The Face on Mars has been the subject for debate
for almost 20 years. On April 6, 1998 NASA released the first new photographs
of this structure and very prematurely announced, "It's Not A Face".
For a more careful analysis of what the new photos show, we turned to Professor
Stanley V. McDaniel, founder of the Society for Planetary SETI Research (SPSR),
and co-editor of the recently published book, The Case for the Face: Scientists
Examine the Evidence for Alien Artifacts On Mars (Adventures Unlimited Press,
phone 1-800-718-4514). Professor McDaniel joined The Zoh Show on April 10, 1998
to help us understand what to look for.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
As Stan said on his McDaniel Report webpage, "When the first images came in from Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) on Monday, April 6, 1998 what we saw did not look much like the Face we are all familiar with from the Viking photos. The viewing angle of the camera and the shadowing is quite unfamiliar. Careful comparison of the new images with the old ones, knowing what to look for and where to find it, and other analysis will be necessary before coming to any firm conclusions about what we are viewing."
LIKE SHINING A FLASHLIGHT
ON YOUR CHIN
On The Zoh Show he added, "Well the Viking photos were taken at around 6:00 in the evening. The face feature is oriented roughly north/south so the Viking photos were illuminating the face from the upper left side, we might say as we look at the Face from straight above. And that made the eye shadows be very dark and brought out certain features. The new photographs taken by the Global Surveyor [are] almost from exactly the opposite position. It's coming from underneath and slightly to the east instead of from the west and, of course, the problem with that is that if you have a face and you shine the flashlight on it from underneath the chin, you do get a distortion. Everyone knows that. They do it on Halloween as a joke. So we do have that problem. The two images are shaded quite differently."
Following standard scientific method, the SPSR scientists formulated a prediction for what the MGS would image from the new angle. Based on their earlier image processing analysis of the Viking photos, certain aspects of their prediction were verified with the MGS images. Stan continued, "There are certain confirmations of certain features that were brought out by enhancement processes by Vince DiPietro and Mark Carlotto... We see a number of other features: the crossed lines above the eyes, the symmetrical head piece or helmet formation that almost encircles the object, and the little mole or tear drop on the cheek which is certainly there in the new one."
Stan's posting on his website concludes, "As a result of the comparison, we can say with confidence that given the lower resolution of the Viking images, the image enhancement work by Dr. Carlotto, Anada Sirisena and Vincent DiPietro was outstandingly good. A further conclusion is that the vague and unclear image enhancements of the Viking Face images done by Dr. Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems was not up to the same standards of accuracy. It was an unfortunate factor in this entire study that not only would major U.S. planetary science journals refuse to print any papers on this topic for other scientists to read, but that NASA scientists ignored the fine work done by SPSR imaging experts and continued to rely on the poor enhancements done by less qualified persons."
Most irksome was the rush to judgment by Malin Space Science Systems, the camera operator for JPL of the Mars Global Surveyor. As Stan told The Zoh Show audience, "But we have to remember that the NASA photos that were released, particularly the very first ones, were very poor enhancements. They hadn't done enough work on them at all and they dumped them on the media, and then said, 'look, obviously this is natural', and we think it's shocking that scientists at NASA, or JPL actually, would make a complete judgment as to the nature of an object that's in controversy within minutes, literally, of having gotten a picture of it. I think that's not a scientific procedure. Our people are working on this object with great care."
MORE PHOTOS TO COME
On April 14 and 23, 1998 the Mars Global Surveyor will again photograph the Cydonian region of Mars. Perhaps with the steady, methodical approach of Professor McDaniel and his colleagues in the SPSR, NASA and JPL will be forced to examine these new images with the care they deserve, since ultimately they could show evidence of a former intelligent civilization on our neighbor planet.
Summaries From Internet Postings by
Professor Stanley V. McDaniel and Dr. Mark J. Carlotto
Prior to the images received from MGS, Dr. Mark J. Carlotto prepared an image, using NASA Viking frame 70A13 as the reference, that gave the expected camera angle and shadowing. Below we show Dr. Carlotto's predicted image alongside the actual MGS image. Both images have been rotated for better comparison.
In the predicted image on the left, Dr. Carlotto had estimated the lighting as coming from more below the Face, so the "chin" is quite bright and the "forehead" is in shadow. In the MGS image, the Face is illuminated more to the side (eastern or "right" side). However, certain points of comparison are quite clear. The bright left eye areas and the smaller bright right eye are easily compared, as is the dark shadow thrown over the "mouth" areas by the ridge near the chin. The bright peak on that ridge is identifiable in both images. Also the "teardrop" feature on the left cheek (left and right as seen from above) is pronounced as a sharp protrusion in the MGS image, and is faintly visible in the prediction image.
What we do not see in the predicted image is the detail that is visible in the MGS picture. The predicted image relied on little or no information regarding the contours of the "right" side of the Face, so there is really nothing there, but in the MGS image we see considerable detail on the "right" side. Unfortunately the perspective was from the left, so even with the detail we are not seeing all of that side -- in particular the right eye socket is partly obscured.
We can, however, clearly see the long channel or groove cut along the right side of the Face in the MGS image, relating asymmetry with the feature on the left side. This was called the "hairline" or "headdress" of the Viking image. We can also compare the convoluted formation just at the lower right area of the chin, which matches well in both images.
We can conclude from this that Dr. Carlotto's enhancements and shape-from-shading work on the Viking frames actually had produced as accurate an interpretation as possible given the much lower resolution of the Viking frames.
...The lighting in the new images was expected to be ideal for confirmation or denial of the "pupil" feature that had been identified by Vincent DiPietro in the left eye socket. There actually does appear to be a small rounded object in the position where this "pupil" had been found, testifying to the accuracy of the "bit-slice" image processing method used by DiPietro to bring out this feature.
Among the elements of the detail that suggested an "artificiality" interpretation of the Face were the "crossed lines" that, in the Viking images, came from either side of the temples and crossed in a curving pattern just at the center of the forehead. In the MGS image we can see these lines, particularly the one that originates on the left temple, but it becomes "wavy" at its end -- some-thing that was not visible in the Viking images. In the figure on the left we point out the crossing point on the lines and wavy portion.
Finally, the curved crown at the top of the head is seen in the MGS images to be a strangely regular arc, almost like a track of some sort. This feature is currently under investigation by SPSR geologists. As the dark shadow in this area in the Viking predicted image shows, the top of the head from "eyebrows" to this crown is a fairly steep rise.
In the 1976 Viking images, the impression of a face was unmistakable. But illuminated from below the Face seems less remarkable. Many of the features seen in the Viking images of the Face can also be seen in the new MGS image. But it is apparent that the Face, if it is in fact a face, is severely eroded. Although the symmetry of the platform, precision of the beveled edge, linear features at the top of the head are striking, perhaps they can be explained geologically.
However, before a final judgment can be made, several key questions remain. First, are there facial features on the right side of the Face? If so their presence would greatly increase the probability that this object is a face, regardless of its present condition. Second, how does the Face appear at high resolution under the original Viking Imaging geometry with the spacecraft almost directly overhead and the sun to the northwest? Like any face, ones subjective impression varies with the illumination. Perhaps the Face was designed to be viewed under more restrictive illumination conditions.
The most important question is, what do the other objects look like at high resolution? For example, finding the straightness and geometrical regularity in the walls of the Fortress to have an obvious geological explanation, or the mounds to be naturally occurring landforms that happen to be arranged in a regular pattern would weaken our hypothesis that this collection of objects is artificial. Being more geometrical in shape, these objects they are artificial, may have retained enough of their architecture to be recognizable, even in a degraded condition. Hopefully future MGS images will help answer these and other questions about this strange collections of objects on Mars.