Monday, April 6, 2009

Aritfact of the Week

From the Argyre impact region of Mars. A full size poster of this area is here.
The MSSS original image can be found here.


  1. I'm taking Astronomy of the Solar System this semester. During the Mars lecture, the instructor spoke briefly about the Face. He showed the famous 1979 photograph, then followed it with the infamous catbox and the conclusion that the mystery had been solved. I raised my hand. He said, "Yes?" I said, "Have you seen the other photograph?" He said, "Why, does it look more like a face?" I said, "Yeah." The student next to me exclaimed, "But it can't be...!" and shook his head. A girl behind me said, "But there are things on earth look like faces too so..." At that point, the instructor moved onto the next slide. A few minutes later, he was talking about a surface feature that about which some geologists have some conviction regarding its origin, and another student asked, "Do they think that because of the way it looks?" The instructor said, "Yeah." My impatience with my fellow man was very high at that moment.

  2. Dear Mike-
    Let me start by saying I have the books Monuments, Dark Mission. I visit TEM Daily, I visit TDMB daily. Yes some times I can see what "seems" to be in a posted picture, sometimes not-like this posted picture. And heres the problem- The majority of humans on this planet look at a picture like this and say 'What the heck am I looking at" I'm the same way on this one. At times there needs to be overlays or lines on these pictures to help people better understand and see whats there.
    Its like the DM Book I was anticipating much better photo reproduction than what was produced. Dont get me wrong- you at RCH are doing NASAs job-and I as an American am very proud there are guys like you out there trying to get the truth to the masses.

  3. Joe,

    This is a comomon problem.

    Human perception is a funny thing. When I was at Boeing, my boss told me about studies they did on the ability to project in 3D in your head. He said about 1/3 of people could do it easily, Richard and me are in this category. About 1/3 could do it with some help, I suspect you are in this category, and about 1/3 just can't do it.

    Whenever I get a review on Amazon or that says "the pictures don't show anything like what is claimed," I immediately know I'm dealing with somebody in the latter category.

    This area is astonishing. Basically, it's Hermosa Beach on Mars. I see buildings,towns, roads, docks, piers, structures of all kinds. Imagine you are in an airplane and looking out the window.

    In short, I feel your pain, but it is just too time consuming to mark up every image. Richard did a lot of that for Dark Mission though. Maybe in future AOTW's I'll post those.

  4. Zakhur,

    Send me his email. I'll send him a couple of pictures.

  5. I must be in that other 1/3, I see something on the edge of a very steep cliff. If Mars had water, would that explain the extreme depth? I do see piers and bridges extending beyond edge of the land and grid lines further in land. Definitely worth further investigation.

    Keep 'em coming!

  6. Mike,

    What is your public e-mail address? I'm not able to find it. I'd rather not post my prof's e-mail :)

  7. Zak, do you have a MySpace account? You could leave me a message there.

  8. Hi Mike,

    My Tivo tries to catch the "Mars" documentaries which I then pick and choose but it got an episode of Cosmos on the Science Channel recently.
    It was quite a classic episode. I remember Carl demonstrating that at 100 meter resolution you start to see signs of civilization on Earth when viewed from above. Richard was keen to quote Carl and take that analogy and apply it to the Moon and Mars.
    The thing that got me though is the episode has obviously been reedited as it showed the "catbox" photo when in fact the last mission to Mars was Viking when Cosmos was produced. I still think "Contact" was a great book and loved the movie too.


  9. Mike,

    I don't have a myspace account and don't really want one either. Maybe we can do this: send any photos to That address is all over the net already. I don't mind spreading it around some more.

  10. Well yes ... it is the sun ... but it is passing behind one of those towers that you've found on the moon no ?

  11. And THEY have published those photos, on the 94th day of mission ( 9+4=13) of both Spirit and Opportunity ... Just go to the site and check that for yourselves, just see the photos for the Navigation Camera and the Panoramic Camera.

    And once again I would like to thank both yours and Richard work all this years

  12. Gentlemen, I have a question:
    Do you have a picture of the "Face" on Mars on which the eastern side of the "Face" is visible?

  13. Mike,

    If I'm reading you correctly and that latest post "AOTW... The Face... Mars Express" is in response to Acey's question, you posted a reflection of the western side. He is asking about the Eastern side.

    But I'll agree there aren't many shadows on the Mars Express image which makes it a ~fair~ response to his question.

    To be clear:

    Eastern side = Lion
    Western side = Human + Grey

    Acey, here's a great .gif I constructed using Keith Laney's Infrared composite with all sides visable and reflected. :-)

    Another good one using MRO...

    Just cuz the eastern side is in the shade, doesn't exactly make it invisable.

  14. Sorry Acey,

    That last link to the MRO .gif didn't post complete for some reason... add: 03050901.gif to the end of it.

  15. Is this story for real?

    If so then it seems Hoagaland and Bara were right about the moon.


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