Cydonia is a region in the northern hemisphere of the planet Mars that has attracted both scientific and popular interest because it contains the “Face on Mars” feature. Some planetologists believe that the northern plains may once have been ocean beds and that Cydonia may once have been a coastal zone.
The Viking 1 and Viking 2 orbiters first took images, 18 in total, of the Cydonia region. In one of the images (035A72) taken by Viking 1 on July 25, 1976, a 1.2-miles long mesa, situated at 40.75° north latitude and 9.46° west longitude, had the appearance of a humanoid face. Viking chief scientist Gerry Soffen dismissed the “face on Mars” as a “trick of light and shadow”. However, a second image, 070A13, also shows the “face”, although it was acquired 35 Viking orbits later at a different sun-angle from the 035A72 image. This latter discovery was made independently by Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar, two computer engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Some commentators, most notably Richard C. Hoagland, believe the “face on Mars” and other features, such as apparent pyramids, to be parts of a ruined city — evidence of a long-lost Martian civilization.
Face on Mars
More than 20 years after the Viking 1 images were taken, new and better-resolution images of the Cydonia region were taken by a succession of spacecraft, including NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor (1997–2006) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2006-), and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express probe (2003-).
According to NASA, the higher-resolution images show that the face isn’t a face at all, but just a blurry mound — “a natural looking Martian hill whose illusory face-like appearance depends on the viewing angle and angle of illumination“. Below is a higher-resolution of the “face on Mars” taken by the Mars Express in 2006, accompanied by NASA’s sardonic and quite patronizing text:
“Wouldn’t it be fun if clouds were turtles? Wouldn’t it be fun if the laundry on the bedroom chair was a friendly monster? Wouldn’t it be fun if rock mesas on Mars were faces or interplanetary monuments? Clouds, though, are small water droplets, floating on air. Laundry is cotton, wool, or plastic, woven into garments. Famous Martian rock mesas known by names like the Face on Mars appear quite natural when seen more clearly, as the above recently-released digital-perspective image shows. Is reality boring?
Nobody knows how clouds make lightning. Nobody knows the geological history of Mars. Nobody knows why the laundry on the bedroom chair smells like root beer. Understanding reality brings more questions. Mystery and adventure are never far behind. Perhaps fun and discovery are just beginning.”
Higher-resolution image of “face on Mars” taken by Mars Express in 2006
Since it was originally first imaged, the “face” has been accepted by scientists as an optical illusion, an example of the psychological phenomenon of pareidolia — the human propensity to see discernible objects in random patterns and shapes.
The original Viking 1 images of Cydonia show not only “the face,” but also what appeared to be pyramids (see below).
Intriguingly, a recently discovered declassified CIA document chronicles just that — pyramids on Mars, and more.
The document “Mars Exploration” is dated May 22, 1984, and consists of the transcript of an interview conducted that day by a CIA monitor with a remote viewer (RV).
Note: In remote viewing, the remote reviewer is asked to give information about an unseen and distant object, event, person or location, which the remote reviewer purportedly can access by using extrasensory perception (ESP). In 1975, the U.S. government sponsored the $20 million Stargate Project research, in an attempt to determine any potential military application of psychic phenomena, including remote viewing. In 1995, the CIA hired the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to perform a retrospective evaluation of the results generated by the Stargate Project. The AIR determined that remote viewing experiments lacked proper controls and replicability, and there is no scientific evidence that remote viewing exists. The program was terminated that same year because it failed to produce any actionable intelligence information.
Immediately before the CIA interview, the remote viewer (RV) was given a sealed envelope containing a 3×5 card on which was written the following information:
- The planet Mars
- Time of interest approximately 1 million years B.C.
The envelope remained sealed throughout the interview and was not opened until AFTER the interview, which means that the remote viewer did not know the subject and time about which he was asked to “view” were, respectively, Mars and 1 million years B.C.
Throughout the interview, the CIA monitor would verbally give the RV various geographic coordinates and ask what the RV “saw” at those coordinates, using the information (Mars; 1 million years B.C.) contained in the sealed, unopened envelope. This was what the RV said he “saw”:
(1) At 40.89° north and 9.55° west (recall that the geographic coordinates of Viking 1’s “face on Mars” are 40.75º north and 9.46º west, i.e., Cydonia):
The RV saw an oblique view of a very high, yellowish pyramid “sitting in a large depressed area,” and of “severe clouds” or dust storms — the “after effect of a major geologic problem”. So the CIA monitor instructs the RV to go back to the time indicated in the sealed envelope (1 million years B.C.), before the “major geologic problem”. The RV reports that “the mountains of dirt” disappeared. Instead of the (later) dust storms, he saw smooth “large flat surfaces” — huge “megalithic” “walls” — and ” a shadow” of “very tall” and thin people. The RV explains that by “shadow” he meant the people were “only a shadow” — “It’s as if they were there and they’re not there anymore”.
The CIA monitor tells the RV to go back to a time when the people “are there”. The RV reports that he sees “very large, thin and tall” people “wearing strange clothes”. The monitor then tells the RV to stay in the same time period, but move to a different physical space at a new set of geographic coordinates.
(2) At 46.45º north and 353.22° east: The RV saw “deep inside” a cavern or canyon, a “steep wall” that seems “to go on forever”, and “very large structures” “like a rabbit warren” of “really huge” “rooms”, with a “very high” ceiling and very wide walls.
(3) At 45.86º north and 354.1º east: The RV saw “the end of a very large road” and a very large Washington Monument-like obelisk.
(4) At 35.26º north and 213.24º east: The RV finds himself in the middle of “a very, very, very large” circular basin, ringed by very tall and ragged mountains.
(5) At 34.6º north and 213.09º east: The RV saw “a cluster of squares up and down” which seem connected, and “something very white or reflects light”.
(6) At 34.57 north and 212.22 east: The RV saw “a radiating pattern” of strange “intersecting” aqueducts.
(7) At 80º south and 64º east: The RV saw “huge” “pyramids” designed to be “like shelters from storms”. Inside the pyramids are “chambers” with no furnishings — “strictly functional” places for sleeping or “hibernation” from “savage storms” by very tall, very large, thin people dressed in “a real light silk” that’s not flowing but “cut to fit”. The people are “ancient” and are “dying” — “past their time or age”. They are “very philosophic about it,” “looking for a way to survive”. But “they just can’t seem to find their way out” and are “hanging on,” waiting for the return of a group of them who had gone to find a new place to live. But the “environment” on Mars is corrupt and “failing very rapidly”. Asked about the cause of the failing environment, the RV says he sees “a globe that goes through a comet’s tail” or a cosmic “river”.
The CIA monitor then instructs the RV to ask the Martian person “if he knows who you are and is there any way you can help him in his present predicament”. The RV replies that the Martian doesn’t know who the RV is, thinks the RV is a hallucination, and says “they must just wait”.
The RV says the Martians who went to find a better place left in a large “boat” with “round” “shiny metal” walls. The CIA monitor tells the RV to go with them on their journey and find out where they went. The RV gets the impression of a “very volatile” “really crazy place with volcanoes and gas pockets and strange plants” — “like going from the frying pan into the fire”.
At that point, the CIA monitor tells the RV to listen to the sound of his voice into present time, and ends the interview.
Here’s a YouTube video about the CIA “Mars Exploration” document:
Meanwhile, netcitizens have combed through the many images of Mars taken by satellites and discovered strange objects that don’t look natural, including:
(a) Bright lights on Mars:
(b) Vehicle tracks:
(c) A reflective rectangular object on the face of a rock:
(d) A Stonehedge-like rock formation:
(e) An obelisk (note the long shadow cast by the shiny square):
(f) Massive walls:
(g) Martian fungi that corroded the metal wheels of NASA’s Curiosity Rover:
(h) Animal-like fossils: a rodent, a lizard, a trilobite, and a bunny rabbit that moves and then disappears!:
Here’s the video from which I took the above screenshots (except the light and the rodent):