Finding Ziggurats – You Suck at it
In the "Final Thoughts" of his August 6th post, Stuart (PS4NASA) reiterated his claim that the Ziggurat image was a Hoax or a fraud and then issued the following challenge directly to me:
"I’d like to see what Mike will say to expose me as an idiot and show the NASA original is the one that’s been faked"
All I can say is, be careful what you wish for Stuart (PS4NASA)... be careful what you wish for...
In the last 2 sections I will show that Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claims that there are other images at as much as “100x” the resolution of the Apollo photo is false. I will further show that there are confirming photos which show the Ziggurat is not a “crater,” as he flatly asserts.
Let’s review how he put this challenge on his blog:
“2. Why other images of the same place taken by several different craft (including non-NASA ones), including images at almost 100x the original resolution of the Apollo photo, don’t show the feature.”
This again is a highly deceptive statement, and when he made it, he had only posted a single Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image of the area to make his point. As of 8/15/2012, he had yet to produce a single “non-NASA” image of the Ziggurat area that “doesn’t show the feature.” This is despite implying in his 2nd demand that they existed. If they existed, I wanted to see them. Put up or shut up. It’s not my job to prove the Ziggurat is a hoax or fraud. That’s his position, and as you have seen and will see, he has produced no evidence to support it.
Now, as to the question of the “100x” resolution claim, that is also very debatable and essentially bogus. The quality, or “resolution” of an image depends on many factors; the quality of the imaging hardware, the software, the lighting conditions at the time, the presence of atmospheric haze or distortion, or in the case of the Moon, the presence of a semi-transparent glass-like medium in between the camera and the target, the focal length and optical quality of the lens, the altitude of the spacecraft above the target, etc. So there is no guarantee that even if his statement is correct and the LROC cameras (or other cameras) have “100x” the resolution of the cameras used on Apollo, it will not necessarily make for a better picture. The conditions also have to be right.
In fact, the cameras used on Apollo 11 were excellent, and state of the art at that time, as were the amazing specially produced fine-grained films the astronauts used. Also, anyone in Hollywood will tell you digital images are not necessarily “better” than film, and in fact many feature films still use good old fashioned film because of its superior quality. The recent Star Trek reboot by J.J. Abrams is a prime example; all its live action sequences were shot completely on film.
For Apollo 11, there were generally 2 types of film/lens combinations used in the 70mm Hasselblad cameras the astronauts carried for orbital reconnaissance photography. For AS11-38-5564, on which the Ziggurat appears, the best film they had, Panatomic-X 70-mm black and white film was used, along with the best lens theyhad, the 250-mm lens. For color photographs of the Moon from space, they also used an SO-368 Ektachrome MS ASA64 film with an 80-mm or 250-mm lens with a haze filter. I find this very interesting, since there isn’t supposed to be any “haze” on the Moon. It would however be effective against another type of “haze,” – that caused by an intervening, semi-transparent glass type medium.
But I digress.
In actuality, all of this is wholly irrelevant, since whatever the resolution of AS11-38-5564, it is more – far more – than enough to easily resolve the Ziggurat and the many other artificial structures all over the general area. If only they hadn’t erased it by messing with the contrast and drawing in shadows.
As to the 2nd part, “why other images don’t show the feature,” well, let’s just say we’ll get to that.
As we learned in Part II, Stuart (PS4NASA) made a video, rather than post a detailed article, on just why he thinks the above statement/challenge he made to me above is true. But I really hate watching videos, especially when they are of the “Mike Bara sucks” variety, so I initially passed on watching it. But on his blog he repeats the claim that other missions “including non-NASA ones” have successfully imaged the Ziggurat area. However, all he’d ever posted that actually shows the Ziggurat area is a deliberately de-resed version of LROC Wide Angle Camera image M118715682M.
Stuart’s (PS4NASA) really bad version of LROC wide angle camera image M118715682M
Since I really didn’t want to sit through his video, and in any case video is useless for real analysis (which is probably why he does them), I decided to play a little game with Stuart (PS4NASA). I set a trap for him and posted a mocking attack on his use of the deliberately de-resed image (M118715682M) from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter he’d referenced in his last response. What I was looking for was for him to show his hand and provide direct links to images he believed proved the Ziggurat was just a crater, which he has flatly asserted. Within an hour, he’d taken the bait like a Rainbow in a trout farm and posted a new update. It included links to the LROC Wide Angle Camera (WAC) and Narrow Angle Camera(NAC) images which supposedly proved there is no Ziggurat, but he also failed to post any other images from any “non-NASA” missions, even though he continued to claim they exist in his challenge to me:
"2. Why other images of the same place taken by several different craft (including non-NASA ones), including images at almost 100x the original resolution of the Apollo photo, don’t show the feature."
Now clearly here, he’s implying that there are images from “non-NASA” missions which don’t show the Ziggurat on them, and further, that he has seen them. How else could he claim they “don’t show the feature”? If true and these images exist, then he should have produced them from the get-go. The burden of proof is not on me to produce them, it’s on him. He’s the one claiming they exist, not me. Maybe he hadn’t had time to look, or maybe they just didn’t exist, or maybe he was holding them in reserve to try and “gotcha” me with them later. In any event it makes no difference. I don’t trust data from digital images for reasons well outlined in Dark Mission and Ancient Aliens on the Moon. And, after NASA went to the trouble of actually painting over the Ziggurat in AS11-38-5564, I certainly have no reason to trust anything put out by any NASA source concerning the Ziggurat. But let’s look at what Stuart (PS4NASA) posted on his update anyway.
One of the links he lists to support his claim that “images at almost 100x the original resolution of the Apollo photo don’t show the feature” is the LROC NAC image of the area where hebelieves the Ziggurat is located. Unfortunately, as I will show, he’s completely wrong once again.
Here is a screen cap of the LROCACT-REACT QuickMap image generated at 125 Meters-Per-Pixel. In it, you can see the location of Daedalus Ziggurat and the surrounding terrain.
General area of the Daedalus Ziggurat noting the “Christmas Tree.” Image rotated 180 degrees to match orientation of AS11-38-5564. South is up in this image.
The Ziggurat is actually located south of the crater Daedalus R (up in the above image), and southwest of a feature I call the “Christmas tree.” Even at 125-mpp, you can see that the Ziggurat is oriented toward and overlooks a large crater with 4-5 major sub-craters in it. Now all I had to do was confirm the location by simply comparing visible surface features from one image to the next. Fortunately, there are a couple of large scale features of the Ziggurat present in all versions culled from 5564 which make this task easier, even at the poor resolution of the LROC map Stuart (PS4NASA) had linked to.
Two of the most prominent features of the Ziggurat are the two angled “ramps” leading from the front to the top of the structure. They form a “V” shape and there is a slightly darker, triangular shape defined by the legs of the “V” and the top edge of the northern wall.
Below the leftmost ramp is a wedge shaped supporting structure (buttress) which stretches from the tip of the “V” around until it meets the base of the left wall. There is an implication of a similar wedge-shaped buttress on the right side, but it is not completely resolvable from the angle we have, although symmetry would be assumed if it was a true artificial structure. These structures are plainly visible even in the NASA version of AS11-38-5564.
NASA version of AS11-38-5564
Under the lighting conditions of as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg, the wedge shaped buttresses are brighter, but the triangular center section appears to be just a bit darker. These became the tell-tale signature I was hunting for as I tried to find the Ziggurat.
To my pleasant surprise, it really wasn’t very difficult. Using Stuart (PS4NASA)’s incorrect location as a guide, I quickly spotted the real location close-by. The 2 bright wedge-shaped buttresses were fairly obvious, even at the zoomed out 125-mpp resolution of the LROC map page.
LROC ACT-REACT QuickMap image of the Ziggurat area at (supposedly) 32-mpp resolution. Image rotated to match AS11-38-5564 (north is down). Wedge-shaped bright areas correspond to the wedge-shaped buttresses visible in all versions of AS11-38-5564.
To get my coordinates (174.24E, Lat. -8.90N), I simply centered the mouse pointer over the approximate location of the Temple, and I had my bearings. I was then able to look for corresponding features in the area around the Ziggurat to confirm that my identification was correct.
This was also easy. In looking at the official NASA version of 5564 as well as as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg, there is a prominent crater just to the left and north of the left buttress. If that was visible next to the bright buttresses on the LROC map, then I had found my Ziggurat’s correct location.
So I zoomed up to 64-Meters Per Pixel, increased the contrast, auto-adjusted the color just for fun, and sharpened the image. The crater and the buttresses were not only easy to spot; they were in the exact relationship to each other as they were in BOTH versions of AS11-38-5564.
Unfortunately, I found that zooming up in the map browser any further did no good, because there simply was no higher resolution data loaded into it. This may change in the future.
So clearly, indisputably, I had found the “real” location of the Ziggurat. But there was still a problem. It wasn’t where Stuart (PS4NASA) said it was.
As I read deeper into his analysis and finally decided to watch his insipid video, it became obvious to me he had misreported the location of the Ziggurat. What he thought was the Ziggurat was actually a crater just to the south of it. According to LROC ACT-REACT QuickMap, the Ziggurat actually lies at 174.24E, Lat. -8.90N, and the centerline of the structure is angled at about 22 degrees off due west, overlooking the large crater.
Again, a straight feature-by-feature comparison between 5564 and the rotated LROC map confirmed that Stuart’s (PS4NASA) location was actually centered near a crater that lay behind (from the cameras’ perspective) the Ziggurat in AS11-38-5564. The crater and a distinct pair of smaller craters are all easily discernible in both 5564 and the LROC ACT-REACT QuickMap.
Now, the difference between the two locations 174.34°E, -8.97°N (his) and 174.24E, Lat. -8.90N (mine) may not seem like much, but remember, he’s claiming that he’s found the Ziggurat on an LROC Narrow Angle Camera (NAC from here on out) image with a resolution/ pixel scale of just 0.78 meters per pixel, which he’s repeated now at least 9 times on his various blog posts and again on his 2 videos. He’s also flatly declared that this narrow camera image is yet another proof that the Ziggurat is a hoax/fraud, and that Hoagland and I are “incompetent” for revealing it and/or defending it.
There’s only one problem; once again he’s totally, completely wrong.
As you can see from the image data for the NAC image he links -- M149377797R -- the latitude is correct for coverage of the Ziggurat, but the longitude is wrong. The narrow camera angle image covers a swath from 174.31E on the left side of the image to 174.4E on the right. It completely misses the true location of the Ziggurat, which in actuality is as I said located at 174.24E, -8.90N.
Data table from Narrow Angle Camera image M149377797R showing the exact latitude and longitude parameters of the image swath.
And again, this is actually very easy to confirm using the lat/long calculator on the ACT-REACT QuickMap he links to. All I did was place my mouse pointer at the exact longitudes given by the NAC image data, line them up with specific features, and draw the NAC image swath on a screen cap of the QuickMap. As I predicted, it missed the Ziggurat completely.
Close, but no cigar…
Stuart (PS4NASA) however, claims that this NAC image DOES cover the Ziggurat. In his August 15th update, he even drew in an outline of where he thinks the Ziggurat is to “prove” it:
Unfortunately for him, he’s wrong yet again. What he points to as the “feature” is not the Ziggurat at all, but simply a hill and a crater next to (“behind”) it (wow, would I love to see his face right now…).
It’s obvious from comparing the LROC map on the web page he links to that we he thinks is the Ziggurat – or what he asserts to his “fans” is the Ziggurat – is actually just an “X” shaped feature some small distance away. So the image he claims is “100x” better than the Apollo image, and which he categorically states proves the Ziggurat is just ”a crater,” isn’t an image of the Ziggurat at all, and as such is proof of nothing. It also shows his incompetence at the least, or his intellectual dishonesty at the most. He’s either just plain dumb or this was a calculated misdirection designed to throw some red meat to the frothing, psychopathic “expat” crowd that robotically follows his blog.
But is he really that manipulative and calculating? Nah… I don’t think so. I think he just “doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground,” as my dad used to say.
The next step is to use AS11-38-5564 to confirm just what part of it the NAC image swath actually does cover. Again, this is fairly easy to do by simply lining up features in both images. There is a distinctive crater with two smaller satellite craters that lies just behind the Ziggurat. According to my placement of the NAC image swath, one of these craters should be fully visible and one of them should be cut in half by the NAC image. Guess what?
“Missed it by that much…”
And we can further confirm that the NAC image doesn’t cover the Ziggurat by comparing it to the official NASA version of AS11-38-5564:
Because of the obliquity of 5564, we’ll never get a perfect alignment of the two images, but we can do a similar feature comparison from the ACT-REACT QuickMap image. Once again, we find that it and the features on AS11-38-5564 line up exactly as I claim they do…
So we now have multiple data points, many of them from Stuart’s (PS4NASA) own sources, that prove he’s wrong, and that the image he claims is “100x” better than the Apollo photo and shows the Ziggurat in it shows no such thing. Further, we have demonstrated that his claims about the location of the Ziggurat are false, and can therefore conclude he is either incompetent or engaged in a deliberate deception on this point. I can’t wait for him to admit to one or the other.
But I won’t hold my breath.
I doubt he’ll ever admit that he is completely, undeniably, inarguably, absolutely, irredeemably, immutably wrong. In other words, he’ll never admit to the truth, which is that he can’t even do a simple visual inspection of the available data before he goes off half-cocked accusing people of committing fraud and perpetrating hoaxes. But that’s pretty much par for the course for people like Oberg (BSOP) and the rest of the NASA debunking crowd, so why should I expect Stuart (PS4NASA) to be any smarter or more honest?
The simple truth is, this Narrow Angle Camera image was the linchpin around which his entire case that “we can go to ANY other spacecraft image of this site and see that the ziggurat is not there, that it is a crater” was built. Without it, his arguments as well as his personal credibility as a scientist go in the toilet, which is where they belong.
This leaves him only the LROC WAC image and some Kaguya/Selene images of the region to fall back on. So let’s dismantle those too, shall we?
Unfortunately, when I went to the page he linked to for the WAC, I found that image was un-viewable because it wasn’t fully processed by NASA. There was a bizarre venetian blinds kind of effect that had to be processed out. Lacking the tools to do so and getting rather impatient about dealing with poor, dumb Stuart (PS4NASA), I decided to go for a second sucker post on my blog. In it, I really ratcheted up the conspiracy rhetoric, figuring he’d buy into that for sure. I was right.
About a day later, on August 15th, 2012 at 3:20AM (do you charge overtime to your NASA grant for these hours?) Stuart (PS4NASA) responded as I expected him to. In this post, he started by mocking my image enhancement skills. I found that pretty ripe coming from a guy who thinks interpolation makes an image “worse” and who doesn’t know what backscattering is. Then, he doubled down on stupid by posting even more images showing the location of the Ziggurat in the wrong place:
Factually Incorrect… (Note to Stuart (PS4NASA) – NASA images cannot be copyrighted. The taxpayers own them.)
He even copyrighted his stupidity by copyrighting the images on NASA’s behalf. That’s pretty presumptive for someone who claims to have ”literally less connection with NASA than a custodian who sweeps the floors of JPL.” In fact, it kinda makes it look like you work for NASA or something…
Stuart (PS4NASA), you truly are the gift that keeps on giving.
But, as I'd hoped, Stuart (PS4NASA) provided a link to a nifty little freeware tool that can process the LROC WAC images and remove the annoying framelet problem. So, not trusting Stuart (PS4NASA) to do a proper job of enhancing the WAC image, I downloaded it along with the tool and soon had an acceptable version of the WAC image of the Ziggurat region.
Right away I could see it was useless. The lighting was near overhead, which meant that the image would lack the critical shadows and contrast to derive proper shape from shading. In addition, the “Christmas Tree” was foreshortened and distorted, as was the Ziggurat portion of the image, meaning it was taken at an oblique angle and had been corrected to provide the illusion of a more overhead perspective. The Ziggurat area was very small and contained very little data and contrast, making it faint and almost invisible.
Enhancing the image made very little difference. There simply isn’t enough information in it to determine anything about the Ziggurat although we can see Stuart’s (PS4NASA) “X” and the craters I identified faintly. I can see why to this point Stuart (PS4NASA) has never posted his own enhancement of this WAC image because if he did an honest job of it, he’d have to admit that it was useless and drop it from list of arguments. But of course Stuart (PS4NASA) has already used this image as part of his evidence that the Ziggurat “is not there, that it is a crater, as expected from the LPI version,” so he’s not going to do that.
Which left it to me and my sadly deficient image processing skills.
After resisting the temptation to follow Stuart’s (PS4NASA) image enhancement guidelines and reduce it (snork), I used the usual suite of tools (contrast enhancement, interpolation, etc…) to do the best I could. But the simple fact is the LROC-WAC image is nowhere near high enough resolution to make any determination about the Ziggurat’s reality. It is vastly inferior to AS11-48-5564. In fact, the Apollo photograph AS11-48-5564 contains far more data and is at a much higher resolution than the LROC-WAC image. This is again in stark contrast (I love enhancement lingo based puns) to what Stuart (PS4NASA) says in his blog.
Stuart (PS4NASA) claims that the LROC-WAC image “has a pixel scale of about 77 m/px whereas the Apollo image has a scale of ~65 m/px at that location…” The reality is that either the WAC image is much worse than 77-mpp, or the Apollo photo (even the doctored NASA scan of it) is much better than his estimate of 65-mpp. I'll leave it to Stuart (PS4NASA) to decide which Choice is correct.
This is easy to see by simply comparing the 2 images at their native resolution.
Obviously, the Ziggurat is on the order of 10x better resolution than the LROC-WAC image. This makes the LROC-WAC image useless for any serious evaluation of the existence of the Daedalus Ziggurat.
That left only the Japanese Kaguya/Selene data to examine.
But again, I really hadn’t looked at much of it, since many of their press release images had been de-resed and were pretty much useless. I really needed somebody else to do the leg work and find the images for me.
Enter sucker post #3…
In my new post on August 16th, right in the middle of composing this masterpiece, I dared him to provide the “non-NASA” images he had implied existed and that he had seen:
“As I expected, after my post the other night, Stuart Robbins responded on his blog with the usual twaddle about how dumb I am and how I get everything wrong. In it, he repeats his claim about images "100x" better than the Apollo photo AS11-38-5564 that "prove" there is no Ziggurat on the Moon. Not only that, but he claims that there are "non-nasa" images at the same "100x" better resolution that prove the Ziggurat doesn't exist. Here's the exact quote:
'Why other images of the same place taken by several different craft (including non-NASA ones), including images at almost 100x the original resolution of the Apollo photo, don’t show the feature.'
Now clearly here, he’s implying that there are images from “non-NASA” missions which don’t show the Ziggurat on them, and further, that he has seen them. How else could he claim they “don’t show the feature” if he hasn't seen them? If true and these images exist, then he should produce them. The burden of proof is not on me to produce them, it’s on him. He’s the one claiming they exist, not me.
Of course, so far, all he has produced are NASA images of the area, which, given that they've already painted over parts of the Ziggurat, I don't exactly trust.
If there are such "non-NASA" images, then produce them, otherwise shut-up about them and admit you BS'd your readers into thinking they ever existed in the first place.”
Within 2 hours – right in the middle of the workday on a Thursday-- he responded on his blog with a fairly extensive new post. This time, he included links to six images which showed the area around the Ziggurat:
MNA_2B2_01_03695S091E1741 @ 60mpp
MVA_2B2_01_03695S091E1741 @ 20mpp
SP_2B2_01_01192_S091_E1746 @ (not stated)
SP_2B2_01_03695_S088_E1741 @ (not stated)
DTMTCO_03_05874S092E1744SC @ 10mpp
DTMTCO_03_01192S091E1746SC @ 10mpp
Theoretically, all of these images should be as good or close to as good as the Apollo image. All of the images need to be converted from something called the “Obtuse” format, and since I’m not a really awesome image processor and don’t have the specialized hardware and software to deal with it, I really couldn’t do anything with the data links he provided. Stuart (PS4NASA) however, did have the fancy software and know-how to deal with the images, and did so.
Of the six, he chose only one to put on his blog, image DTMTCO_03_05874S092E1744SC. For whatever reason, he did not provide the full-size processed image, but instead chose to only include cropped portions of the data in a couple of poster sheets he put up. Maybe he found something on the full-size image that bothered him.
But then he once again doubled down on stupid and pointed again to the wrong location for the Ziggurat:
At this point, it looked like I was SOL. I simply didn’t have the hardware or software to deal with the native image formats and Stuart (PS4NASA) hadn’t provided the raw data he’d used in creating his poster sheets that pointed to the wrong location. But I went ahead and downloaded all the thumbnails at least and found that two of them were labeled “(not stated)” in the resolution column. When I clicked on them, I found that the thumbnails could be selected and led to much larger JPEG versions, which I also downloaded.
Of the two (images SP_2B2_01_01192_S091_E1746 and SP_2B2_01_03695_S088_E1741), SP_2B2_01_01192_S091_E1746 was by far the highest resolution, so I decided to see what I could do with it. Given that it was a really big image dimensionally (4096 x 4656), I was actually pretty excited to try and work with it.
Once I got it rotated and found the Ziggurat region, I started working on increasing the brightness (obviously, it’s very dark). I was able to make some progress, but quickly found there were limits to how good I could get it to look. At 25% size, it pretty much matched both the LROC-WAC image and the Kaguya image that Stuart (PS4NASA) had posterized. Still, it was nowhere near the resolution of AS11-48-5564.
So I started zooming up.
By the time I got to 100%, things were looking very ugly.
At this resolution, the details of the Ziggurat should be plain for all to see. Instead, what you see is horrific artifacting, possibly deliberately induced. If these are simply JPEG compression artifacts, then they are far more than is necessary for placement on the web. At 100% zoom, there should be no evidence of compression artifacts at all, only when you zoom up to 300-400% should you see any evidence of compression artifacts.
It gets even worse when you stretch the data a little farther.
The Ziggurat from Kaguya/Selene image SP_2B2_01_01192_S091_E1746. Artifacts are present in the original data as downloaded from the Kaguya/Selene web site and NOT do to overprocessing
At this scale, it begins to look like these defects are not simple JPEG compression artifacts, but rather are deliberately induced noise to obscure the data. By plastering over the Ziggurat in this manner, it becomes impossible to work with the data at all and determine the crucial ground truth of the Ziggurat site. This, by the way, is what real deliberately induced noise in an image looks like Stuart (PS4NASA).
It will be interesting to see how Stuart (PS4NASA) defends this one. I suspect he will either accuse me of painting in the squares myself, or claim that they are “normal” compression artifacts, which is laughable.
As an experiment, I took the Ziggurat area from NASA’s “5564.jpg”, cropped it, enlarged it (no interpolation), messed with the contrast, sharpened it and saved with the maximum compression possible on Photoshop, all in an effort to duplicate the abomination I downloaded from the Kaguya/Selene site. I didn't come close. It’s pretty bad all right, but nowhere near as bad as the Kaguya/Selene data. I doubt you can even get there from here, and you can still pretty much see the Ziggurat some considerable detail. In the Kaguya/Selene data, it’s completely obscured.
The bottom line is I still have yet to see any full resolution data from any other mission besides Apollo that would make me alter my conclusion that the original Ziggurat image is a legitimate scan from an early generation photographic print of AS11-48-5564.
And the best part is, I don’t have to…
As I have just amply demonstrated, any digital image cannot be completely trusted, especially if it comes from NASA. The fact is if you have an agenda to cover up artifacts, it is a fairly easy thing to do with modern imaging tools and an audience like the people who follow Stuart’s (PS4NASA) blog. Again, anyone who has read DarkMission knows that we have caught NASA at these kinds of deceptions numerous times.
And, since you have a built-in collection of “useful idiots” to harass anyone challenging the authenticity of data you release, you get pretty comfortable that no one, especially the paid shills who depend on your funding for their rent and Chevy Volt payments, will really look too close at what you put out. In fact, they’ll rabidly attack any heretic who questions your authority.
That’s when you get sloppy. And you miss things.
Like pictures. 2 more pictures, to be exact.