The "Face on Mars" is one of the great
modern mysteries about Mars. The "Face" first came to
our attention 22 years ago, and debate about what it is has raged
ever since. Let's hop in the Wayback Machine and return to 1976.
The Viking spacecraft reached Mars in July of 1976.
It had two missions. One was to send a lander down to inspect
the surface of Mars. The other was to orbit the red planet, within
a 1,000 miles of the surface, and take thousands of pictures to
help to determine the best landing site for the Viking 2 spacecraft
due to reach Mars in a few weeks.
On July 26, 1976, during Viking 1's thirty-fifth
orbit of Mars, a set of photographic images arived at the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. One of the photographic
frames, taken in the northern desert Cydonia region, showed a
mile long, 1,500 mesa that looked like a humanoid face.
NASA has attempted to downplay this image from the
start. After showing the JPL press corp a slide of this remarkable
image, Viking project scientist Gerald Soffen attempted to explain
it away by saying that a picture transmitted a few hours later,
of the same region, revealed that the image in the first photo
"...was just a trick, just the way the light fell on it."
SEEING IS/ISN'T BELIEVING:
When it comes to the Face on Mars, people tend to
believe one of two things. That the "Face" is:
A. A striking pattern of light and shadow cast by
hills in the area.
B. A sculpture carved by sentient (intelligent)
According to author Robert C. Kiviat , "NASA's
planetary scientists have maintained over the years that the face
is a natural rock formation produced by wind erosion and that
the particular lighting angle at which it was photographed created
its resemblance to a human face."
A key member in the opposing camp is lead by Richard
Hoagland, a former member of the JPL press corps, and the author
of "The Monuments of Mars." Hoagland has led a long
investigation into the Vking data. He and his team have analyzed
different photographic frames, taken at different angles, weeks
apart. He claims that he and his researchers have considerable
evidence that the "face", as well as some nearby pyramid-shaped
objects and other "artifacts," are the work of sentient
Hoagland first became involved with the Martian face
in 1981. He attended a science conference where Vincent DiPietro
and Gregory Molennar made a presentation. As Hoagland puts it,
"These two computer-imaging experts had obtained data tapes
of the face and had enhanced it. Their photographs showed some
remarkable, stunning detail that was not at all evident on the
Hoagland came to agree with Molennar and DiPietro's
contention that the faceappeared bilaterally symmetrical. According
to Hoagland, he saw that the face "...had features which
were humanoid, and it seemed above chance that it also had the
right proportion." It was at this point that Hoagland began
to consider that the face might have been constructed by intelligent
beings. By 1983, Hoagland came to be convinced of the face's intelligent
origin, leading to his fifteen year quest to "prove"
the face on Mars is proof of intelligent life on Mars, as well
as to try to get NASA to a send a photographic mission to Mars
with the primary purpose to get new, better shots of the Martian
Some people in the science community disagree with
the conclusions of Hoagland and his people. According to Michael
Carr, the head of the original Viking orbiter imaging team, "Not
one person of scientific credibility believes this." As to
the existence of Martian pyramids, in close proximity to the face,
Carr states that he is not aware of a "single Viking image
that has pyramids on it."
While Carr DOES agree that some JPL staff members
DID notice the Cydonia mesa's resemblance to a face when that
photgraphic image was originally received, he claims that it was
published by the lab "only for laughs."
THE TWO FACES OF NASA:
NASA has claimed for years that the "face"
on Mars is not a face and doesn't offer proof of intelligent life
on Mars. Recently however, following new Mars pictures taken of
the Cydonia mesa, NASA claimed that these pictures, which apparently
show no face, are "proof" finally that the Martian face
never existed. If NASA never believed the mesa was a face, why
would they make such a big deal of "proving" the non-existence
of something they never believed in the first place. That's like
a guy buying land that supposedly has no oil beneath it, then
digging a dry hole to "prove" there's no oil. Why bother?
We find it ironic that NASA, who tried really hard
to get the world to believe ancient bacteria on a meteorite came
from Mars (which is looking more unlikely by the minute), would
put so much energy into the notion that intelligent life couldn't/didn't
exist on Mars. We thought NASA's mission was to explore space,
reporting back to U.S. citizens, WHO PAY FOR ALL THIS THROUGH
THEIR TAXES, whatever they find. Wouldn't finding proof of some
ancient, Martian civilization be the greatest NASA accomplishment
since sending men to the moon. You would think so.
Based on the "proof" currently available,
we believe it is difficiult to prove or disprove that the face
on Mars is a genuine alien artifact. Until NASA sends a rover
or manned team to the Cydonia region where the" face"
is, the existence of an alien created face on Mars will remain
We believe the American people are interested enough
in the answer to this cosmic question to pay the bill. If intelligent,
alien life once existed on Mars, the American people, as well
as the world at large, deserves to know.
If NASA is ever to live up to the "Star Trek"
credo, continuing to travel, "...where no man has gone before,"
a manned mission to the Cydonia desert region is a good place
to start. NASA, make it so!