April  2000
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From: Lan Fleming
 New Cydonia Mound Imaged by MGS

Mound E, one of the landforms that figured prominently in Dr.
Horace Crater's study of "mounds" in the Cydonia region of Mars,
was captured in the batch of MGS Cydonia images released by
Malin Space Science Systems earlier this month. Dr. Mark
Carlotto has a good rotational animation of it at:


Mac Tonnies has also posted a full-resolution section I took
from the MGS image at:


with some discussion of some other interesting objects imaged by
MGS, including another one of the mounds.

Mound E has a bright triangular facet facing the sun, with a
straight trench or groove running along its base. Most of the
mounds that have been imaged to date by MGS appear to be unusual
objects. Although none have sufficient symmetry to conclude they
are artificial, the general shapes of 4 out of the 6 imaged by
MGS clearly set them apart as a class from ordinary hills. Only
two of the 6 lacked any indication of symmetry.

Crater selected the landforms he called "mounds" not because
there was anything anomalous in their appearance in the Viking
images, but because they were generally higher albedo and had
better defined perimeters than other landforms near the larger
"City" landforms. His results indicated that the ordering of the
spatial arrangement of the mounds was well above chance. There
was very little in the low-resolution Viking images to suggest
such small objects would appear unusual at the higher resolution
of the MGS camera. The implication of Crater's study was really
the only thing that supported such a possibility. (If objects
really show a nonrandom spatial distribution, then it would be
expected that they would not be ordinary hills.) I think the MGS
images have validated Dr. Crater's work to a significant extent.
(Crater is a profesor of physics at the University of Tennesee
Space Instute, and co-authored a paper on the mound geometry
with Professor Stan McDaniel of Sonoma State University, CA,
that appeared in the Summer, '99 issue of the Journal of
Scientific Exploration in the summer '99 issue.)

I've seen quite a few MGS images in the past two years, and
nothing I've seen yet compares with the variety of unusual
landforms in Cydonia. I'm not at all certain that we are looking
at artificial structures in Cydonia. But I am now convinced that
what has already been found by MGS is enough to ensure that as
soon as humans establish a permanent presence on Mars and the
ability to travel where they wish on its surface, Cydonia will
be one of the first places they visit.


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