earth - and this newly discovered platform, which was not resolvable in the Viking data, seemed to have a geometry all its own.
 

When you rotate the image of the D&M from the way we are all used to looking at it, we can see that there are two distinct but partially buried edges to the plateau that the D&M rests on. These two edges, not visible in the original Viking data, meet in an apex point that is exactly aligned with the SE buttress on the opposite side of the structure [Fig. 9-7].


What this new perspective on the D&M now allows us to see for the first time is that the pyramid rests on a 2D, seven-sided platform (or base) upon which the massive 3D five-side "Rosetta Stone" structure was constructed. It also revealed an additional, second alternative line of symmetry for the object, which conversely produced a second, bi-laterally symmetrical four-sided geometric figure.


When these two shapes (the seven-sided platform and the five-sided pyramid) were superimposed upon each other, they once again reinforced the quintessentially tetrahedral message of Cydonia [Fig. 9-8]. Indeed, one of the new internal angles generated by the new figure is none other than the ubiquitous 19.5. Not only did this new data flatly validate the original Torun reconstruction and analysis of this enigmatic object, but it also demonstrated the correctness of the geometric relationship model derived from it (as if the numerous successful predictions of the hyperdimensional physics model hadn't already done so).


The new image also allowed us to do an actual side-by-side-by-side comparison of the Face from Viking, MGS and Odyssey. Immediately, several things became obvious.

 

First, the Odyssey image confirmed that the MGS April 2001 image had been poorly ortho-rectified, as the Face platform was much narrower (from Odyssey's more direct overhead perspective) than it was on the Surveyor image.

 

Also, the "nostrils" from the Catbox image had returned after being nearly invisible on the April image, and the "lion"-side eye-socket appeared to be better aligned with the opposite socket.


Of course, none of this prevented the usual nay-saying from NASA. While almost all images released of anything other than Cydonia are not accompanied by captions or headline stories, images of the Face and Cydonia invariably are.

 

This image was no exception. The caption, posted on the Arizona State University THEMIS web page, was a laughable mish-mash of airy homily, inappropriate comparisons and scientific contortions that seemed way too anxious to describe the indescribable in terms that make sense to the limited minds of the geologists, who were trying to close this issue once and for all. It began by declaring that "nature is an imaginative artist" and then proceeded to inform readers that we are always seeing things we have "dreamed up" in our imaginations.

 

They then compare the Face to Arizona's Camelback Mountain (shades of NASA's previously failed "Middle Butte Mesa" comparison), and "Sleeping Beauty" near Ludlow, California, among several other places. They naturally fail to mention that all of these locations only take on the visages they are famous for as profiles from the ground.

 

This is, as has been pointed out to the NASA regulars on many occasions before, completely unlike the Face, which is designed to be seen from overhead. And, as is par for the course with these kind of assessments from the "scientific community," they tried to deal with the Face in isolation, completely ignoring the preponderance of very anomalous structures scattered all over the rest of the image - like the bi-laterally symmetrical, pentagonal D&M Pyramid.


They finally attempted - not very well - to claim that the Face's appearance is the result of wind-based erosion, or a combination of Aeolian processes and a bizarre "pasting" process that they didn't even attempt to explain thoroughly. This is just a variation of a discarded "differential erosion" argument that NASA had floated several years before.

 

This recently rediscovered notion is frankly nothing more than the authors' substantially uninformed (or deliberately obtuse) opinion, which seems to permeate all levels of NASA and its affiliate academic institutions, and not only ignores the substantial history of predictions and observations of various independent researchers, but simply does not hold up under the most elementary critical scrutiny.

 

They fail to note the incredible variety of "mesas" in the Cydonia region.

  • How exactly did the Martian wind decide to change directions, at very precise 85.39 and 69.49 angles, just around the apex of the D&M every few thousand years to sculpt the precisely mathematical Cydonia Rosetta Stone and Pentagonal D&M shape?

  • Or perhaps the wind only blew a few miles to the north, where it "sculpted" the Face out of our dreams?

  • Perhaps some completely different process was responsible for forming the D&M only a stone's throw away?

Now we're willing to engage in an exchange of opinions, but for these "experts" to couch theirs in the guise of stipulated fact is not "science," any more than any other sweeping and unsupported assertion would be.


The reality is that if the Face and the rest of Cydonia were artificial, then geologists, of all people, would probably be the last group on the planet to recognize or acknowledge it.


The reasons for this are myriad and complex, but revolve chiefly around the major problem confronting modern scientific archaeology. Initially, from mere appearance, archeologists and geologists can't even agree on whether a fairly obvious Earth artifact is artificial or derived from a completely natural process. It is therefore hardly surprising that a potential artifact on another world has been a source of intense, continuing debate for decades.


A case in point is the set of recently-discovered pyramids below the Pacific Ocean just off Japan, on a submerged undersea island called Yonaguni.

 

Archeologists were quick to point out the various characteristics that identified these structures as artificial, monumental architecture. Geologists countered with a series of equally reasoned arguments based on the biases of their science - that natural processes could explain all these data points just as readily. To most observers, the winning argument was made patently obvious simply by looking at the pictures.

 

The underwater pyramids were blatantly artificial. Yet the debate has raged on for years.


It was only when a team of divers sent by the Discovery Channel discovered a stunning, underwater Face, complete with a Mesoamerican headdress (or lion's mane?), that some of the geologists relented.

 

These new finds, joined with some key observations by Japanese marine geologists, finally broke the dam and forced the admission of the obvious - somebody built the stuff.

 

But even this single, redundant, unifying theme - faces amid the ruins, both here and on Mars - can leave some geologists searching for some remotely plausible natural explanation.


This sort of debate is exactly why we have always argued that planetary geologists are not well equipped to solely evaluate Cydonia - or any other putative artificial structures on the planet Mars. If the Face and other objects there are artificial, then they should be looked at first and foremost thru the lens of archaeology, and geology only secondly (for their natural context) - if at all.

 

Geologists tend to look at everything as the product of one of their familiar natural processes, since their training has told them (a planet full of artifacts on Earth notwithstanding) that this is the process by which everything in the solar system has been formed. This is how you get the simplistic "sand dunes" argument when geologists are confronted by anomalies like the Glass Tunnels of Mars.

 

The simple fact is that when dealing with a problem outside their own discipline, and therefore limited expertise, most scientists - from whatever field - will resort to any familiar explanation from that field, and then cling to it at all costs, no matter how silly or ultimately contradictory it turns out to be. This is what their training has taught them to do (go for the familiar first). It is also what their training limits them to.


This is why the Brookings Report was so concerned with the impact that the discovery of artifacts might have on scientists of all stripes.


Still, despite the limitations imposed on the image by the ASU geology department, there were some genuine geologic observations to be gleaned from the new image. For instance, there was some evidence of wind erosion at Cydonia, including a predominant "wind direction."


There is a clearly predominant "wind direction" at Cydonia. We could see from the earlier close-ups of the Face that the city side (and the city side only), showed some evidence of minor pitting as the result of wind erosion processes.

 

But the Cliff side was clearly protected from this process - it showed no sign of pitting - and quite obviously the minor wind erosion we observe was not a significant factor in the overall shape of the Face, this last observation meaning it was either very light (unlikely on a planet with occasional gusts for several weeks in the 300 mph range) or very recent.

 

The new image of the D&M only confirms this single predominant wind direction.

 

The three fully exposed buttresses are the ones that are most exposed to these presumed "winds of Cydonia." This is because this wind has simply blown away the dust and sand that might have once covered the structure. The two partially buried buttresses are on the opposite side of the structure, away from the howling winds of the Cydonia plain and presumably protected by the towering structure itself.


From these simple observations we can easily deduce that which seems to elude the best minds that NASA can throw at the "Cydonia problem." Wind was not a significant factor in the geomorphology of either the Face or the D&M. To ascribe the shape of any object of interest at Cydonia to this process flatly ignores the observations that contradict it.


It would be easy, even comforting, to dismiss this as merely rationalization - to assume that the staff geologists at ASU, so used to explaining things in comfortable terms, had simply chosen to ignore the frightening paradigm shift that the Face, the D&M and other objects represent.

 

To somehow convince themselves that, yes, the wind could make those turns...

 

 


Chapter Nine Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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