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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 27

Mars Face

From: Brian Cuthbertson <brianc@fc.net>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 19:43:20 -0600 (CST)
Fwd Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 21:08:20 -0500
Subject: Mars Face

From the Austin Chronicle, Thursday 27 Nov, 1997, Page A38
Austin, Texas


MARS PROBE TO CHECK THAT FAMILIAR "FACE"

By Faye Flam
The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA - With the Mars Global Surveyor in orbit around the red
planet, NASA plans to try to update its fuzzy photos of the so-called
"Face on Mars", an image made famous by supermarket tabloids.

Photos sent back from Mars by NASA's 1976 Viking mission showed a
milelong hill that looked like an upward-staring face.

Some people who saw the images believed they were looking at an
ancient structure carved by space aliens.

Michael Malin, who is in charge of the cameras on the Mars Global
Surveyor, said the public's interest in the original photos had been
so great that NASA planned to take new shots of the face as part of
its current survey of Mars.

The taxpayers are footing the bill, he says, and if they want the
face, NASA should try to give them the face.

Much of the interest in the face on Mars has been stirred up by
Boston-based engineer Mark Carlotto.

Carlotto has developed techniques used by the military to pick out
human-made structures from natural ones.  He said that when he
applied these techniques to the Mars photos, he found that the face
and surrounding hills are more likely to have been made by intelligent
beings than to be a natural geologic structure that just happens to
look like a face near some vaguely pointy hills, as NASA asserts.

The builders, Carlotto said, could be indigenous Martians, some
unknown race of superintelligent humans, or extraterrestrial builders
from a distant world.

The Mars face has attracted a small cult following that communicates
via Internet discussion groups.  Carlotto has published a book on the
subject, "The Martian Enigmas".

Some believers claims there's a full-blown conspiracy in which NASA
is purposely shielding the public from the truth.  Carlotto suggests
that NASA scientists are just too skeptical and stubborn to take
these structures seriously.

Global Surveyor scientist Malin argues that Carlotto's image-
processing technique didn't scan a large enough swath of Mars'
landscape to determine whether the so-called face and pyramids were
not ordinary, natural structures.  If he had looked further, he might
have found that every 10th hill looked equally unnatural for his
methods, Malin said.

Malin said that, by addressing the face issue, he has inadvertently
gotten caught in the controversy.  He has changed his telephone to
an unlisted number because he was getting so many calls from
followers of Carlotto and others interested in the face on Mars.

With Mars Global Surveyor, Carlotto said, there is finally a chance
to settle the issue.  "It would be a shame if we didn't take
advantage of it."

He said the Viking photos show hints of teeth and other fine-scale
features that, if photographed more closely, might make the face
look so obviously alien-sculpted that even NASA skeptics such as
Malin will have to concede.

It won't be easy for NASA to settle the issue, Malin said.

One of the Global Surveyor's cameras, known as the high-resolution
camera, will pick out objects just a few meters across.  But NASA
can't point this camera, which is fixed to the craft.  To capture
the face, the craft will have to fly directly over it.

For that reason, "we can't make any promises", said project leader
Arden Albee.  He and his colleagues will need to get lucky to get a
picture of the face that's any sharper than the 20-year-old pictures
from Viking, Albee said.

Malin said the new photos, no matter how good, still might not
settle the issue.  The hill might still look like a face.

END


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