Monday, September 3, 2007
NASA Continues to Hide The True Colors of Mars
On August 5th, 2004, as the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit was making the slow climb out of Gusev crater on its way toward the so-called “Pot of Gold,” JPL commanded the rover to turn south and take a set of images of a nearby rocky outcrop and the plains (and rim) of Gusev beyond. The outcrop, nicknamed “Longhorn” by the MER-JPL team, contains a number of interesting “rocks” in the near field. Like the later Pot of Gold, the Spirit team has had a great deal of difficulty categorizing some of the objects seen in the images sent back.
However, what continues to intrigue us is not necessarily the inexplicable “geology” of the region, but rather NASA’s persistent commitment to deceive the public about the true nature and colors of Mars. As we have noted before -- and as will be further documented in Dark Mission -- NASA has a long-standing policy of altering surface images of Mars in order to make the sky and landscape appear to be an absurd “Technicolor red.” As we have established in previous articles, the Martian sky is blue, not red, and the red-shifting of the surface images from Viking to Pathfinder to now Spirit and Opportunity has resulted in the general public perceiving Mars as an alien, forbidding world.
In fact, it looks a lot like Arizona.
The latest proof of this came from the aforementioned images from the high rim of Gusev crater, cobbled together by NASA under image release PIA06770. We knew immediately that the red skies and rocks were phony (the caption calls it “approximate true color” – a NASA euphemism for “outright fake”), so it was simply a matter of adjusting the saturation and balance to bring out the real color of the scene. Fortunately, most imaging software contains a tool that makes this exceptionally easy.
By simply applying a color auto-adjust (or auto-equalize) tool, we can correct the deliberate red-shifting of JPL image processing and reveal the true colors of Mars, vs. the “approximate true colors” of NASA. This filter simply applies a flat equalization to the image – meaning that the image goes from over-saturated red to an equal balance in the primary red-green-blue channels – and more closely duplicates what the human eye would see if you were standing next to Spirit as the picture was taken.
Try it yourself. Download the official rover image from the JPL site, then, use the auto color-balance feature in your imaging software. We think you’ll be pleased and impressed by the results ... at least, until you also realize what NASA has been pulling all these years vis-à-vis the “real” colors of Mars ….
NASA apologists like “Dr. Phil” Plait have tried to muddy the waters on this question by claiming that it is really hard for NASA to get the color right, and that the inclusion of an IR band “pushes the images red.” Now try this tool and ask yourself how difficult it is to show the colors of Mars correctly.
As to the reasons why NASA continues to deceive the American public in this way, well, that is all covered in “Dark Mission.” But if you doubt that NASA does this deliberately, we’ll give you a chance to prove your position. Try to find an image – any "real color" image (not one taken through false-color IR filters) – from either of the Mars Exploration Rovers that shows both the color calibration wheel and the Martian sky in the same frame.
Good luck. And, stay tuned.