Planetary SETI
Thu, 15 Jul 1999 00:06:04 EDT

As you know, the Mars Global Surveyor is circling Mars in its mapping capacity. In April of '98 it returned a series of three pictures of the Cydonia region, site of the alleged "Face." On July 8 this year it returned another hi-resolution shot taken of the "City" area in Cydonia, and so far as I can tell it's equipped and ready to take even more shots of some of the more interesting formations within the next few months--or even days.

The processed images of the Face have produced a wealth of evidence consistent with artificiality, though the controversy is far from over. Members of SPSR (Scientists for the Study of Planetary SETI Research) are asking for high-resolution views of a specific, architectural-looking feature known as the "Fort," which, because of its morphology, should do much to illuminate whether or not we're dealing with artificial structures. The July 8 photo was very close, taking a close-up of the "Main Pyramid" formation instead (next to which is a crater with probable water ice).

I think we'd be well-served if Malin Space Science Systems (NASA/JPL's space camera contracter) got some encouraging email from interested groups who _aren't_ bogged down in conspiracy theory. This is not "The X-Files," but a very touchy and completely falsifiable hypothesis which needs further exploration.

I recommend the websites of Dr. Mark Carlotto
( and Dr. Stanley McDaniel
( for background information.

Malin Space Science Systems can be reached online at