Email about the Face on Mars
A few days ago I received the email shown above from a person in Italy. Note that I have slightly cropped the images to fit the space available here. I assume that this email was directed to me because of my previous writings that the so called “Face on Mars” is nothing more than a mesa. In the email I’m not sure if they’re referring to the Face on Mars as a miracle or if the writer is being sarcastic and referring to the subsequent images as miracles of deception. I think the latter based on the reference to the original Viking image as true and the subsequent images as less than true.
Nobody likes having their religion challenged and for those people who believe that the Face on Mars is an artifical structure built by some alien race, these are clearly hard times. Recent imaging by NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey missions, as well as ESA’s Mars Express (see this Astronomy Picture of the Day image), have clearly shown this feature to be nothing more than a naturally formed mesa in a region of Mars (Cydonia Mensae) in which mesas are common. Clearly, believers in the alien artifact religion are hard pressed.
That they are so hard pressed is further evident in how they choose to present relevant imagery. For example, take a look at the image below. The inset image is the original Mars Odyssey THEMIS image of the Face from the email. The main image is the original version from the Mars Odyssey web site found here. It’s clear that the version in the email has had its contrast enhanced and highlights boosted, obliterating detail present in the original image thus making the face look more artificial. Purveyors of this religion rely heavily on the ignorance of their audience.
Mars Odyssey Themis image of the Face on Mars with inset image from email.
Why do I call this belief a religion? Because people still cling to this belief in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Which reminds me of a parallel situation. Over 100 years ago the astronomer Percival Lowell offered a complex and coherent explanation for the linear features that he observed telescopically on the surface of Mars. He claimed that they were actually irrigation canals built by the Martians to irrigate the equatorial regions of their dying planet. Despite mounting evidence that the lines he saw were nothing more than optical illusions, and no additional supporting evidence, Lowell clung to his belief – though for Lowell it was not a religion.
One good thing came about as a result of the email I received. In response to this email, I have just published on my Mars Art Gallery web site an article I had written last year discussing the Face on Mars and the visual perception law known as the Law of PrÃ¤gnanz. If not for this email, this article would probably have never seen the light of day. The Law of PrÃ¤gnanz and the Face on Mars is an article that explains why we perceive the face on Mars as a face. So my thanks to the sender of the email as that provided me the motivation to dust off the article and go public with it.
Ad Astra, Jim