October 1999
Return to UFO Folklore !
From: Steven J. Dunn
 

Subject: Processed MGS Data - Maybe The 'Face' _Is_


  In April 1998, NASA released imaged of the Cydonia region and
  the "face on Mars" that looked to most, including this humble
  correspondent, to be a very natural formation.  The "face" was
  dead.

  However, a search of the NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)
  Astronomy Abstract Service has found an article/presentation,
  dated December 1998, that is in variance with the above
  conclusion.

  "The 'Face on Mars' at Cydonia: Natural or Artificial" by T.
  Van Flandern of Meta Research, given in American Astronomical
  Society, DPS meeting #30, #55.P31.

  One will note that the AAS is definitely not an organization
  with UFO or "new age" affiliations.

  The abstract says, in part:

  "New, high-resolution images taken by the Mars Global Surveyor
  (MGS) spacecraft have now been processed.  Using height
  information from Viking imagery, MGS photos can be
  ortho-rectified to show the view as it would have appeared from
  overhead - quite different from the view actually seen by the
  spacecraft as it passed far to the west, especially in raw,
  unprocessed imagery.

  "In the properly processed, reconstructed view, we can again
  locate the features that appeared to portray eyes, nose, mouth,
  and enclosure in the Viking imagery.  Remarkably, secondary
  facial characteristics not previously seen (eyebrow, pupil,
  nostrils, lips) now also appear, each with correct relative
  size, shape, location, and orientation.

  "Moreover, no background of similar features exists that would
  allow us to choose just those that fit the impression of a
  face."

  Now, your reporter has been accused of going through life
  half-asleep, but I do not recall this information being given
  the kind of play in the media that the April release did.
  However, not being a devotee of Mr.  Bell (some of us do need to
  sleep-day jobs, you know), and since Hoagland, et al., seemed to
  be proven wrong, I have not been paying much attention to this
  (I found this article while searching for something else), so if
  this is old news to any readers, I apologize in advance.

  Nevertheless, MSG data seems to vindicate Hoagland, rather than
  the reverse.
 

Steven, and list:

More on Van Flandern's position in this matter can be found at:

http://www2.eridu.co.uk/eridu/minisites/mars.html

He hardly seems like an impartial investigator, but I may be
reading more into it than I should.  It certainly should be
investigated further to put this matter to rest, one way or the
other.
 

 Reader comments

Here is part of the abstract, the link to the rest is at the bottom


Title:
 The ``Face on Mars" at Cydonia: Natural or Artificial?
Authors:  VAN FLANDERN, T.
Affiliation:  AA(Meta Research)
Journal:  American Astronomical Society, DPS meeting #30, #55.P31
Publication Date:  12/1998
Origin: AAS
Abstract Copyright:  (c) 1998: American Astronomical Society
Bibliographic Code:  1998DPS....30.5531V
Abstract

3-D contours, bilateral symmetry and location on the former Martian equator led to suspicions that the so-called ``Face" in the Cydonia region of Mars might be an artifact. New high-resolution images taken by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft have now been processed. Using height information from Viking imagery, MGS photos can be ortho-rectified to show the view as it would have appeared from overhead -- quite different from the view actually seen as the spacecraft passed far to the west, especially in raw, unprocessed imagery. In the properly processed, reconstructed view, we can again locate the features that appeared to portray eyes, nose, mouth, and enclosure in the Viking imagery. Remarkably, secondary facial characteristics not previously seen (eyebrow, pupil, nostrils, lips) now also appear, each with the correct relative size, shape, location, and orientation. Moreover, no background of similar features exists that would allow us to choose just those that fit the impression of a face. Although the original finding of a face-like mesa is a posteriori and therefore lacking in statistical significance, these new features fulfill a priori predictions of the artifact hypothesis, and are therefore not so easily dismissed. Other anomalous objects and surface markings in the vicinity reinforce this conclusion. These circumstances are so unlikely to arise by chance that the highest priority should be attached to obtaining additional images of the entire Cydonia region.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/install/abstract_service.html
 

More Reader Comments


 >In April 1998, NASA released imaged of the Cydonia region and
 >the "face on Mars" that looked to most, including this humble
 >correspondent, to be a very natural formation.  The "face" was
 >dead.

The MGS shot of the "Face" on Mars was handled horribly from the
beginning--by the news media, predictably, but also by NASA, who
released an unprocessed version of the Face to the media in an
arguable attempt to kill the issue before any intelligent
discourse could materialize.

In a way, NASA was being honest: it released the first halfway
intelligible image it had right away, killing the otherwise
inevitable attempts to shout "cover-up"!  But for an agency who
publicly claimed a "neutral stand," the horrid April image was
used as a "straw man" by the very geologists who insisted it was
a non-issue and not worthy of discussion.

Weirdly, later the same day, a new "orthorectified" NASA version
of the Face was released, which is decidedly Picasso-esque.
NASA now uses this in its published articles on the Face, more
or less as laugh-fodder.  The problem with this unbecoming
attitude is that the April image was taken at a near-45 degree
angle, making "ortho- rectification" very dubious.  The right
side of the face in the allegedly "improved" image is
essentially a computer artifact based on interpolating data from
completely bogus elevation models-- which we have in the form of
two frames from the Viking mission.  NASA ignored these under
the presupposition that the Face was undeserving of study.

It wasn't until Mark Carlotto
(www.psrw.com/~markc/marshome.html) enhanced the _existing_
April image that the facial resemblance became more apparent.
But by then, of course, NASA had succeeded in making Cydonia out
to be a bunch of nonsense, which, in retrospect was obviously
their plan in the first place--if this wasn't the case, they
never would have passed off the initial unprocessed image as
anything more than the mess of pixels it was.  (That it looked
like absolutely nothing in particular is illustrated in comments
by NASA and JPL staffers the day it arrived, comparing it to
such utterly disparate things as a "footprint," "a hill," etc.)

Conclusion:  The "Face" on Mars indeed looks like a Face.
Moreover, the Cydonia region is littered with some very
compelling anomalies that may or may not have anything to do
with intelligent manufacture. This is evidenced by NASA's own
unannounced rephotography of the star-shaped "City Pyramid,"
ostensibly to take a better look at apparent water ice in a
neighboring crater.

Sadly, NASA has also informally retracted its earlier promise to
rephotograph the site "until everyone is satisfied."  It wasted
a perfect opportunity to do just this on Aug. 26--a chance to
get a clean overhead shot of the Face under good light and
weather conditions (even NASA grudgingly conceded that the April
'98 image was taken through a layer of atmospheric haze).

Our next chance is in November.

The Face and its associated landforms represent a legitimate
scientific anomaly, and one that can be falsified--but only with
good data!  A failure to pursue this mystery, whether out of
cowardice or bureaucratic apathy, may well turn out to be the
defining intellectual catastrophe of our era.

--Mac