Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Face on Mars Farce

Sorry for the delay in this post. I am actually working on another post, which goes more into Richard C. Hoagland's HYPERDIMENSIONAL PHYSICS stuff, but I have gotten a bit bogged down in the minutia of its elements, so I will probably have to break up the subject into a few chunks. I was inspired by Dr. Stuart Robbins to go into my own views on The Face on Mars. Here it goes:

The Cydonia monument complex first came into the sites of indepedent researchers, including Richard C. Hoagland, NOT because of the many suspiciously building-like landforms (try none), but solely due to the so-called "Face on Mars". I considered not discussing The Face on Mars at all, but I realized that I have a few insights, even if I am not an astronomer, like Dr. Phil Plait (his blog) or Dr. Stuart Robbins (his blog and his podcast).

There are a few issues that I want to touch on about The Face: (a) the context of The Face in Cydonia (i.e., what is and isn't in Cydonia), (b) a few claims about The Face and (c) why I don't believe The Face is likely to be a construction.

The Cydonia Complex

As I pointed out in my previous post "Hoagland's Martian Missive", Mr. Richard C. Hoagland's mathematical relationship model of the Cydonia region is unconvincing because its landmarks seem entirely arbitrary and may sometimes be absent. I believe that the simplest explanation for this is that there is no "complex", per se, just a bunch of landforms that have come into existence through natural processes. :S

Photo: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

As one can see from the area surrounding what Hoagland calls the D&M "pyramid", that feature is clearly not outside the norm for natural landforms in that region. This should be perfectly clear from the photo I presented in my previous post (which I re-present above). Just as an aside, does anybody see "Mr. Kitty" mesa? It's just to the right of my compass. See, I can find images that don't exist in the topography, too! :D

There are bound to be the occasional "interesting" geometric relationship between various landforms on a planet. What I would find more interesting and compelling is if there is a clear repeating pattern with regular geometry. What we see in the "Hoagland-Torun" model is a number of haphazard geometric relationships. There are two big problems with this, as far as I can see: (a) you can choose to include or exclude any landform that you want and (b) there are many angular relationships that are allowed. These both greatly increase your odds of hitting "something wonderful", in Hoagland's words. ;)

The Face or The Faces?

As I mentioned in my previous post, the idea of The Face has evolved somewhat over time for Mr. Hoagland. It used to be a human face, pure and simple and eerily reminiscent of the enigmatic face of the Sphinx in Egypt. Here is the famous "catbox" image of The Face. That will come in useful to Mr. Kitty. (Update: Expat points out the image is not the catbox. The joke stands. That's really the only reason I referred to the catbox anyway.) :D

Photo: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems (2001)

The Face has gotten a lot more problematic as an explanation for what the feature in Cydonia is. There is a big issue that The Face is not bilaterally symmetrical, which means that, if you were to construct two photos by mirroring the left and right side of The Face, respectively, the two photos would not look the same, whereas a human face would, more or less. :-)

Photo: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems (2001) [modified by me]

Richard C. Hoagland responded to this problem by moving the goalposts. Instead, he has pointed to artwork on Earth that depicts a "face" that is half man and half animal on the left and right sides an seems to suggest that is what The Face depicts. :0

The Face is NOT a face

I do not buy into the idea that The Face is a face, nor a construction. The Face does not look like a face, despite the early claims that there was an eyeball, a nostril, a tear, pupil, teeth (HT: Dr. Robbins). It escapes me why an advanced alien civilization (that is presumably human or extremely anthropomorphic) would produce a large-scale artwork representing a person (on at least half of The Face) and leave out the eyeball and made a very indistinct representation. One might say that there was considerable erosion, but I doubt it could wipe out all the detail on such a monumental-sized head. The same could go for the other side, whatever creature it represents. ;)

But I also find it difficult to accept that such a construction would be made on a desolate part of Mars without signs of a civilization surrounding it. There is nothing in the landscape surrounding the Face on Cydonia that screams, "I'm a building." The City, as Hoagland calls it, looks like it's a natural rock formation, as does the D&M pyramid. It seems odd to postulate an advanced society, even transient, that would use natural rock not only for monumental constructions, similar to Mt. Rushmore, but also for the housing that would be needed for any labor force that is based in Cydonia. And if you use the "maybe they lived on spacecraft" argument, one would have to wonder why they would go the the trouble of building The Face when Cydonia would have been little more than a temporary encampment.

Mr. Hoagland is fun

Whatever criticisms I may have of Mr. Richard C. Hoagland, he is interesting. I am usually interested in hearing him speak because he has at least a basic understanding of some science. He espouses plenty of strange ideas, himself, but occasionally is the voice of reason, compared with many interesting people who get involved with UFOs, conspiracies, etc. :D

I enjoy Mr. Hoagland's work, even as I find some of his evidence and hypotheses suspect. At the same time, there is a danger when people get taken in by any mistaken ideas. I urge anyone who follows conspiracies or "alternative" science (pseudoscience) to always be on guard and don't take the claims seriously. The chances of outlandish claims to be true are really quite low.


  1. I agree, the 'face on Mars' isn't...But I have to take you to task on the human face being symetrical. That isn't common at all..And we as humans tend to find the more a face IS symetrical, it's more attractive. As an experiment just scan a selection of face on mug shots, cut them in half and flip them to see what I mean.

  2. I am not sure what you mean by this. Generally, human faces and the faces of other creatures tend to be bilaterally symmetrical, more or less.

  3. Julian, both you and I have mis-labeled face imagery. The second image in your post is not the "catbox" image of Mars Global Surveyor, 1998. It's the much better image from later in the same mission.

    My mistake was labeling it as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image from 2007. I'm trotting off to correct that now.

  4. Expat,

    Thanks. I will correct that.

  5. Also, there's no crater on the face. At least nothing >~1 meter (looking at the HiRISE). The "nose" is a positive feature.

  6. Thank you for the useful correction, Stu. I had mistaken part of a shot in GoogleMars for a crater.

  7. I would have to say Richard C. Hoagland is right about the Face on mars and about mirroring it. I discovered something that might interest you that proves Richard C.Hoagland is right. Google search - the face on mars mystery 100% solved - and click the Youtube link. You will change your mind after watching it.

  8. Mr. Shroeder,

    I take your challenge. When I have time, I will look at the video, even though I am pretty sure I won't be converted by the video. I will report back the result.

  9. Mr. Schroeder (sorry for the misspelling earlier),

    I saw your video. After watching it, I feel more confident in the psychological effect known as pareidolia. It reminds me of when I was bored in middle school and would draw on a piece of paper, but I only drew what I thought I already saw in the paper when I looked way too closely at it. I found many faces or portions of them. What your technique does is force bilateral symmetry onto the image so that a face and other features of bilaterally-symmetrical animals are likely to come out when one uses one's imagination. I have not changed my opinion of the Face on Mars.

  10. G’day Mr Janssen, don’t worry about the name but thank you anyways. Also thank you for your comments they are greatly appreciated.

    I myself thought the very same things until I investigated the Face on Mars’s reality, its truth for myself. And that truth I can honestly say is the held opinion by the majority, which is, the Face on Mars image taken and then released in 2001 by N.A.S.A is 100% exactly what it shows it is. Every detail of the cliffs, ridges, peaks, craters, its textures and arrangements of its rocks and soils, that are on the surface of the Face on Mars in the Cydonia area are 100% in the image released in 2001 by N.A.S.A. and is unaltered.

    I believe this must be the foundation of anyone’s investigations into the Face on Mars and the united opinion of anyone truthfully debating it. Would you Mr Janssen be in agreement with this???

    As to your comments, are you saying that you do and can see what I am presenting? As an example the first Picture I presented in the video titled - the Egyptian falcon god Horus and the cat goddess Bastet and a long faced Pharaoh, you do see what I present as Horus or a falcon head or resemblance of them as in the examples I show in the video??? But as to how I achieved these images you, correct me if I’m wrong, believe are produced by forced bilateral symmetry and is the psychological effect of imagined perceptions of patterns or meanings where they do not actually exist??? So more or less I’ve used only my imagination, which is the forming of mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses. But this is not accurate as the Face on Mars and its reality ARE present to the senses.

    You commented in middle school you drew what your imagination thought was in the paper when looking at it way to closely, but in reality nothing was there. This is far from what I have done.
    What I have presented however, the lines I have followed by tracing the cliffs, craters, boulders and ridge edges that are over the entire mound and if you agree with what I believe the foundation of this debate is, those lines are 100% there and are not imagination as the structure and the condition of the Face on Mars surface is in reality there and real. I need not to imagine their existence.

    As to the mirroring process I did to achieve these pictures, the halves un-mirrored are still there and can still be seen clearly on the original picture. The debate is not mirroring but what is produced by reflecting half of the original image in reversal and both halves joined together. What it shows is the actual details on the Face on Mars, but is labelled as pareidolia because one half is mirrored. Everyone forgets the details in reality exist on that one half mirrored.

    What is your proof then that the Face on Mars and the condition of its surface do not exist in reality???

  11. The feature exists, but our perception of it is very much affected by the potential for pareidolia, which is basically the tendency for human beings to recognize visual patterns even in randomness, which is, to some extent what occurs in the natural environment. I want to avoid going too far into a critique of your presentation, as I am not sure that would be of much use or interest to anyone. My position: the Face is not a face, nor is it any other artistic representation.

  12. Hmmmm you only answered one question, but that does not matter. I guess we agree to disagree then.

    For I do firmly believe the Face on Mars was created by design and not randomness. It is four complete pictures cut in half and each of those four halves joined together and this image is carved on a rocky mesa to create what we all know as the Face on Mars. It was created that each side was to be cut in half and mirrored to reveal individual pictures as I show in my video, which no one can deny shows images of earths ancient cultures, such as yourself, but you say they are just pareidolia.

    If I took a black and white photograph of a tree and cut it straight down the centre and threw one half away and took the remaining half and mirror it over and join both halves together, then trace all the outlines and details within it, then apply colour to that traced image, would it be an artistic representation of a symmetrical tree or a pareidolia?

    I understand why you want to avoid going too far into a critique on my presentation, as you would have to show what I have done and to do so would reveal the truth.