Do Geologists Dream of
Wind-Blown Sheep?
"In my dreams, I was drowning my sorrows. My sorrows, they learned to swim"
U2 - "Until The End of The World"

Medium image for 20020413a

After several months of waiting, we were treated Friday, April 12, 2002 to the first Mars Odyssey data to cover areas of interest to our now nearly two-decade long investigation into the Cydonia region of Mars. Unfortunately, we did not get what we had hoped for; a multi-spectral nighttime infrared image of the Face and surrounding structures. Nor did we get a full-color image of the Cydonia complex in the promised 5-band color. What we did get was a nice grey-scale strip from the spacecraft's visible light camera. At 19 meters per-pixel, the image is substantially better resolution than the 50 meter per-pixel images we got in the Viking era. Still, it is an order of magnitude lower than the 1.5 meter per-pixel images we got in the best of circumstances from Mars Global Surveyor.

This does not prevent it from being useful. It is still a better overhead view of the center of the Cydonia complex than we have had before, allowing us to view the specific objects of interest in context and at a resolution we have not generally had (the D&M, for instance, has been almost completely missed in the publicly released images from Malin Space Science Systems ). Previously identified objects of interest that are visible in the new Odyssey image strip include the Face, the D&M Pyramid, the Fort ... and some "surprises."

This " Massive Tetrahedral Ruin " was first pointed out by Enterprise principal investigator Richard C. Hoagland four years ago, when it was first spotted on the infamous " Catbox " MGS image strip. This image has been stylistically interpreted as a "dolphin," or various other absurd "pictogram" shapes, with one rank-amateur even claiming he saw a "trailer-park" at the base of the object. Part of the illusion was the extreme forced perspective of that original MGS image -- taken 45 ° off-nadir -- which effectively distorted the shape of the object. You can now see clearly from directly overhead that there are two distinct faceted walls that once made up this structure. The object lies just South of a suspiciously symmetrical "mesa" and -- conveniently -- lies at exactly 19.5° off the base symmetry axis of the D&M. This same axis passes right between the eyes of the Face.

Of these objects, however, the real prize was still the D&M -- which we now have a good, higher resolution image of to compare with the Viking data. One of the most controversial objects in the entire Cydonia artificiality debate (because of its status as the linchpin of the Hoagland/Torun Geometric Relationship Model ), the D&M has always been key to deciphering the correctness of the original Cydonia observations from two decades ago. The most crucial issue has been that of the Pyramids five-sided symmetry, which was suggested strongly by the original Viking data and which became an issue of some debate in years past.

The D&M Pyramid, 2002 (Enterprise Mission Enhancement)

This five sided symmetry not only holds up extremely well in the new image (note especially the four clearly defined faceted sides to the Pentagonal pyramid meeting at a central apex -- exactly as observed by Hoagland and Torun on the original Viking data in 1989), but we can now see substantially more detail on the lower section of the damaged right hand side. We also (despite deep shadow) can verify the existence of a "fifth buttress" to the northeast -- the final piece needed to complete the pentagonal form and reconstruct the object's original, undamaged shape. The buttress seems to be pretty much the same length as the other visible buttresses (the Southeastern buttress is mostly buried under debris flow from the mild collapse the object has endured) and verifies the predicted geometric form proposed by Torun in 1988 perfectly. Obviously, such a "hit" is way beyond even "the Power of Randomness," and is a compelling confirmation of the validity of Torun's original work, despite the rather desperate and pathetic attempts to discredit it from some academic (and even "anomalist") circles in recent years.

We can also see additional evidence of the internal bulge in the Pyramid as noted back in the original investigation. It was once argued -- by Hoagland in Monuments-- that the "crater" to the right of the Pyramid seemed to be some sort of "entrance wound" for a possible projectile that may have accounted for the bulge in the upper right hand quintile. This new Odyssey image gives far greater detail of this area, and it seems to substantiate earlier 3-D shape-from-shading work done by Mark Carlotto that indicated it may actually be a horizontal "entrance point," either from a projectile or as an actual architectural entrance. Additionally, the new image -- at 19 meters/pixel resolution -- reveals new structural details of both southern "buttresses" that further buttress (pun intended!) the idea that these are essential architectural elements of a massive artificial edifice (below).

The conventional geologic model of these features is that they are due to "slumping" (or "mass wasting" as "experts" would put it, if they were trying to use more impressive jargon). Basically, the idea is that loose material from the top of the D&M tumbles down the slopes of the Pyramid and preferentially piles up at the corners of the object. Forgetting for a moment that none of these geologic experts seem to have noticed that the mass-wasting has put piles of debris precisely at the five corners of a 1.5 miles high, bilaterally symmetric, pentagonal Pyramid, our model is that these are actually reinforcing "buttresses" that have a specific architectural and mathematical function. Close examination of the new image -- remember, twice as good as the Viking data -- shows that these buttresses are indeed just that. They have a very "boxy," geometric look -- and the Southwest buttress even seems to have two rectangular openings (doors!?) in the base. The simple truth is that no "mass-wasting" process produces rectangular box shapes -- certainly not ones with several-hundred-foot-wide doors in them!

An additional, and very intriguing angle on this whole issue (sorry, more puns) was pointed out to us by Robert Harrison over at the Cydonia Quest web site . Bob noticed that there seemed to be an additional ridge line near the D&M, which he determined created a slightly differently oriented but almost identically-shaped pentagonal figure.

Now, although he's wrong about this (Sorry Bob! You're using the exposed SE buttress as a starting point, but only the upper part is exposed) it did quickly become clear that his newly discovered ridge line was part of something very important --

-- a Platform!

When you rotate the image of the D&M from the way we are all used to looking at it, we can see that there are two distinct but partially buried edges to the plateau that the D&M rests on. These two edges, not visible in the original Viking data,  meet in an apex point that is exactly aligned with the SE buttress on the opposite side of the structure!

This new perspective on the D&M now allows us to see that is most likely a two-dimensional seven-sided platform (or base) upon which the massive three-dimensional five-side "Rosetta Stone" structure was constructed. One, which like the structure itself, was designed to convey a very specific mathematical model to those that found it. A model that was (you guessed it) quintessentially tetrahedral -- because it geometrically embodied the unique seven-spin symmetry of the tetrahedron!

Indeed, one of the new internal angles generated by the new figure is none other than the ubiquitous 19.5 °!

Not only does this new data flatly validate the original Torun reconstruction and analysis of the enigmatic object, but it also demonstrates the correctness of the Geometric Relationship Model derived from it (as if the numerous successful predictions of the Hyperdimensional Physics Model hadn't already done so).

The new image also allows us to do an actual side-by-side-by-side comparison of the Face from Viking, MGS and Odyssey.

Science, however, is not supposed to work that way. When a controversial issue such as this is on the table, one that has the potential to completely alter the way we look at ourselves and our history, cooler heads are supposed to prevail and arguments are supposed to be evaluated in their proper context and with appropriate study. Unfortunately, the history of this investigation has been exactly the opposite of that academic ideal.

What we have typically had instead is much the same as we got again with this image release. The official caption generated for this new image goes to great pains -- maybe too great -- to dismiss the Face once again without the slightest attempt to apply proper scientific principals to the debate.

The caption, posted on the Arizona State University THEMIS web page, is a laughable mish-mash of airy homily, inappropriate comparisons, and scientific contortions that seem way too anxious to describe the indescribable in terms that make sense to the limited minds of the geologists , who are trying to close this issue once and for all. It begins by declaring that "Nature is an imaginative artist" and then proceeds to inform us that we are always seeing things we have "dreamed up" in our imaginations. They then compare the Face to Arizona’s Camelback Mountain (shades of NASA's earlier absurd " Middle Butte Mesa" comparison ), and "Sleeping Beauty" near Ludlow, California, among several other places. They naturally fail to mention that all of these locations only take on the visages they are famous for as profiles from the ground. This is, as has been pointed out to the NASA regulars on many occasions before, completely unlike the Face, which is designed to be seen from overhead. And, as is par for the course with these kind of assessments from the "scientific community," they try to deal with the Face in isolation, completely ignoring the preponderance of very anomalous structures scattered all over Cydonia -- several of which are in the very picture they're discussing (a geologic explanation for the Eiffel Tower could be conjured up if it was evaluated in complete isolation from the rest of the city of Paris)!

They finally attempt -- not very well -- to claim that the Face's appearance is the result of wind based erosion, or a combination of aeolian processes and a bizarre "pasting" process that they don't even attempt to explain thoroughly. This is just a variation of old and discredited "differential erosion" argument that NASA floated several years ago. This recently rediscovered notion frankly is nothing more than one person's substantially uninformed (or deliberately obtuse) opinion. Now, we all know what opinions are like, and this one -- which seems to permeate all levels of NASA and its affiliate academic institutions-- not only ignores the substantial history of predictions and observations of various independent researchers, it simply does not hold up under the most elementary critical scrutiny. They fail to notice (it seems) the incredible variety of "mesas" in the Cydonia region, ranging from the Face itself, to the curiously symmetrical formation just South of it, to the gargantuan and incredibly faceted (and riveting) D&M. How exactly did the Martian wind decide to change directions, at very precise 85.3 and 69.4-degree angles, just around the apex of the D&M every few thousand years to sculpt the precisely mathematical Cydonia Rosetta Stone and Pentagonal D&M shape? Or perhaps, the wind only blew a few miles to the North, where it "sculpted" the Face out of our dreams? Perhaps some completely different process was responsible for forming the D&M only a stones throw away? Now, we are willing to engage in an exchange of opinions, but for these "experts" to couch theirs in the guise of stipulated fact is not "science," any more than any other sweeping and unsupported assertion would be.


There is a clearly predominant "wind direction" at Cydonia. We could see from the close-ups of the Face that the City side, and the City side only, showed some evidence of minor pitting as the result of wind erosion processes. But the Cliff side was clearly protected from this process -- it showed no sign of pitting -- and quite obviously the minor wind erosion we observe was not a significant factor in the overall shape of the Face. This last observation meaning it was either very light (unlikely on a planet with occasional gusts for several weeks in the 300 mph range) or very recent. The new image of the D&M only confirms this single predominant wind direction. The three fully exposed buttresses are the ones that are most exposed to these presumed "winds of Cydonia." This is because this wind has simply blown away the dust and sand that might have once covered the structure. The two partially buried buttresses are on the opposite side of the structure, away from the howling winds of the Cydonia plain and presumably protected by the towering structure itself.

From these simple observations we can easily deduce that which seems to elude the best minds that NASA can throw at the "Cydonia problem." Wind was not a significant factor in the geomorphology of either the Face or the D&M. To ascribe the shape of any object of interest at Cydonia to this process flatly ignores the observations which contradict it.

It would be easy, even comforting, to dismiss this latest steaming pile of nonsense as merely the desperate rationalization of a frightened mind. To assume that the staff geologists at ASU, so used to explaining things in terms their minds can understand, have simply chosen to ignore the frightening paradigm shift that the Face, the D&M, and other objects represent. To somehow convince themselves that yes, the wind could make those turns ....

But we don't think so. This whole thing smells of a continuing politicization of what should be an open academic question, coming as it did on the same day that NASA's new chief called for a serious attempt to search for life in our solar system, and a major new nuclear propulsion initiative to send men and women there to find it!

Given these two totally contradictory messages on the same day (actually three -- if you take the Odyssey image itself sans the rhetoric as the most important message), we are left wondering if NASA now considers its promise to "target the Face with Odyssey" to be fulfilled. To be quite honest, what we got April 12th is probably the least useful data the spacecraft could provide. Perhaps NASA, or at least some in NASA, really still believe they can drown the Face in a sea of "expert" negative opinion and manipulative rhetoric, remarkable images notwithstanding. Then again, in this ill-defined internal war, perhaps the Odyssey image itself is the most important new development. And, if that's so, then we can expect the crucial and MUCH more valuable scientific IR image soon to follow ... as part of the deliberately undisclosed continuing "disclosure" process .... Stay tuned.

So our question remains: in this latest Cydonia release, could there perhaps be a set of dueling and escalating political motives evident as well -- between the "Owls" (who seem to still want the truth concealed at any cost) and their antagonists ... our "friends," the "Roosters?"

Or ... do NASA geologists really dream of windblown sheep?