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1-10-02

June, 2001 Face Prediction Verified

In June, I wrote the following concerning the symmetry of the Face on Mars:

"I suspect that the harelip was intended to mark the Face's centerline as well as contribute to the eastern half's feline anatomical impression. But in the new image, the "harelip" appears too far west when compared to Mark Carlotto's digital analysis of the 1998 image. Based on this apparent discrepancy, I predict that when and if NASA deigns fit for the tax-paying public to examine the "missing" ancillary data, we will find that Carlotto was right all along."

The "harelip" feature is bisected by the Face's centerline. Image courtesy New Frontiers in Science.

The "harelip" is the triangular feature in the center of the Face's "mouth." Sure enough, Carlotto's new orthorectified vesion of the Face shows that the geometric "harelip" lies at the exact center of the Face formation and not closer to the western side, as it appears in the previously available nonorthorectified image.

The "nostril" and "harelip" features appear precisely on the Face's vertical centerline.

I find interesting that my prediction wasn't based on technical expertise or image interpretation, but on the aesthetic significance posed by the harelip feature. The "harelip," now seen in its proper position, fulfills an a priori prediction and lends still further support to the hypothesis that the Face is artificial in origin.

The simian-looking west half of the Face gazes up from the Cydonia desert.

Even stranger, the new orthorectified image moves the "nostril" feature into the exact center of the Face, where it appears to align with similar circular features along the Face's vertical axis. While this evidence of further bisymmetry is interesting, it also tends to detract from the interpretation that the depression in question was built to resemble a literal humanoid nostril. If not part of a "nose," could the "nostril" represent ornamentation, meteor impact, or unknown structural function? I suppose one could argue that the being depicted by the Martian Face had only one nostril in the center of its face, but this scenario is post facto and exceptionally porous.


1-15-01

"Debunker" Takes Aim at Cydonian Imperative

A site dealing with controversial evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence is bound to get feedback. Most of the email I receive is cautiously skeptical or helpful in tracking down additional unusual Martian surface features. However, this latest offering from an anonymous reader accurately sums up the attitude reflected by NASA and most "mainstream" scientists who remain self-appointed "gatekeepers," effectively censoring open dialogue among reseachers. The following is my reply, with the sender's commentary in quotes.

While posting anonymous "flames" on the Cydonian Imperative is possibly an exercise in self-indulgence, I contend that flippant, ignorant dismissal of possible artificiality on Mars deserves to be openly addressed. Recently, Space.com's message forum has been a battleground of pseudoskeptical diatribes condemning the Face, with researcher David Jinks' and SPSR member Lan Fleming's informed commentary serving as a candle in the dark.

#

Dear anonymous would-be debunker,

Thanks for looking at my site. For the life of me, I don't know what on Earth (or Mars) you're talking about. I'll attempt to highlight the portions I found especially confusing below.

You wrote:

"I do wish that you were formally educated in Science and knew what you were talking about."

Lofty, yet vague. Keep it up! With a little more practice, you'll be debunking with the big-timers.

"I know that the fraudulent claims that you and other 'Hoaglandites,' as I like to call you..."

OK, wait up. This is too much too fast. What "fraudulent claims"? And how did Richard Hoagland enter into this? Not that it particularly matters, but several pages of my site are devoted to arguing against some of Hoagland's pet theories. But something tells me you're not terribly interested in facts anyway, so let's continue...

"...are making are due to the fact that MGS has proven beyond any doubt that the 'Face' is a completely natural formation. There is nothing artificial and nothing anomalous about it any more."

I've been following this controversy closely for a number of years, but I must have missed the scientific datum to which you refer. I take it you are referring to something. (I suppose you could just be taking someone else's word as gospel, but that would make you pretty stupid.)

"Yet, you continue to present information from NASA/JPL and MSSS and continue to insist that there is a gov't. ordered conspiracy to defraud the public about extraterrestrial life on Mars and elsewhere. You provide no proof about what you say."

Wait a second! I think I'm on to you. This is an auto-response, right? You have a program that sniffs out Face on Mars sites and then automatically sends them this message. Only that could account for your message's singular irrelevance.

"I read your article and looked at what you said was in the MGS images. I see NO ARTIFICIALITY."

Capital letters; I can see this is as important to you as it is to me.

"I see a completely naturally formed mesa that you wish to use the power of suggestion..."

Actually, I'm a terrible stage magician. All my site does is put the photos in context so readers can come to their own thoughts.

"...and some photo forgery, to convince others who are not trained in Science (and don't want to be) that what is there is a badly weathered artificial construct that was created by extraterrestrials from somewhere else."

There are no "forged photos" on my site. If you could kindly refer me to the offensive image in question, I shall promptly remove it. (And why do you keep capitalizing "science"? The editor in me cringes each time it sees a nonspecific discipline "deified" in this way.)

"When will you and the others grow up and cease this senseless (but economically prudent) attack on Science?"

Here we go again with more unnecessary capitalizing, so I suppose you fancy what you're saying is important. "Economically prudent"? I generally don't get into financial details (as they're boring and have little or nothing to do with Mars exploration), but here is how much money I've made to date from hawking free images of the Face on Mars on the Internet: $0.00. You want to know who the real shyster was? That Carl Sagan fellow! He published tons of books and made a nice chunk of money.

"There is no evidence to support the idea that there are extraterrestrials. It requires years of research to fully understand the subject in order to arrive at a theory that can be tested and verified. You are not doing that."

And I certainly never claimed I had. Firstly, the Face has been the subject of scientific scrutiny for 20 years. Is that long enough? Or is there some arbitrary dateline set up to appease anonymous would-be debunkers? Secondly, "proving" artificiality is something I obviously cannot do. My access to Mars-bound spacecraft is severely limited, I'm afraid. So in the meantime I address the evidence we do have.

"You are using pseudoscience, fraud and science fiction in order to win as many people as you can to our argument; an argument whose only purpose is not to explore space or stimulate debate or thought on the matter, but to fully your personal financial goals."

By clinging to threadbare elitist pseudo-skepticism (and employing a healthy dose of tactical character assassination), you only make yourself out to be the boorish drone you most assuredly are. I'm flattered that you took the time to call me names and question my motivations. Chalk one up for "Science"!


If At First You Don't Succeed...

These would-be debunkers are a tenacious lot! The following exchange between me and the "debunker" introduced above represents textbook anti-Cydonia-ism: basic ignorance of scientific and historical fact compounded with the conviction that anyone citing evidence of ETI is necessarily credulous, profit-seeking and less-than-honest. For a trenchant look at the thought processes (or lack thereof) that motivate mainstream "skeptics" like the one quoted here, readers are encouraged to check out Dan Drasin's "Zen and the Art of Debunkery," available via the Cydonia Links page.

#

Dear reader,

I capitalize Science because I respect it and am formally trained in Science and Engineering. I do not subscribe to pseudoscience, superstition or the conspiracy theory non sense that you do.

Superstition? Conspiracy theory? I think you've been looking at the wrong site. I recommend taking a brief look at my FAQ, located at: http://mactonnies.com/faq.html.

"Cydonian Imperative" is typical of the pseudoscientific frauds like Mark Carlotto

Calling Carlotto a "pseudoscientist" shows just how uninhibitedly ignorant you are.

This has been leveled at the Public since 1977 when Dr. Carl Sagan discovered it and remarked that it looked like a face.

You don't even have your basic chronology right. It was Tobias Owen who discovered the Face and the late Gerry Soffen who showed it at a press conference. Carl Sagan didn't enter the picture until he wrote a justly maligned editorial for "Parade" magazine (hardly a scientific venue). In "The Demon-Haunted World," Sagan actually came to the defense of Cydonia research.

Dr. Gerry Soffen was correct when he dismissed it as a trick of light and shadow at a later news conference

Soffen assumed the Face was a "trick of light" based on a disconfirming photo that not only didn't exist, but couldn't possibly have been acquired at the time he said it was. This sort of "science by proclamation" has been a hallmark of NASA's dealings with Cydonia ever since.

but Richard Hoagland (NASA photo interpreter at the time)

At no time was Hoagland ever an "photo interpreter" for NASA. If you're going to play "debunker," at least get a few basic facts straight.

Richard Hoagland started this ridiculous matter of the "Face in Cydonia" and it has spawned numerous websites (like yours) and made millions of people around the world believe that what he says is the truth.

You obviously have a real problem with Richard Hoagland, which is fine; I don't accept all of his notions and theories either. No one is asking you to. What people choose to "believe" is their own business, and misconceptions about the scientific search for artificial features on Mars stand independent of any one person's claims.

Hoagland has NEVER come up with ANY Scientific theories.

Although Hoagland is controversial, he has indeed come up with testable theories--many of them quite cogent and fascinating. Not all of them have to do with the Face on Mars, either. His paper on Martian tidal dynamics may interest you; then again, I know it won't.

After much more illucid (but entertaining) nonsense, you write:

To maintain their position they have made all kinds of claims about NASA/JPL and MSSS (Malin Space Science Systems) doctoring images sent back by the MGS in order to hide the truth from the world. However, since the first MGS image of the "Face" in April, 1998, the conspiracists have failed to provide a detailed technical explanation of how NASA/JPL and MSSS have doctored the images.

More nonsense. Lan Fleming, who works for Johnson Space Center, has shown precisely how the '98 "high-pass filter" image was produced. Of JPL's own admission, high-pass filtering is used to suppress detail. Not that you're interested in verifiable truth, but his website is: http://www.vgl.org.

The pictures of the "Face" that you have posted at your website DO NOT show anything artificial. The symmetry that Carlotto claims is there, is not due to artificial construction but due to weathering and geological processes that formed the structure at least 50,000 or more years ago.

I gotta know: where are you pulling this figures from? For someone who claims to be a staunch defender of "Science" with a capitalized "S," "50,000" appears somehow arbitrary to me. You've got the makings of a debunker in you, but you're rather unpolished around the edges. You need to work on your presentation.

The very dark image that you have posted and labeled, "The simian looking half of the Face gazes up from the Cydonian desert," is an indirect attempt by you to claim that there IS artificiality in the structure [See "June, 2001 Face Prediction Verified," above. --M.T.]

Please note the words "simian-looking." I never said the Face was artificial; I merely said it looked simian, which I think it does. Whether this "simian" aspect has anything to do with the Face's possible artificiality is an open question.

even though neither you, nor Carlotto can provide an explanation of evidence to support this claim.

Carlotto's peer-reviewed papers on the Face have appeared in a variety of credible publications. While he doesn't claim to know that the Face is artificial, he is able to empirically show that the Face is relatively nonfractal when viewed in geological context. This implies a non-natural origin.

Hoagland and others have used that silly "simian" and "feline" tactic for years to claim artificiality and, in at least one case, the idea that the Ancient Egyptians were actually beings from the stars and had placed the "Face" on Mars in order to signal Earthlings.

Here you bring nameless "others" into the picture. These "others"--and there are a lot of them--can claim whatever they want, and have. Legitimate scientific research is not predicated on the theories and impressions of these "others" to which you refer.

The "simian" and "feline" images are the examples of photo forgeries that I spoke of.

This introduces a particularly ironic problem. The photos you mention aren't forgeries. You can see them for yourself on Malin Space Science Systems' website. So if they're forgeries, that would make MSSS partipants in this vague worldwide "conspiracy" you keep accusing me of endorsing.

You're not the first to call me a boorish drone and you won't be the last.

You're also a porous, shallow pseudointellectual. Has anyone called you that before?

I don't jump onto the sci fi bandwagon and make exaggerations and imaginary claims that can not be substantiated. I do the research and I listen to the Professional Scientists who spend years to study and find out what there is to find out.

Huh? You told me earlier you weren't a scientist; now you're telling me you "do the research." What gives? And just how, pray tell, does one become a "Professional Scientist"? Mark Carlotto has a Ph.D., yet you dismiss his evidence because you don't care for the implications. You're a walking advertisement for cognitive dissonance, dude.

Later, you write:

Carl Sagan was no shyster! He was a consummate Professional Scientist whose wealth did not bother me because he did his homework and was concerned pseudoscience (like yours) was out of control. He was wealthy, but he was Scientific and presented Science in a way that could be understood by anyone.

Oy! Sarcasm and irony are obviously lost on you.

I read several of his books and they helped me through high school and college. Read his books sometime. You'll be surprised.

I have a frigging web page devoted to Sagan's books. Another fact you must have conveniently "missed" as you perused The Cydonian Imperative.

Finally, I am more in the know about what is in Space than you are or could hope to be because of a unique adventure that I was able to embark on for four years. I was employed at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA from March, 1989 to October, 1993. I was an Aeronautical Engineer assigned to research aerodynamics at Wind Tunnel No. 4. My career came to a close due to the apathetic and stupid American People electing a criminal to the Presidency in November, 1992.

You poor man. I begin to understand this vendetta of yours a bit more clearly.

Best wishes on finding a new job,

Mac

#

In , I note that radio SETI (widely endorsed by the mainstream media) is considered "safe," while searching for evidence of ETI in our own solar system evokes a sort of territorial fear. Radio SETI proponents want to "contact" aliens, but only on their self-defined extrasolar terms. I suspect that the presence of artifacts on Mars -- and the possibility of an esoteric link with Earth -- is perceived as threatening on some unspoken level. Thus, the many self-appointed "voices of reasons" among the space science community feel the implacable need to demolish efforts to investigate Cydonia. Annoying facts are shouldered aside in the frantic search to be "right." This anthropocentric elitism must be dispensed with regardless of the existence of artifacts on Mars.


1-20-02

Lan Fleming Indentifies MOLA "Mishap" (Guest commentary)

[The following is posted with permission of Lan Fleming of SPSR. --M.T.]

http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/MOLA/regions/05_35/

I've attached a jpeg showing the position of the Face, the D&M, and a large crater crossed by one of the tracks on this web page. On the right, the multicolored profile is displayed on the web page for the selected track. The white inset with the red profile is the one I generated independently using numerical data from the online MOLA database of coordinates and elevations. You can see that the two profiles are the same because the heights and spacing of all the peaks match exactly on both the NASA profile and the one I made. (The elevation scale is greatly exaggerated relative to the distance scale in both). Even the little squiggles match exactly.

Screen-capture showing Fleming's reproduction of MOLA results.

Notice that the Face is actually to the left of the track and that the corresponding peak on the profile is displaced a few pixels above the Face. This is also true for the D&M and for the crater rim indicated. This is important in understanding what the mistake was that Garvin may have made.

If you go to this web page and click on the "Show all tracks" button, it appears that there are actually two tracks that cross the Face, but this isn't so. The coordinates of the peaks on the two profiles that appear to cross over the Face are about 0.2 degrees apart in latitude, or about 10 kilometers. (There is a coordinate display at the bottom of the web page when the mouse pointer is dragged over a point on the displayed profile). The Face is only 2.5 kilometers long, so one or the other profile doesn't cross the Face. The one I chose is track #10061 (in the MOLA database, it was labeled #10062). I know I chose the correct one because the elevation map I constructed had a much higher resolution than the NASA web page image of the area, and I could see that there was no alternative that matched the position of the Face in the wide-angle optical image. Taking into account the displacements of the traks on the NASA web page, it confirms that I chose the right profile.

I now think Garvin (or somebody) chose the profile that crosses the mesa ten kilometers almost directly to the south of the Face and mistook it for the Face. [emphasis added] This is track #10929 on the NASA web page. This mesa is roughly 250 meters high relative to the surrounding planes -- close to the 800-foot height cited in the NASA article. From the shadows in the Viking images, you can clearly see that this mesa is not nearly as high as the Face. I think Garvin may have looked at the NASA web page and mistakenly assumed that the profiles were displaced downward on the page rather than upward. [emphasis added]

So basically, this looks like it might have been a dumb mistake of the type we all make, especially when dealing with the sort of trivial nuisance that I'm sure Garvin views the Face to be. But if NASA lets this error stand without the correction afforded the amount of media publicity that was given to the original erroneous NASA article in May, I would consider it anything but trivial. The MOLA data was the basis for the entire JPL debunking campaign, and they simply got it wrong. [emphasis added]

[Mike Bara of The Enterprise Mission and Lunar Anomalies has this to add to the MOLA bungle: "It was not an 'honest mistake.' And Garvin did not produce the 'MOLA Image,' he simply commissioned it. The image was created by Jim Frawley, and he is the one who used the MOLA data to create the phony image." Editorial comment: Regardless of the possible existence of a "coverup" on behalf of NASA/JPL, the space agency's repeated "blunders" contribute to the same atmosphere of dishonesty and short-sightedness one might expect from a coordinated effort. In a sense, it doesn't matter if NASA's demonstrated "incompetence" when dealing with Cydonia is deliberate or accidental: the effects on public perception are the same.]

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