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cydonia

The Face on Mars: Q&A 2

As I noted here at Mysterious Universe in my previous article, back in 2004 I interviewed the late Mac Tonnies about his book on the “Face on Mars” controversy: After the Martian Apocalypse. It’s a pity that the interview never got published (the magazine in question shut down), as Mac had some fascinating things to say. And, with that noted, here’s the second part of my Q&A with Mac on Martian mysteries. I’m “NR” and Mac is “MT.”

NR: If these things are artificial, who built them? Martians? Someone visiting Mars? Ancient earth civilizations now forgotten or lost to history?

MT: It’s just possible that the complex in Cydonia (and potential edifices elsewhere on Mars) were constructed by indigenous Martians. Mars was once extremely Earth-like. We know it had liquid water. It’s perfectly conceivable that a civilization arose on Mars and managed to build structures within our ability to investigate.

MT: Or the anomalies might be evidence of interstellar visitation — perhaps the remains of a colony of some sort. But why a humanoid face? That’s the disquieting aspect of the whole inquiry; it suggests that the human race has something to do with Mars, that our history is woefully incomplete, that our understanding of biology and evolution might be in store for a violent upheaval.

MT: In retrospect, I regret not spending more time in the book addressing the possibility that the Face was built by a vanished terrestrial civilization that had achieved spaceflight. That was a tough notion to swallow, even as speculation, as it raises as many questions as it answers.

UFO-over-mars

NR: Is there any way to determine when they were built (if they were built)?

MT: We need to bring archaeological tools to bear on this enigma. When that is done, we can begin reconstructing Martian history. Until we visit in person, all we can do is take better pictures and continue to speculate.

NR: What are your theories as to how Mars — if it once was home to intelligent life — was transformed into a dead world?

MT: Astronomer Tom Van Flandern has proposed that Mars was once the moon of a tenth planet that literally exploded in the distant past. If so, then the explosion would have had severe effects on Mars, probably rendering it uninhabitable. That’s once rather apocalyptic scenario. Another is that Mars’ atmosphere was destroyed by the impact that produced the immense Hellas Basin.

MT: Both ideas are fairly heretical by current standards; mainstream planetary science is much more comfortable with Mars dying a slow, prolonged death. Pyrotechnic collisions simply aren’t intellectually fashionable — despite evidence that such things are much more commonplace than we’d prefer.

NR: What is the truth behind the questions about the amount of water that might be present on Mars?

MT: Simply: Mars has water. It’s been found underground, frozen. If we melted all of it we’d have an ankle-deep ocean enveloping the entire planet. I predict we will find more of it.

NR: What prompted you to write the book?

Anger. I was frankly fed up with bringing the subject of the Face on Mars up in online discussion and finding myself transformed into a straw man for self-professed experts. It was ludicrous. The book is a thought experiment, a mosaic of questions. We don’t have all of the answers, but the answers are within our reach.

NR: Is the research community open-minded or biased as to what the face may be? For example, are the believers open to the idea that they could be wrong and vice versa with NASA, etc.?

MT: Frustratingly, this has become very much an “us vs. them” issue, and I blame both sides. The debunkers have ignored solid research that would undermine their assessment, and believers are typically quite pompous that NASA et al are simply wrong or, worse, actively covering up.

NR: What do you hope the book will achieve?

MT: I hope After the Martian Apocalypse will loosen the conceptual restraints that have blinkered radio-based SETI by showing that the Face on Mars is more than collective delusion or wishful thinking. This is a perfectly valid scientific inquiry and demands to be treated as such.

NR: What surprised you most of all when doing the research?

MT: Our attitudes toward the form extraterrestrial intelligence will take are painfully narrow. This is exciting intellectual territory, and too many of us have allowed ourselves to be told what to expect by an academically palatable elite. I find this massively frustrating.

NR: Do you feel there is a conspiracy within Govt./NASA re the Face and the associated structures to either hide data, confuse the truth, or actively destroy pictures etc? If yes even remotely, why?

MT: When NASA/JPL released the first Mars Global Surveyor image of the Face in 1998, they chose to subject the image to a high-pass filter that made the Face look hopelessly vague. This was almost certainly done as a deliberate attempt to nullify public interest in a feature that the space agency is determined to ignore.

firgure4

MT: So yes, there is a cover-up of sorts. But it’s in plain view for anyone who cares to look into the matter objectively. I could speculate endlessly on the forms a more nefarious cover-up might take — and I come pretty close in the book — but the fact remains that the Surveyor continues to return high-resolution images.

MT: Speculation — and even some healthy paranoia — are useful tools. But we need to stay within the bounds of verifiable fact lest we become the very conspiracy-mongering caricatures painted by the mainstream media.

NR: What do you hope the book will achieve?

MT: I hope After the Martian Apocalypse will loosen the conceptual restraints that have blinkered radio-based SETI by showing that the Face on Mars is more than collective delusion or wishful thinking. This is a perfectly valid scientific inquiry and demands to be treated as such.

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  • mph23

    So…Who made this? And why does this vaguely pre-columbian person have ear buds on?!

  • NickRedfern

    without doubt – pareidolia

  • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

    I wish After the Martian Apocalypse was re-published, or maybe relaunched in e-book format.