In this video, we discuss the history of Mars and it’s potential structures. Many people over the years have speculated that intelligent life may exist on Mars, from astronomers in the 1800s sighting canals and growth plumes to researchers today such as Richard C. Hoagland, arguing that NASA is covering up large megastructures on mars, including the famous face at Cydonia.
Hello, my darlings and welcome back to another installment of Radio Wasteland’s, The History of, in about 10 min. Tonight we will be covering the history of structures on the surface of Mars. Let me warn you, we are going to cover a little of the History of Mars in our night sky before we get to the good, freaky stuff. Also, this one has a bit more info in it, so we’re going to have to move quickly if we expect to be done in about 10 minutes.
Probably the oldest reference we have to Mars comes from the ancient Sumerians during the Ubaid and Uruk periods somewhere between 6500 BCE and 3100 BCE. The Sumerians believed that Mars was their god of war and plague named Nergal. While the title sounds important, Nergal was considered to be a minor deity of little significance, which I found a little shocking because when I think of dead civilizations I think of war and plague. After that, In Mesopotamian texts, Mars is referred to as the “star of judgement” or “the fate of the dead”. With the Greeks and Romans associating it as the god of war, it seems Mars has been dealing with a bad reputation for thousands of years.
The existence of Mars as a wandering object in the night sky was recorded by the ancient Egyptian astronomers and, by 1534 BCE, at which time they were also familiar with the retrograde motion of the planet.
On a side note I had to look up the difference between BCE and BC. and apparently. There isn’t one. They both mean the same thing, “Before Common Era” but the term was changed from BC, which was often misunderstood to mean Before christ or before Christianity, to give it a more scientific distinction. I’m not sure why science and religion are still at odds in this day and age, but I’m sure there are some wackos out there that have their suspicions.
By the period of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the Babylonian astronomers were making regular records of the positions of the observable planets. The inner and outer planets, Mercury and Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, were identified by ancient Babylonian astronomers in the 2nd millennium BC. For Mars, they knew that the planet made 37 synodic periods, or 42 circuits of the zodiac, every 79 years.
Now I know, all of that is pretty “Science-y”, but it just goes to show you that if we turned off TV and YouTube for a little while we could figure out some impressive stuff. By the 19th century, the resolution of telescopes reached a level that made it possible for surface features of some of the planets to be identified.
A perihelic opposition of Mars occurred on September 5, 1877. During opposition, Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth. Perehelia is when Mars is at the point in its orbit where it is closest to the sun. These two in conjunction make the surface of mars more visible to telescopes. But, These two events rarely overlap, and a perihelic opposition occurs only once every 15 to 17 years.
In that year, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli used a 22 cm telescope in Milan to help produce the first detailed map of Mars. These maps notably contained features he called canali. These canali were supposedly long, straight lines on the surface of Mars, to which he gave names of famous rivers on Earth. His term, which means “channels” or “grooves” in Italian, was popularly mistranslated in English as “canals”.
Influenced by the observations, the orientalist Percival Lowell founded an observatory which had 30 and 45 cm telescopes. The wealthy American astronomer then performed his own observations of Mars in 1894 and saw the same type of lines that Schiaparelli saw. But Lowell went one step further than his Italian counterpart. Lowell concluded that if there were “canals” on Mars, they must have been constructed, which in turn meant there must be intelligent beings on the planet who built them.
He went on to publish several books on Mars and life on the planet, which had a great influence on the public. The canali were independently found by other astronomers, like Perrotin and Thollon, using one of the largest telescopes of that time. Although it seems to me that the leap to writing a scientific book about life on a planet that you can barely make out structures on is a big one, however, this world has no shortage of people confusing assumptions for facts.
It is not necessarily odd that the idea of Martian canals was so readily accepted by many. At this time in the late 19th century, astronomical observations were made without photography. Astronomers had to stare for hours through their telescopes, waiting for a moment of still air when the image was clear, and then draw a picture of what they had seen. They saw some lighter or darker albedo features, large areas on the surface of a planet which show a contrast in brightness or darkness with adjacent areas.
A prime example of an albedo feature Many at the time believed that they were seeing oceans and continents. They also believed that Mars had a relatively substantial atmosphere. They knew that the rotation period of Mars was almost the same as Earth’s, and they knew that Mars’ axial tilt was also almost the same as Earth’s, which meant it had seasons in the astronomical and meteorological sense.
They could also see Mars’ polar ice caps shrinking and growing with these changing seasons. It was only when they interpreted changes in surface features as being due to the seasonal growth of plants that life was hypothesized. By the late 1920s, however, it was known that Mars is very dry and has a very low atmospheric pressure.
In 1889, American astronomer Charles A. Young reported that Schiaparelli’s canal discovery of 1877 had been confirmed in 1881, though new canals had appeared where there had not been any before, prompting “very important and perplexing” questions as to their origin.
During a favorable opposition of Mars in 1892, W. H. Pickering observed numerous small circular black spots occurring at every intersection or starting-point of the “canals”. Many of these had been seen by Schiaparelli as larger dark patches, and were termed seas or lakes; but Pickering’s observatory was at Arequipa, Peru, about 2400 meters above the sea, and with such atmospheric conditions as were, in his opinion, equal to a doubling of telescopic aperture. They were soon detected by other observers.
As the polar snows melted the adjacent seas appeared to overflow and spread out as far as the tropics and were often seen to assume a distinctly green color. At this time it began to be doubted whether there were any seas at all on Mars. Under the best conditions, these supposed ‘seas’ were seen to lose all trace of uniformity, their appearance being that of a mountainous country, broken by ridges, rifts, and canyons, seen from a great elevation. These doubts soon became certainties, and it is now universally agreed that Mars possesses no permanent bodies of surface water.
Cydonia is a region on the planet Mars that has attracted both scientific and popular interest. The area includes the regions: “Cydonia Mensae”, an area of flat-topped mesa-like features, “Cydonia Colles”, a region of small hills or knobs, and “Cydonia Labyrinthus”, a complex of intersecting valleys. As with other albedo features on Mars, the name Cydonia was drawn from classical antiquity, in this case from Cydonia or Kydonia, a historic city-state on the island of Crete. Cydonia contains the “Face on Mars”, located about halfway between Arandas Crater and Bamberg Crater.
Cydonia lies in the planet’s northern hemisphere in a transitional zone between the heavily cratered regions to the south and relatively smooth plains to the north. Some planetologists believe that the northern plains may once have been ocean beds and that Cydonia may once have been a coastal zone.[
Cydonia was first imaged in detail by the Viking 1 and Viking 2 orbiters. Eighteen images of the Cydonia region were taken by the orbiters. Of the eighteen images, most were too low of a resolution to be valuable, of the seven good images, two were so similar that the initial Viking images left us with five quality images of the area.
In one of the images taken by Viking 1 on July 25, 1976, a two-kilometer-long Cydonian mesa had the appearance of a humanoid face. When the image was originally acquired, Viking chief scientist Gerry Soffen dismissed the “Face on Mars” as a “trick of light and shadow”. However, a second image, also shows the “face”, and was acquired 35 Viking orbits later at a different sun-angle.
More than 20 years after the Viking 1 images were taken, a succession of spacecraft visited Mars and made new observations of the Cydonia region. These spacecraft have included NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor (1997–2006) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2006–), and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express probe (2003–). By combining data from the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the Mars Express probe and the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) onboard NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor it has been possible to create a three-dimensional representation of the “Face on Mars”.
Since it was originally first imaged, the face has been accepted by scientists as an optical illusion
The Cydonia facial pareidolia inspired individuals and organizations interested in extraterrestrial intelligence and visitations to Earth, and the images were published in this context in 1977. Some commentators, most notably Richard C. Hoagland, believe the “Face on Mars” to be evidence of a long-lost Martian civilization along with other features they believe are present, such as apparent pyramids, which they argue are part of a ruined city.
For the most part, the argument now moves to Richard Charles Hoagland, an American author, and a proponent of various conspiracy theories about NASA, including lost alien civilizations on the Moon and on Mars.
In 1976, Hoagland, an avid Star Trek fan, initiated a letter-writing campaign that successfully persuaded President Gerald Ford to name the first Space Shuttle the Enterprise, replacing the previously slated name for the prototype vehicle, Constitution.
Hoagland authored the book The Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever (published in 1987), and co-authored the book Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA,
Hoagland runs The Enterprise Mission website, which he describes as “an independent NASA watchdog and research group, the Enterprise Mission, attempting to figure out how much of what NASA has found in the solar system over the past 50 years has actually been silently filed out of sight as classified material, and therefore totally unknown to the American people.”
Hoagland claims the source of a so-called NASA “coverup”, with relation to the “Face on Mars” and other related structures is the result of a report commissioned by NASA authored by the Brookings Institution, the so-called Brookings Report. The 1960 report, entitled “Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs”, is claimed by Hoagland, on page 216 of the report, to instruct NASA to deliberately withhold from the public any evidence it may find of extraterrestrial activity, specifically, on the moon, Mars or Venus.
Hoagland claims the “Face on Mars” is part of a city built on Cydonia Planitia consisting of very large pyramids and mounds arranged in a geometric pattern.
Most of Hoagland’s evidence comes from pouring over NASA images of the Martian surface and pointing out anomalies, some of which can be very intriguing. But, to be fair, while I may be skeptical of it all, I am a huge fan of Hoagland and have subjected myself to hours upon hours of his interview.
Hoagland’s theory has gone beyond mars to include possible structures on other bodies and planets such as the moon and even pluto.
So what do you think? Are there ancient structures on Mars? Personally, I have always thought that it was easily possible that a civilization may have risen on Venus, but good luck getting down there to check it out seeing how the Russians sent several landers there that were only able to send back information for a short time due to the heat and extreme pressure of the atmosphere.
The Brookings Report seems to say that the world would go to hell in a handbasket if we ever had proof of alien life, but in my opinion, I would find it quite comforting to know that life is abundant and that we are not alone clinging to a pale blue dot in a universe that doesn’t care if we live or die.