Chapter Ten

Mars Heats Up

Next, Keith used a decorrelation-stretch tool on the images.

 

This is a critical tool that exaggerates (not creates) the color/material/heat signature differences in the color-ratioed images. Then, as a last step, he added the luminance layer of the visual image.


In short, there is no way that Christensen, et al., could have possibly painted "fake" buildings on each of the nine images and guess how he'd combine each layer, what color ratios he'd use, what settings he'd use in the decorrelation-stretch tool, how he would rotate, align and crop the images, and whether or not he'd then combine the visual image on top of that. It's just flatly impossible.

 

So the objects we were seeing in Keith's processing were definitely "there" on the real IR image.


Next, Keith endured a series of attacks from various amateur anomaly hunters who claimed it was he that "created" the blocks and buildings on the images. Further, they argued that nobody "knew for sure" that "Bamf was really Noel Gorelick (despite "Bamf s" evident encyclopedic knowledge of infrared image processing) and that he might have led Keith into creating artifacts with the imaging suggestions he'd made.


At this point, we had had enough. It was arranged for Keith to brief Art in more detail, and show him a comparison between the earlier Phobos 2 IR image and the new Cydonia data [Fig. 10-2]. That did the trick with Art on the images, but everybody still wanted proof of who "Bamf was - so one of the authors (Bara) called him.


It took no time at all to find Noel Gorelick in the ASU phone directory. Bara called him the afternoon of September 6, 2002. In the course of the conversation, Gorelick freely admitted he was "Bamf," that he was responsible for all of the postings in the Enterprise Mission BBS under that name, and he reiterated his stance that the Cydonia IR image page had been untouched since he posted it on July 24, 2002.

 

Bara then went on Coast to Coast AM that night to pass this information on.135


To some extent, these accusations and this sort of behavior were to be expected from the "usual suspects" on the various message boards. What we weren't prepared for, however, was an assault on our integrity from a former friend, especially one who should have known better.

 

 


Stretching the Truth

Shortly before we published our revelation of the existence of two THEMIS Cydonia IR images, on August 29, 2002, SPSR's Dr. Mark Carlotto put out his own analysis of the Cydonia multispectral image.

 

From the beginning, we were concerned about the contents of the Carlotto analysis. For one thing, there were simple errors (for instance, the IR image is referred to as "E0201847.gif," which is the wrong file name for the multispectral Cydonia image, "20020724A").

 

In addition, there were numerous misspellings and other obvious mistakes-which gave the whole project an air of haste and sloppiness. It did not seem to be up to Carlotto's usual thorough standards - at least as Hoagland had remembered them from working with Carlotto years before.


As we got into the content of the article, it seemed to stray into even odder territory. Carlotto started out by comparing the Odyssey Martian THEMIS data to terrestrial Landsat images, a very inaccurate comparison to say the least.

 

Landsat is a 1970s-era technology that produces primarily surface reflectance data in the visible region of the spectrum, as compared to THEMIS, which concentrates on extracting data primarily from intrinsic thermal infrared emissions from surfaces and objects. Landsat, in contrast to THEMIS, has virtually no "ground penetration" capabilities at all.

 

A far better comparison would have been made to a relatively new Earth orbiting instrument (1999) called ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection), which has very similar near-infrared capabilities to THEMIS.


Carlotto went on to make some even stranger "errors" in his article. He proceeded to conclude that there were various clays making up the composition of the region surrounding the Face. However, Carlotto surely must have known that he could make no such conclusions, since the calibration data for either the official version or the "real" version of the Cydonia IR data had yet to be released. He also failed to perform a decorrelation-stretch, a step that is crucial for separating the thermal data from the composition information in the image.

 

However, even if he had, it would have made no difference, since without the crucial calibration data his conclusions about the specific composition of Cydonia were meaningless. Beyond that, he completely ignored the overwhelming amount of noise in the official image and seemed more than satisfied with the poor quality of it.


Even as we tried to make sense of Carlotto's seeming "brain fade," our attention was drawn to another recent item posted on his new website.

 

In it, he directly addressed the issue we had raised concerning the discrepancy between the two IR datasets, the "official" and the "real" one obtained by Keith Laney. Carlotto declared that clearly the "real" version we had posted was a degraded version of the "official" one.


We knew this, of course, to be utterly laughable. In his analysis of the two images, Carlotto had taken only a single unnamed band from the "real" data, and compared it to a single unnamed band from the "official" version.

 

He had not done a full composite of the "real" image bands, not done any color ratios, nor performed a decorrelation-stretch to enhance the data. All he did was make a simple visual inspection of two grayscale bands without performing any of the accepted processes for enhancing false color thermal IR data.


This, as we have said, is flatly not how you handle thermal IR data. This is higher-order IR information, compared to a simple "pretty picture." Even though it is lower resolution data, it is information totally unavailable from even much higher resolution visual images. Which is what makes lower resolution thermal IR THEMIS data such a potential breakthrough on the thirty-year-plus Cydonia problem, even at around 100 meters per pixel.


It is this fundamental fact of infrared optical physics that made us believe from the beginning that Laney's July 25 "blurry" Cydonia IR image was the "real deal," and the July 24, apparently much higher resolution "official" image was, in fact, the "doctored" version.


The "real" image, while it may look a bit blurry, actually contains far more data than the "official" version, no matter what the "official" version looks like on first (naked eye) visual inspection. That's why the processing and enhancement tools used for multi-spectral (more than one band) imaging, to accomplish exactly that, are crucial to extracting that "hidden" signal from this set of IR images.


Carlotto, it seemed, was making the same elementary error that some of our readers were making - assuming that sharper is automatically better, as it is for visible light images. And curiously, he did not do the other crucial steps, which would have instantly shown him that the "real" (July 25) images contained far more, and far better quality, data than the official version did.

 

This simple analysis in and of itself would have immediately disproved his core hypothesis - for how can "degraded" data produce quantitatively better results (in a superb program like ENVI 3.5) under proper analysis, than its supposed "source data," and with infinitely less noise?


The simple answer is that it can't - but that's not what really bothered us What troubled us in the extreme was that Dr. Carlotto, a world-class imaging expert, and DOD contractor on a host of classified imaging analyses, should have known all this.


So, given this decidedly odd state of affairs - a well-known and respected imaging specialist, who at least used to be curious about Cydonia and suspicious of NASA, making not only a seemingly colossal error in judgment, but compounding that error by failing to simply put it to the test - we decided to consider our options.

 

The authors and Keith Laney conferenced about Carlotto's article on the night of September 3.

 

The general consensus was that Carlotto had effectively "polished a turd" and declared that he discovered a pearl - all without even considering the field of gems which had been placed right in front of him.


Hoagland, however, refused to buy into the notion that Carlotto was as incompetent as his analysis made it seem. He staunchly defended Carlotto's skills and professionalism, insisting that there must be some other reason for his reticence to properly process the THEMIS images.

 

Considering Carlotto's membership in SPSR, we decided it was possible that Carlotto had simply fallen in with the "honest but stupid" crowd that forgives every NASA transgression, yet holds the authors to much higher standards. The decision was taken to reach out to Carlotto - if only to save him the embarrassment of a public response pointing out his lack of thoroughness.

 

Bara subsequently e-mailed Carlotto, informing him he'd made several errors in his article, and advising him to pull it, at least until we published our own analysis.


Carlotto responded via e-mail and pointed out that he had plenty of experience working with thermal images, that the "real" image was "obviously degraded, and that his paper had been peer reviewed (by Dr. Horace Crater, a statistical analyst who has no working experience we are aware of with thermal IR).

 

Mike's response back was basically,

"suit yourself, but if we had peer reviewed your paper, it would not be published right now."

Carlotto e-mailed Bara back, got Hoagland's phone number, and the two men had a chat on September 4.


According to Hoagland, what Carlotto seemed most concerned about was that his previously published paper would be made obsolete by our article-After a wide-ranging discussion, which included Carlotto pointing out tha he'd written his own decorrelation-stretch algorithm, Carlotto agreed to take the "real" image, perform all of the proper steps (composite, color ratios and decorrelation-stretch) on it, and either call or e-mail Hoagland with his results.

 

That never happened.


We have no way of knowing if Carlotto ever did the analysis he agreed to do, but after more than a week of waiting, Carlotto's only response was to publish yet another "update," in which he dug himself into an even deeper scientific and ethical hole.


Instead of following the proper protocols for processing thermal infrared data as he'd agreed to do, Carlotto decided instead to take the "official" version of the Cydonia THEMIS image and subject it to a series of contrast and blur filters in an apparent attempt to "prove" that the Laney image was generated by degrading the official one.

 

He did this by taking only a single band image, not a composite, and he of course did not do any of the other tests he agreed to perform in his conversation with Hoagland. This led him to conclude "its similarity to the top left ["real"] image strongly suggests that the Enterprise image is an altered version of the ASU image."


He then goes on to claim that because the Laney image changes from band to band in the unratioed grayscale it is a "distorted" version of the "official" ASU release. What is truly disturbing is that Carlotto's "test" here is proving exactly the opposite of what he is claiming. Real multispectral data (and certainly thermal IR data) does change from band to band.

 

What he is illustrating is exactly what true multispectral data should look like.

 

He's not seeing distortion, but rather the expected shift in "return" to the camera from slight variations in the thermal signatures of actual features on the Cydonia plain.

 

The other phenomena he seems to be describing, the "shift" in certain edges of some of the large features, is simply due to the fact that the various bands are not all taken at exactly the same time. There are significant shifts in the spacecraft's position as different filtered CCDs in the THEMIS camera record (in a rapid-fire sequence) of the actual imaging data for all the bands. This makes it a near impossibility to simply overlay the various bands when doing a composite.

 

Of course, had he simply read the camera specs, he would have known this, and physically corrected (as Laney has successfully) for the minute geometric shifts.


That Carlotto made no effort to correct the alignment problem is not only a testament to his lack of thoroughness in this case, but an outright indictment of his methods and possibly even his motivations. Keith Laney, at our request, produced an image similar to the section that Carlotto had done, only with the various bands properly aligned geometrically. It took him all of five minutes.


All Carlotto would have to do, if he truly wanted to decide the question of which dataset is "degraded" and which is "pristine," would be to run the two images side by side through a quality enhancement tool, like ENVI 3.5 as Keith had done. Had he done so - as he promised Hoagland he would - he would have clearly seen that he got it completely backwards.


What makes this truly egregious is that Carlotto certainly knows everything we have described above, that a simple visual inspection of a single grayscale IR band is not a valid comparison of these incredibly information-rich datasets.

 

He has evidently decided that it is better to try and cover his own mistakes by making up a "pretty picture" which only proves his talents as an artist, not as a scientist. What seems to have happened is that Carlotto is unwilling to publicly face the fact that his initial declaration "that the Laney image is the degraded one" is flat out wrong.

 

Given the opportunity to admit his mistake, he has instead decided to cover his tracks with this absurd comparison. We were truly sorry that Carlotto had chosen to take a politically defensive stand, instead of the scientifically courageous one.


The absurdity of this position is underscored by an e-mail Laney received from Research Systems, Inc. While refusing to get into the middle of the "which image is real" controversy, the communication made several points totally inconsistent with Carlotto's "analysis."

 

Said Keith's RSI ENVI representative:

"I must admit, this has made quite a stir in the astronomy community! At any rate the images look awesome! As I tell anyone who asks about RSI's stance... 'RSI does not have an opinion either way, we just want to provide the best software to scientists so that they can do their own best work.'"

How could someone crudely "degrading" the official Cydonia data create "quite a stir in the astronomy community?"

 

Given the scientists that RSI routinely deals with, and their level of multi-spectral expertise, any simple "degradation of the official ASU THEMIS website image into the one Laney has been working with (with RSI looking on) would most certainly have been caught if it was as simple as Carlotto was now claiming. Also, if Keith's image was a "hoax," why would the RSI representative go on record saying that the images produced from it 'Took awesome?"

 

Wouldn't the better part of valor be to simply refrain from all comment until the lineage of the "real" image was determined?


In effect, Carlotto had simply parroted the position of Dr. Phillip Christensen of ASU by declaring that the Laney data is "degraded," when all parties involved (as the RSI e-mail underscores) certainly know that the official version is far inferior to the Laney data.

 

By refusing to put that data to the true scientific test - whatever the reason - Carlotto and SPSR are reduced to being nothing but mouthpieces for the NASA party line. As we said before we released this data, people were going to have to take sides... and SPSR and Carlotto evidently had.


However, the attempt to bring Carlotto back into the fold was not all wasted. A reader, Wil Faust, made a truly inspired suggestion to us. Why not compare, he said, Carlotto's own seminal work - his fractal analysis of the Cydonia region from the Viking data - to our own IR results?


So we did.


It turns out that when you use Carlotto's own methodology, and take a single band of the IR image strip from Keith's "real" version of the data to compare it against Carlotto's own fractal analysis of Viking frames 35A72 and 70A13, you get quite striking results. Not only are the THEMIS blocks - which Carlotto now flatly claims are "enhancement" or "filtering" artifacts - clearly visible on his own work from twelve years ago, but they match up very precisely with the blocks on the Laney image, literarily one for one [Fig. 10-3].


It is now incumbent upon Dr. Carlotto, who is so sure that the Laney image isn't valid (or is at least "degraded"; he'd parsed his words pretty carefully) to demonstrate just how "filtering artifacts" can not only line up with features in Odyssey's THEMIS and visible light images - but also with direct non-fractal "hits" in his own dataset.


Significantly, these non-fractal patterns - to show up in the visible images at all - also have to be caused by geometric structures buried just beneath the ground. Clearly, Dr. Carlotto's methods - which have led him to dismiss all of these converging anomalies as just "degraded data" - had led him off the edge of the paper.


It is one thing to make honest errors in a piece of scientific work. It is quite another to compound those errors and miss the entire forest by hiding behind an incompetent "peer review" and obvious political propaganda, without even checking your own previously published work.


We have no desire to pillory Carlotto any further here.

 

His own demonstrable lack of true scientific curiosity has more than accomplished that. We simply challenge him again in this volume - as we did in 2002 - to produce and publish the composites, color ratios and decorrelation-stretch results from the appropriate multi-spectral analysis he promised Richard Hoagland he would do on the "leaked" THEMIS image.

 

Until he does this, sadly, we can no longer endorse his methods, his competence or even his intellectual honesty on any issue pertaining to this continuing extraterrestrial artifacts investigation.



Night and the City

As the summer of 2002 drifted into fall, we had just about run the course on options over the IR data.

 

We still hoped for a legitimate nighttime IR image, since that would provide far greater contrast than the daytime image and should theoretically reveal the "buried city" in even more dramatic relief than the "real" daytime IR had.

 

Just when we reached the point of giving up, however, it was Bamf to the rescue. Shortly after our publication of an article highly critical of the deceptive statements he had been making in our online BBS,137 he finally delivered that which we had been asking for - sort of.


On October 31, 2002 - Halloween no less, the same pagan holiday that marked the ''birth" of JPL - ASU released what they alleged was a nighttime infrared image of Cydonia. Not only did this image appear on that most pagan of pagan ritual dates, but the caption claimed it was taken just a few days before, October 24, 2002, the one year anniversary of Odyssey's insertion into Mars' orbit.


These ritualistic manipulations aside, it was immediately clear that there were issues with the data. Rather than the full nine bands as we had been given in the daytime image of July 24-25, this time we got a cropped image showing a portion of a single nighttime image strip alongside a similar crop from (supposedly) the July daytime image.

 

The official ASU caption read:

"This pair of THEMIS infrared images shows the so-called 'Face on Mars landform viewed during both the day and night. The nighttime THEMIS IR image was acquired on October 24, 2002; the daytime image was originally released on July 24, 2002. Both images are of THEMIS's ninth IR band (12.57 microns), and they have been geometrically projected for image registration."

Yet a comparison with band nine from the actual July 24 release revealed the first of some troubling discrepancies.

 

Band nine of the July 24 daytime IR is listed on the original ASU graphic as being "12.58 microns"; but on the October 31 comparison, it's cited as "12.57 microns."

 

It turns out that depending on which official THEMIS document you reference, you get a different center wavelength value for the infrared filter strips on the THEMIS camera CCDs. This can be quite confusing, since it makes a difference in how IR bands are subsequently processed.


Even more troubling than this perplexing "filter change" was a major discrepancy in the new image itself. In the July 24 original, the image "footprint" cuts off two mesas at the top of the scanned strip; in the October 31 "version" of the same image, there is clearly significantly more surface detail captured northeast of those mesas. Two verifiably different image "footprints," for what had been categorically maintained by NASA, ASU and JPL for months as only one July 24 image.


Given the shrill accusations of "hoax" and "fraud" leveled at both Keith Laney and the authors for even suggesting that there could be two different versions of this image, the new posting was vindication. The publication of two demonstrably different "official" versions is elemental proof that we were right. It also opens even more possibilities; if there are no less than two "official" versions of the July 24 data, why not a third version that matches Laney's "real" data?


That being said, what - if anything - was to be gained by taking seriously the contents of this first nighttime Cydonia IR image - THEMIS image number 20021031A? First of all, just looking at the image, something was clearly wrong: the data itself is just too "noisy" for a Martian summer image.


Even a casual comparison with a nighttime IR we'd seen previously reveals that the noise level of this new nighttime Cydonia IR is comparable to that image (101180002) which was taken in the dead of Martian winter in the northern hemisphere, March 21, 2002. The current Cydonia image, by contrast, was supposedly acquired October 24 - eight months later - just after the beginning of Martian summer in the northern hemisphere.


So why was it so noisy? One basic reason could be that Bamf had simply lied again.

 

The truth was that, yes, this was a nighttime Cydonia IR image, but it was taken (probably as one of a series of unreleased Cydonia images) much earlier in the current Odyssey Mission than publicly admitted - when it was simply a lot colder at Cydonia. This effectively reduces contrast and increases noise.

 

After the publication of our latest article on October 20, 2002 Bamf (and those managing his actions on the THEMIS team) hurriedly put out something on nighttime Cydonia IR just to shut us up. So he reached into the THEMIS "hidden Cydonia drawer" and pulled out an older, "colder" (and partially sanitized) "new" image, which he then simply labeled as one taken on October 24, 2002. At least, that was our working theory. We now set out to prove it.


Because we know the latitude of Cydonia (about 41 N), and the tilt of Mars on its own axis (about 25), we can easily calculate - by observing the details in the image, and comparing them to the geometric position of the sun at any time of the Martian year - when this image had to have been acquired.

 

Essentially, it's "Astronomy 101."


This is the simple equation that allows us to derive this crucial geometric information:

sin D = sin a / (cos b)

Where D = max deviation (north or south) of the rising or setting sun from an east/west line; a = planetary obliquity (its tilt); and b = the latitude of the observer. "D" is also defined as the "summer or winter solstice": i.e. the longest days of summer, or the shortest days of winter, in that hemisphere.


Halfway between these two farthest excursions of the sun, north and south along the horizon, is the geometric position of the "spring and fall equinoxes." The word derives from the Latin, meaning "equal night": i.e. the length of the days and nights at that position in Mars' annual solar orbit (year) are approximately equal (Mars' orbit being decidedly elliptical).


Applying this calculation to the new Cydonia image, we could derive - with absolute scientific certainty - when this image had to have been taken, and we didn't need to "trust".

 

We began with the orbits of Mars and Earth.

 

Using a newly created "analog orbital computer," courtesy of Dr. Bob Zubrin, we were able to compare the two planetary orbits and graphically convert from any date and season here on Earth to its equivalent on Mars.138 By using this tool we could confirm that Odyssey arrived in Mars orbit on October 24, 2001, just after the Martian winter solstice in the northern hemisphere.


By then advancing the dates to correspond to Bamf s claim that the new nighttime IR Cydonia image was taken on that one-year anniversary - precisely twelve Earth months later, October 24, 2002-we could see that the new image would have been taken over Mars just after the Martian summer solstice in the northern hemisphere.


Because he arranged both images - day and night - at the same but opposite symbolic angle to the Martian equator in his graphic (about 7), it's a simple matter to match the illumination of the features seen in the images with the true Martian coordinates - and compare that with the calculated sun angles for any particular Martian season derived from the equation cited earlier.


When we overlaid (within an error of +/-3) the calculated angle of for the maximum summer and minimum winter illumination angles (solstices) to an east/west line (which determines the angles at which slopes receive the last rays of the setting sun, and thus which will be warmest throughout the night) - a very interesting picture regarding when this nighttime IR image was actually taken begins to emerge.


In the "natural model," the only source of energy to warm the Martian surface is solar illumination.

 

For objects on that surface to "glow" in the thermal infrared at night and be detectable by the THEMIS camera, therefore, requires that they be dense enough to retain a significant amount of solar energy for hours after sunset and be angled essentially "face on" towards those last warming rays of the setting sun.


If we examine the nighttime Cydonia landscape Bamf had now given us, several intriguing aspects of this model nicely come together. Apart from the Face, there is another distinctive feature at Cydonia, "the island."

 

It's a roughly rectangular mesa, several miles due east of the Face, with a flat surface area of several square miles - standing a few hundred feet above the surrounding plane. Its two western, relatively steep vertical cliffs face northwest and southwest roughly in the directions of the summer and winter solstice sunset points [Fig. 10-4].


Examination of the "daytime thermal image" [Fig. 10-4, left] clearly shows the afternoon sun coming from the southwest, casting distinct cold shadows off the mesa's northeastern cliff (dark band, upper right). The top, northwestern cliff [Fig 10-4, dark band, upper right), though illuminated, is almost as dark as the shadowed eastern cliff, indicating that sunlight is reaching it at "grazing incidence."

 

There's also a distinct (colder) "darkening" extending back from the western "tip" along this northwestern cliff, indicating an "outcropping" at the tip, creating a distinct (thus colder) shadow extending about a mile.


Even though Bamf claimed (on the BBS and also in several private e-mails to some members) that this image was taken on May 5, one can confidently state from this solar geometry (mathematically extrapolated to the sunset point), that the July 24 image had to have been taken approximately halfway between the northern Martian hemisphere winter solstice (just before Mars Odyssey arrived, October 24) and the Martian spring equinox. In other words, on Earth, sometime in January 2002... not May 5.


Coincidentally, this was the precise timeframe of the final "tweaking" of Odyssey's Mars orbit (after aerobraking), which was advertised as a means to achieve the final mapping orbit for the formal science mission, which was to begin on February 18, 2002.


If Cydonia was (and is) a "hidden priority" for this entire mission - as certain official Odyssey mission press statements, the released Cydonia imaging data, and "Bamf s" own still-inexplicable, summer-long disinformation campaign on nighttime infrared capabilities at Cydonia all strongly suggest - January 2002 would have been the perfect time to take the image.

 

While adjusting the orbit of the spacecraft for the main science mission, some "trims" could be included that would allow Cydonia to be quietly imaged very early in the mission. In fact, it could have been done even before the formal mapping mission (and unwanted press attention) began.


So what about Bamf's claim - that the nighttime Cydonia IR image was acquired on October 24, 2002?


In the right hand portion of Fig. 10-4, if you look carefully at this enlargement of the nighttime image you will notice that the brightest "thermally glowing" cliffs are once again facing west, toward the setting sun. This critical geometry is simply due to that being the last input of solar energy to these exposed rocks, before the onset of the frigid Martian night.


Remarkably, for when this image was supposedly taken, the most heated portion of "the island's" cliffs in this nighttime shot is the southwestern section and only a very small portion (that previously described "outcropping") of the northwestern-facing cliff.


If the sun were anywhere near the northern Martian summer solstice October 24, 2002, when this image was acquired, this entire northwestern cliff would have been directly heated by the setting sun and brilliantly glowing after sunset. And it is not.


From this simple (but irrefutable) solar geometry, the truth behind this image is now obvious. THEMIS image 2002103 lA-the nighttime IR image of Cydonia-could not have been acquired on October 24, 2002. The only time, according to this solstice geometry (lower green arrow) in the entire Odyssey mission this Cydonia image could have been taken, was in the same timeframe as the July 24 daytime IR image release, sometime in January 2002.


This now also explains the other, totally inexplicable discrepancy about this image - the nighttime Cydonia surface temperatures, reportedly recorded at the "height" of Martian summer.


In another March 21, near-Cydonia nighttime IR image (101180002), the temperature range - from the coldest region in the image to the "warmest" - was cited in the Planetary Data System as "-56 Centigrade to -40 Centigrade" - a spread of about 16 C.

 

This image was taken during the shortest period of Martian daylight, and on one of the coldest, longest nights around the northern winter solstice, and only about a hundred miles east of Cydonia itself.


By sharp contrast, the official caption for the "October 24" nighttime Cydonia image - taken at the same latitude and in the same geologic province and (ostensibly) just after the northern summer solstice - mysteriously reports much colder nighttime temperatures.139

 

According to the official ASU October 31 release:

"The temperature in the daytime scene ranges from -50 C (darkest) to -15 C (brightest). At night many of the hills and knobs in this region are difficult to detect because the effects of heating and shadowing on the slopes are no longer present. The temperatures at night vary from approximately -90 C (darkest) to -7 C (warmest)..."

Let's get this straight:

The coldest reading (-56 C) in the nighttime March 21 winter image was only 6 colder than the coldest daytime temperature (-50 C) in the "July 24" image - but the lowest surface temperature in the nighttime "October 24 image" (-90 C), taken near the summer solstice, was 46 colder than the coldest winter temperature on that March 21 image - and the highest temperature recorded in that new nighttime Cydonia image (-75 C) - again, reportedly taken at the height of the Martian summer - was 35 C colder than the peak nighttime winter temperature (-40 C), measured in that nearby March 21 winter nighttime image... huh?

Why are the readings taken on a "balmy Martian summer night," compared to the dead-of-winter nighttime readings taken just across the hill, so much (impossibly) colder?


Unless they're not really "summer" nighttime readings at all, because Bamf (if not the entire THEMIS team behind him, from Christensen on down) just blatantly lied to us... again.

 

That's what the objective science in these images now tells us - and from two totally independent disciplines, planetary orbital geometry and THEMIS' own radiometry of Mars.


Having satisfied ourselves that this new Cydonia data had been deliberately withheld, probably because it contained some critical new corroborative information on the "intelligence hypothesis" (otherwise, why bother to conceal it at all, and for so long?) we can now move on to consider what genuine anomalies might lie hidden here, even in this "sanitized" version of the latest "trick or treat." Remember - in order to be believed, some "truth" must be continually mixed in with all the lies.


The most striking "Cydonia anomaly" in the newest NASA/JPL/ASU release is the almost complete "disappearance" of the Face. In a side-by-side presentation, the Face - as seen in the July 24 daytime IR image (left), compared with its nighttime "October 31" counterpart (right), is almost completely missing [Fig. 10-5].


Remember, these are thermal IR scans. What we are seeing - in both the day and nighttime THEMIS images - is infrared radiation due to solar energy, being reflected back and/or emitted from the sun-warmed Martian surface.


In the afternoon close-up, the THEMIS camera is recording reflected longwave solar energy (thus shadowed surfaces are extremely dark and cold), as well as re-emitted thermal radiation from the exposed sunlit portions of the "mesa," externally heated by absorbed radiation from the sun. In the nighttime image (right), the only radiation being picked up by the Odyssey camera is this re-radiating stored solar energy (this, of course, in NASA's "externally warmed, natural" model).


This being the essential physics of these images, why is the nighttime close-up of the Face, compared to its daytime counterpart, of such obvious lower quality and resolution?

 

Part of the reason, we now know, is due to the fact that the image was taken much earlier than Bamf let on in his extensive BBS conversations. This image was taken literally at the coldest period of northern Martian winter - some time in January 2002. The frigid ground temperatures reported in its official caption, -90 C to -75 C, quietly confirm this, even if we didn't have the seasonal lighting geometry to cinch it.


In such a bitterly cold environment - and at night - the solar energy absorbed during the day, even by materials capable of efficiently retaining such solar radiation, is going to be relatively weak. So we would expect a nighttime IR "signature" to be significantly noisy if the image was actually taken in January 2002 (as we've now proven).


On the other hand, when we examined the pixel details of this nighttime Cydonia IR image, it was also obvious that "someone" carefully "added" a significant amount of noise in an obvious effort to obscure certain geometric patterns that were recorded. Fortunately, knowing this, it is possible to significantly reduce their final impact and amplify the real geometric patterns.

 

In fact, in the official presentation of this data by the THEMIS team there are "coded" instructions in the caption for precisely what to do:

"Both images are of THEMIS's ninth IR band (12.57 microns), and they have been geometrically projected for image registration."

In other words, place one image precisely over the other ("image registration"), as that (as every astronomer, physicist and imaging specialist knows) will significantly reduce the "noise."


Which, of course, we would have done anyway.

 

But Bamf s careful preparation of both images, already precisely scaled and tilted by the appropriate amounts, made it far easier to carry out. Keith Laney prepared an "averaged" version of both images in a couple of minutes, thanks to Bamf s "helpful" presentation [Fig. 10-6].


The Face immediately pops out [Fig. 10-6, top, center], as well as a number of other, highly intriguing thermal anomalies across the image.

 

The Face is revealed in the nighttime IR to be a perfectly rectangular "box," with lots of internal rectilinear geometry inside. Even in a simple contrast-adjusted and "Gaussian blurred" version of the "raw" image the striking geometric lineaments are plainly visible, as are the "squared off proportions matching the daytime image.


One intriguing feature that appears in the nighttime version, but does not appear in the daytime image, is the "symmetrical extension" below the "chin." Clearly, something close to the surface, but underground, is warm enough in the nighttime IR to allow its heat to "leak" up through the overlying layers of sand and dust and reveal its symmetrical presence underground.


The brightest (warmest) sections of the Face are clearly those highest on the feature - the left "eyebrow ridge" and the "nose" - consistent with their retaining the most heat from being exposed the longest to the last rays of the setting sun.

 

The rest of the mile-long "mesa" - remarkably, for a "rocky, eroded outcrop" - has almost blended into the very frigid Martian surface, clearly having cooled off very fast after sunset.


Interestingly, in the author's foreword to the fifth edition of The Monuments of Mars, Hoagland had predicted months previously precisely what we were now seeing in this latest nighttime image:

"The [Mars Odyssey] camera's long-wavelength ability to sense and image subtle temperature differences... will allow detection of cooler geometric artificial structures against the warmer natural background deserts (especially at night), the same way suspended bridges and skyscrapers on Earth cool first, before surrounding landscapes."

In addition to the highly anomalous internal geometric structure of the Face, which now strongly reinforces the non-natural, constructed model, the unnatural coldness of this structure must also be addressed.

 

Why is the whole of the Face so cold compared to the surrounding background if it's just a "naturally eroding mesa?"


One obvious answer is that it's not a "natural mesa" at all - that the Face, as we've suspected all along, is composed of other types of manufactured materials and in a form that quickly allows the daytime heating from the sun to be dissipated after sunset.

 

This requirement would be satisfied if the composition were some kind of "conducting material" like a metal, and if this material was significantly porous (perhaps "honeycombed," thus allowing very efficient night air cooling) to boot.


Clearly, something is definitely "anomalous" with this one feature, at least regarding the nighttime thermal properties of its external surface, which is precisely what we were expecting - if it's artificial.

 

Close-ups of other "average mesas" on this landscape - some of which are, like the Face, located precisely according to the unique "hyperdimensional geometry" that's overwhelmingly "coded" here - also seem to be exhibiting "anomalous" thermal properties. Anomalous, that is, for mere outcroppings of erosively resistant rocks.


Is this why this image was apparently one of the first clandestinely acquired by the Odyssey mission, even before any other science was begun - and at literally the coldest period of the northern Martian winter, the best time to determine (with the low-noise thermal background) if "the lights were still on" somewhere at Cydonia?


Is this why the image Keith Laney was leaked on July 25, 2002 bears an eerie resemblance, as if it was a combination of a high quality daytime IR overlaid on another nighttime image? Is this why the D&M in Laney's multi-band version of the NASA July 25 image has this astonishing "transparent aspect," because it's a much more noise-free (averaged) version of what we've been discussing?


The only logical conclusion one can reach regarding this whole elaborate charade is that someone went to a lot of trouble to conceal something critical regarding this entire, early focus of the Odyssey mission on Cydonia, and on this nighttime image.


And, as always, there was more to the story. A few weeks after publication of a story on the nighttime IR on the Enterprise Mission website, Gorelick got involved in an online chat about it on the MarsNews.com forum.

 

In the course of the chat, he was asked why he only posted a single band of the nighttime IR, instead of the full nine bands as they had with the daytime (both "real" and "official" versions).

 

Bamf replied that,

"I could do a nine-band IOTD like the 7/24 image, but since we've already done of it [sicj, I don't think we'll do another one."

The implications of Gorelick's off-the-cuff and arrogant remark were telling.

 

 Did he really mean to publicly imply that THEMIS has acquired all nine bands of nighttime infrared across Cydonia - in addition to the one he'd deigned to publish? His statement cannot really be interpreted in any other way. Gorelick couldn't tease us with his "I could do a nine-band IOTD..." unless the spacecraft had in fact acquired all of them.

 

And that brought with it some major political implications.


A random check of about fifty (of the approximately two hundred nighttime) images then displayed on the ASU THEMIS archive website revealed only one other image which was acquired with all nine bands in the entire THEMIS library. If carried through, this is a rate of only two percent.


In other words, if Bamf was telling the truth in his online chat, a nine-band data set of nighttime Cydonia IR, according to ASU's own records, represents an almost singular occurrence in terms of other nighttime images of Mars.


Clearly, acquiring a full nine-band nighttime IR - of a region that has repeatedly been termed "scientifically uninteresting" by the entire THEMIS team - can only be additional corroboration of the clandestine nature of the Odyssey mission from the beginning. It is also further confirmation as to why there have been so many systematic lies even about when images are being taken of Cydonia.

 

"Someone" is truly scientifically obsessed with the IR composition of Cydonia and was doing all they could to hide that increasingly obvious obsession.


So, did Bamf truly "slip" in revealing this new gem? Or was this another in an increasing number of fortuitously timed, carefully thought-out revelations about what was truly going on inside the Mission?


We decided, frankly, that we were no longer willing to speculate or wait for Christensen and his team to drop us another coded nugget. It was time to go on the offensive.



Caltech

In early 2003, most of the nation was trying to cope with the national tragedy surrounding the demise of the Space Shuttle Columbia.

 

While there was a great deal about the disaster that made it look suspicious, there was equal weight to the arguments that it had simply been a terrible accident. Investigations revealed that NASA, in an effort to appease the Clinton administration's EPA, had switched to an "environmentally friendly" external tank insulating foam in 1996, and had been having trouble with it ever since.

 

Once that decision was taken, it was only a matter of time before a Columbialike disaster would befall the agency. We could not devote too much time to Columbia because, frankly, we were knee-deep in Mars.


In the spring of 2003, NASA released a new five-band color image of the Face on Mars. The image had the same date stamp as the nighttime Cydonia infrared image that was released the previous year. This immediately raised our suspicions. We had already proven that the nighttime Cydonia infrared image was not taken on October 24, 2002, as NASA claimed.

 

That meant we could not be sure about this new five-band color image either - and, almost immediately, there were new questions raised about the visual light image.


This would have to wait for more detailed investigation, however. We had discovered that both Michael Malin and Phil Christensen would be attending a public event at JPL's sixth international Mars conference in Pasadena. We felt like this would give us a great opportunity to confront Christensen about the daytime infrared image that had caused so much controversy the previous year. So on July 23, 2003, Mike Bara dutifully attended the public event.

 

Both Dr. Malin and Dr. Christensen gave slideshow presentations.

 

Christensen could not resist showing the recent five-band color image of the Face on Mars. As he brought the image of the Face up on the screen, he smirked and asked the audience if they knew what it was. There was a nervous chuckle throughout the crowd.

 

He then put forth a new idea about the natural geologic evolution of the Face. He suggested that the unusually bright reflectivity of the eastern side of the Face mesa was because of an accumulation of carbon dioxide snow on that side of the Face. He smirked once again when he asked the audience if they had any comments on his idea (there were none).

 

However, a few moments later, when Dr. Arden Albee opened the forum for public questions, the smirk was wiped off his face.


As no one stepped to the microphone initially, Bara decided to ask a question. Dr. Albee suggested that the person asking the question give their name. When Bara approached the microphone and gave his name: "Michael Bara," Dr. Malin audibly groaned and proceeded to hide behind a stage curtain. Malin emerged from behind the curtain only after hearing that the question was for Dr. Christensen.


Christensen himself became highly agitated. He began pacing back and forth across the stage as Bara asked him if the original Cydonia daytime infrared image, which was posted on the ASU website on July 24, 2002 had ever been changed. At one point as he stumbled for an answer, Christensen dropped the battery pack for his wireless microphone and had to scramble to pick it up.

 

Obviously, he was surprised and caught off-guard by this confrontation. When he did answer, it was in a nervous and halting tone, and he only occasionally made eye contact with his questioner.


Christensen defended the data on the THEMIS website. He claimed that once it had been posted on July 24, 2002 it had never been altered. He also went on to state that he had no idea how the "artificial stuff had gotten on the images that Keith Laney had processed. At no time did he say that the Laney version of the image was an outright fake, nor did he accuse Hoagland, Laney or Bara of creating false data.

 

His choice of the words "artificial stuff was quite telling, because he could have just as easily used the word "fake." He pointedly did not.


Just to be sure, Bara asked for clarification on the most crucial point: had the data that was posted on the ASU THEMIS website been changed after July 24, 2002? Christensen again emphatically answered "no." What he did not know at that time was that at precisely that moment, we had him.


Unbeknownst to Christensen, there is a website called the "Internet Archive" (archive.org). Sponsored by the Library of Congress, its purpose is to document every page that has ever existed on the World Wide Web.

 

Using a search engine called the "Wayback Machine," we had been able to plug in the URL of the daytime Cydonia infrared image.

 

It had shown that, contrary to Christensen's previous email statements and contrary to his latest public statements, the ASU website containing the image created and managed by Christensen's lieutenant Noel Gorelick had been originally posted on July 24, 2002, and had subsequently been altered in the early morning hours of July 26, 2002 [Fig. 10-7].

 

As you'll recall from the previous chapter, Laney downloaded the "real" version of the Cydonia daytime IR late in the evening (10:27 p.m.) on the twenty-fifth. In other words, just hours after Keith Laney had downloaded the "real data" from the THEMIS website, Gorelick, Christensen or someone else had changed the contents of the site.


So, all of Christensen's protestations to the contrary, there had been at least one change to the Cydonia infrared image website after Keith Laney had downloaded the "real" data. Within a few months of our obtaining the Wayback Machine data on the Cydonia IR page, the Internet Archive ceased tracking changes to any of the THEMIS ASU image release pages.

 

This can only be done at the request of the website owner, who in this case would have been Noel Gorelick. So it was clear we would not be trapping Christensen or Gorelick in any more lies anytime soon.


It was hard to tell from Christensen's reaction whether he was so nervous because he was afraid he was going to get caught in a lie by us, or whether he was under some pressure from outside forces to keep the story straight even after this encounter. We're still not certain whether Christensen is a friend or an enemy of our independent investigation.

 

On the one hand he has given us the data to prove our thesis beyond any reasonable doubt.

 

On the other hand, he has participated (at least tacitly) in an attempt to discredit our investigation publicly by spreading false information and data to the public. Yet still, he had gone to some lengths to avoid accusing us of faking the "real" IR data.


So in the end, we simply didn't have enough information to reach a conclusion about Christensen the man, but we did have the new five-band color image of the Face, and that would prove to be perhaps the most significant piece of data we have received in the entire history of the investigation.

 


Chapter Ten Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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