Previous page...


Enduring Oddity in the "City Square"

When new images of the "City" in Cydonia became available in 1998, researchers noted a seeming discrepancy in the area dubbed the "City Square." One of the four mounds comprising the "City Square" seemed to have changed position since it was last photographed in 1976. The GIF animation below shows the "rotated" feature.

Note "rotated" appearance of mound in lower left of top half of image.

Anomalists are left with three distinct options:

1.) The seemingly "rotated" feature is a trick of camera angle and lighting.

2.) The feature was indeed physically moved on the Martian surface by unknown means between 1976 and 1998.

3.) One of the images of the City Square has been digitally manipulated to give the impression of a "rotated" surface feature.

The "City Square," four mounds located in the lateral center of the "City" complex. The pill-shaped mound under discussion is visible on the lower left.

Chris Joseph, whose photoclinometric images of the curious Martian "tubes" appear in earlier installments, writes the following regarding his attempt to reconcile the 1976 and 1998 images:

"One is a comparison between the viking image, showing the points of reference on the grid, the other is the resized and rotated MGS [see image above]. You'll notice that as close as I get the reference points to each other, the pyramid, the crater above it (top right) and the large mound (bottom right) are way out of place. The image was proportionally resized for a best fit, and then the height and width were tweaked into place seperately. The animated gif (for some reason, Flash dithers the images) is a cutout of the city square overlay.

"I would think that if the images were taken at different angles/aspect ratios, the tweaking should have lined everything up. Maybe I'm wrong."

SPSR's Lan Fleming notes that the "rotated" mound appears to be elevated in the Viking image, in which case its seeming dislocation may be due to the different lighting conditions present when the Mars Global Surveyor took its picture in 1998.


Martian "Tubes"--On Earth!

Reader David Robinson has kindly supplied the following image taken from the 1980 book "Flights of Discovery." The photo caption from "Flights of Discovery" appears beneath the image below.

"The Klondike [sic] near Dawson City in the Canadian Yukon. The discovery of alluvial gold in the Klondike [sic] sparked off the gold rush of 1896. Whatever escaped the gold washers and nugget hunters of the old days is now extracted from the diminishing gold deposits by mining companies using huge floating dredges. The systematically churned waste shows where the dredges have passed."

The most famous of the alleged Martian "tubes." Other, similar features can be seen intersecting and nestled near each other much like in the Klondyke image above.

Rather than an ancient transportation system, could the Martian "tubes" be the remains of a vast mining operation, as suggested by the Klondyke photo?


Did Ancient "Martians" Dredge for Gold?

G.T. McCoy, posting on UFO UpDates, relates the following concerning the possibility that the infamous Martian "tubes" might be debris from an ancient mining operation:

"Want to see what made those tailings? Look at this example of a gold dredge still in existence at Sumpter, Oregon:

"It might be worthwhile for someone to look for the remains of large, derelict equipment, possibly under the sand at the head of these anomalies."

The fact that the dredging machines described by McCoy were capable of operating in shallow conditions correlates with conditions in Mars' remote subaquatic past. Could a Martian civilization have used similar machines to scour the landscape for gold or some other precious substance?

Readers of Zechariah Sitchin will probably be the first to recognize the emphasis on gold related in the last two installments. According to Sitchin's theories (described in "The 12th Planet" and "Genesis Revisited," among others), an extraterrestrial species colonized Mars (and Earth) driven by a dire need for gold. Perhaps the notion is testable.

On a purely humorous note: Delete the "P" and the "T" from "Sumpter" and you get "Sumer." Richard Hoagland, eat your heart out!


An Octagon in Cydonia

Another unusually symmetrical and geometric feature has been located in the Cydonia region, site of the Face, Cliff, Tholus, and D&M Pyramid.

Interesting Cydonia feature discovered by Trish Anderson.

Much like the hexagonal feature adjacent to Mound P, the "Octagon" appears highly eroded but distinctively "out of place." Its internal structure appears un-craterlike.

Stereoscopic close-up of the Octagon by Chris Joseph. Note overall "faceted" look to surrounding features and small, triangular depression to upper-left.

Stereoscopic perspective view of Octagon and associated features.

Dome-like Feature Next to Eras Mounds

Chris Joseph has detected a dome-like anomaly next to the Eras Mounds identified by Paul Anderson. At first take, the Dome appears crater-like, but less so when seen in stereo.

The strange dome-like feature adjacent to the Eras Mounds presented in stereo format. Note "groove": a ramp of some kind?

Like many fine-scale enigmas found in the Cydonia region, the "dome" exhibits angles and inconsistencies with the surrounding terrain that suggest possible architectural origin.

The equally spaced, linear (terraced?) mounds discovered by Paul Anderson.

Detail along what can be seen of the Dome's shadowy perimeter indicates a deep foundation. Any number of reasons can be imagined why a Martian civilization would build partially buried structures, from the desire to maximize insulation from cosmic rays to the need for subsurface water ice. Aesthetic implications are much more difficult to postulate given the available data. The Eras Mounds certainly suggest a certain mathematical redundancy, but is this their raison d'etre or a by-product of their function?

The Eras Mounds, Dome and nearby "tube" seen in context. "Widescreen" stereo presentation courtesy of Chris Joseph.

The anomalies found in Cydonia warrant close-up, preferably manned, surface exploration. We seem to be looking back in time at artificial structures so old they have begun to regress into the landscape. Many ancient formations on Earth, long considered to be "natural," have proven to be artificial upon high-tech inspection. The anomalies in Cydonia deserve the same cautious approach.


A Pyramid on Phobos?

The "monolith" discovered on Mars' moonlet Phobos appears pyramid-like in this preliminary shape-from-shading rendering by Chris Joseph.

As explored in earlier installments, Mars' moon Phobos features several unexplained outcroppings, shown below.

Perhaps the most interesting of these is the tall feature dubbed the "monolith" by its discoverer, Efrain Palermo. Preliminary photoclinometric analysis by Chris Joseph shows that the "monolith" may be pyramidal. Since Phobos is a small, rounded body with no water or atmosphere to erode features into interesting shapes, the presence of the pyramidal "monolith" on Phobos is made doubly hard to explain.

Analysis of "monolith" by Efrain Palermo.

One prosaic option is that the pyramidal outropping is a chunk of debris that was blasted from Phobos by a meteor strike. But Phobos' gravity is scant, and it's difficult to accept that a shard of debris would fail to achieve escape velocity. We're left with the intriguing option that the monolith is an artifact of unknown function.

Was Phobos once colonized by a technological civilization? A body of evidence suggests this possibility. Before photos of the enigmatic moonlet were relayed to Earth by the Mariner mission, Carl Sagan had written about the implications of Phobos' anomalous orbital characteristics. Mainstream astronomers were forced to confront the possibility that Phobos was a hollow artificial satellite.

In the 1970s, physicist Gerard K. O'Neill published "The High Frontier," a blueprint for designing habitats in space. He described in detail how hollowing out a captured asteroid to make room for a human population would provide abundant raw material for self-sustaining microgravity industry.

Richard Hoagland, writing in "The Monuments of Mars," notes that the Martian moonlets seem "fortuitously placed," emphasizing possible artificial origin. Of the two moons, Phobos is the strangest, boasting an enormous crater that may be an opening into an unseen interior. Numerous straight furrows, or grooves, radiate from the crater. While some scientists have ventured that they are cracks caused by tidal stress, their origin is unknown and subject to debate.

But there is an exciting artificial explanation. O'Neill's proposed spacefaring worldlets propel themselves by means of mass-launchers. By flinging "buckets" of indigenous matter at a constant speed, an asteroid outfitted with strategically placed mass-launchers can be steered through space almost indefinitely. Intriguingly, mass-launchers take the form of large electromagnetic "tracks," which accelerate their payloads to escape velocity. Perhaps the enigmatic grooves on Phobos are derelict mass-launchers once used to receive and ship materials from elsewhere in the Solar System -- or even propel the moonlet through space.

Isaac Asimov championed the idea of "generation arks," enclosed artificial worlds like O'Neill's, designed for long interstellar journeys. Equipped with homeostatic ecologies, Asimov's arks could carry passengers from star to star over durations of hundreds if not thousands of years; the original colonists who set off on journeys aboard the arks would likely not see the voyage through to the end. But future generations, born within the arks' delicate enclosed biospheres, could ultimately finish the journey initiated by their ancestors.

Phobos might literally be an enormous spacecraft confined to Martian orbit. If the anomalies in Cydonia and elsewhere on Mars are in fact artificial, then perhaps the civilization that built them came from elsewhere, leaving its "ark" to bear mute witness. If so, future exploration of Phobos may ultimately prove as revealing as a manned mission to Cydonia.


Elliptical Formation Near Eras Mounds and "Dome" in Cydonia

Curious ring composed of small isolated mounds. The placement of the mounds appears nonrandom.

The area in Cydonia featuring the unique Eras Mounds and apparent dome is also home to a curious elliptical formation composed of evenly spaced small mounds. The most resonable skeptical argument against nonrandom placement is that "Cydoniahenge" (as I dub this formation) is the remains of a badly eroded crater. However, telltale signs of meteor damage such as caldera and ejecta are tantalizingly absent.

"Cydoniahenge" enlarged and contrasted.

Could the complex around the Eras Mounds constitute some sort of "earthworks" or cultural center? Or are we seeing even more bizarre rocks behaving in decidedly ungeological ways?

Back to MTVI