Face on Mars

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Three views of the Face on Mars that many believe to be evidence that there was once a civilization on the Red Planet.

Face on Mars

The government is covering up proof of an ancient civilization that once thrived on the planet Mars, for fear that the shock of such a discovery would destroy Earth’s own civilization.

Brian O’Leary, author of Mars 1999 and Exploring Inner and Outer Space, worked with Carl Sagan at Cornell University and was an Apollo astronaut. O’Leary is supportive of the Mars Pathfinder probes but disappointed by what he regards as NASA’s lack of vision—especially the agency’s failure to investigate adequately the Cydonia region and its mile-wide structure that very much resembles a human or humanoid face.

Richard Hoagland, author of The Monuments of Mars, has studied and gathered scientific data on several provocative photos of the surface of Mars taken by NASA’s Viking probe in 1976. These photos show certain formations that appear unusual compared with the rest of the geologic features on the Martian surface, and he contends that these formations are artificial, not unlike the Egyptian pyramids or Sphinx. He goes so far as to say that these features may have been constructed by some alien race thousands or even millions of years ago. He also claims that the same possibility exists for Europa, a moon of Jupiter, as seen in Voyager mission photos.

Hoagland was a consultant to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center from 1975 to 1980. During the historic Apollo missions to the moon, he served as science adviser to CBS news. The first time that Hoagland saw the mysterious Sphinx-like face in the Martian landscape known as Cydonia (not to be confused with Sedona, the New Age mecca in Arizona) was the summer of 1976, when NASA’s Viking had taken 100,000 pictures of Mars.

When a group of reporters and scientists were shown the initial image of the “face,” they were told that the spacecraft had taken another frame a few hours later in which the whole image did not appear. It was all a trick of the light. When the project scientist at NASA made a joke of the preposterous thought that it could really be an artificial structure, everyone laughed with him, Hoagland says, because, after all, everyone knew that NASA’s highest objective was to find evidence that we are not alone in the universe.

Hoagland’s subsequent investigations have yielded what he believes to be evidence not only of the mysterious face, but of several five-sided and four-sided pyramids. In his firm and educated opinion, no natural force could have fashioned such regularly repeated geometric structures. It is as if an unknown ancient alien culture had left a message for those who would discover the objects in an undetermined future. Perhaps the message of Cydonia is that a code has been laid out for those intelligent enough to figure it out, astute enough to determine the mathematics and the geometry that can open new gateways to the universe.

Hoagland was undaunted on April 7, 1998, when NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor sent back photographs of the Face on Mars that were clearly expected to debunk any theories that an ancient Martian or other extraterrestrial civilization had carved the mysterious feature. After twenty-two years of waiting for clearer photographs that would confirm the handiwork of intelligent life on Mars, the new pictures showed only eroded landscape and a pile of rocks.

While other researchers fulminated about NASA’s having “erased” the face, Hoagland stated that he was really far more interested in the ruins of what has been called the City of Cydonia. And now he could only wonder if NASA had missed obtaining better pictures of the city on purpose. “This is ancient, ruined architecture we’re seeing,” he told USA Today in May 1998. Hoagland went on to accuse NASA of having obtained photographs that could confirm his theory but were refusing to release them because they would so shock humankind that civilization might collapse.

Tom Van Flandern, former head of celestial mechanics at the U.S. Naval Observatory, who currently runs a Washington, D.C., group called Meta Research, states that because the Martian region photographed by NASA has so many odd patterns and shapes, he would place the odds at a billion to one against all of them having occurred naturally. According to Van Flandern, the fact that the desert surrounding the Face on Mars is flat and featureless is of great significance in contrast to this sudden four-hundred-meter object rising at a regular height all around with perfectly straight sides. Ninety-degree angles are common; the bottom is symmetric. He claims that even in the new images the eye sockets and forehead are well defined and match up well with the original photo of the face.

Continuing with his analysis, Van Flandern told Art Bell on the Coast to Coast radio program that before seeing the new image sent back by the Mars Global Surveyor, “we knew that a fractal content implied a natural origin, while regularity, angularity, and symmetry implied artificiality. I see almost no fractality with the exception of the nose bridge, the feature least protected from wind erosion. I do see smooth lines and curves, right angles and corners (including one in the ‘furrowed’ eyebrow) and lots of symmetry, especially detailed symmetry in the headdress enclosure.”

In 1984 Richard Hoagland organized the Independent Mars Investigation (renamed the Enterprise Mission) and has been a fierce advocate of the position that NASA has been withholding knowledge concerning structures and artifacts discovered on Mars and the moon that would yield proof of extraterrestrial civilizations. Hoagland has come to believe that there are two space programs in existence: one to appease the taxpayers, and another conducted by a top-secret group with a hidden agenda.