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Structures On Mars



In 1996, I was attending college in San Diego, California. One day, someone tangentially mentioned to me that there were a “face” and “pyramids” on the surface of Mars. And that NASA had taken photographs of these objects.

Of course, I was very skeptical of this information and did not think much of it. It is common knowledge that the atmosphere of Mars is inhospitable to multicellular life forms—the only kind of life form that would be capable of constructing something artificial like this supposed “face” and these “pyramids.” Surely, if NASA had taken pictures of artificial structures on the surface of another planet, this would be the biggest discovery of our lifetime. Yet this was the first time I had heard of Cydonia, the region of Mars where the Face and Pyramids are located, and the NASA photographs had been taken in 1976—twenty years earlier. Since I had never seen this topic covered on MSNBC or CNN, I assumed it must be ludicrous.

When I looked at the photos of the Face and Pyramids on Mars, they seemed remarkably similar to something I had seen here on Earth—the Sphinx and the Pyramids in Egypt. I had just started to learn how to use the internet in 1996, so I began to curiously look into what NASA and other sub-contracted agencies of NASA were currently studying. It turned out that the cameras attached to the orbiters we send to Mars are controlled by a company also located in San Diego, California—Malin Space Science Systems.

I contacted Dr. Malin, the scientist in charge of these operations, to ask him about the Face and Pyramids on Mars and he was kind enough to respond to me directly. He stated, “There is no evidence that the face and pyramids are artificial structures. We simply attribute them to sand and natural weather erosion.” I found this answer really intriguing. Looking at the Cydonia region of Mars myself, it seemed incredibly clear that the Face, Pyramids, and even other surrounding objects must have been  formed in some “artificial” way. The idea that these structures had come about merely through natural movements of wind and sand seemed akin to supposing that the presidential faces carved into Mount Rushmore were created by chance. Or—to suggest an even more relevant parallel—that the Great Sphinx of Giza was not the product of deliberate labor, but had simply emerged due to erosion.

What is there to hide?

I began to look for answers outside of NASA. I wanted to see who else was aware of these photographs of the Cydonia region and if any proper science had been done to explore whether these could possibly be artificial structures. I was able to find 5 to 10 peer level review scientists with PhD’s in image analysis of satellite telemetry who were also studying these images. These were people who did not work for NASA, but had the same level of education and experience as NASA scientists.

One of these people is Dr. Mark Carlotto, an expert in satellite remote sensing and digital image processing. He had used mathematical algorithms to detect Russian military troops and artillery from satellite telemetry over Russia. Running these algorithms on Russian satellite telemetry showed that objects hidden by tarps or bushes still had a high probability of being artificial. Dr. Carlotto used these same mathematical algorithms on the satellite telemetry from the surface of Mars and found the Face and Pyramids to have over a 98% probability of being artificial.

Dr. Carlotto began his work with the Face by applying a computer-vision technique called “shape-from-shading,” which derived a 3-dimensional shape of the Face from the available Viking images. He then used computer graphics to create synthetic views of the Face from various perspectives and under differing lighting conditions. The results of these studies were positive, but when Carlotto submitted them in a paper to Icarus journal, they were rejected on the grounds that the Face itself was of “no scientific interest.” The paper was ultimately published in the journal of Applied Optics in 1998.

Nothing to see here…

It seems that mainstream science had dismissed the Face as being of any scientific relevance on the grounds that it was a purely accidental structure—that it was, in other words, naturally occurring and therefore of no possible interest. Carlotto began to develop objective methods to distinguish the face from other forms nearby. He wanted to show that it could potentially be artificial, rather than natural, in which case it would be of supreme interest. He began to concentrate on whether he could show the Face to be quantitatively different from the surrounding terrain.

Through a colleague, Carlotto learned about a recently developed algorithm, or computer routine, based on fractal mathematics. This algorithm was capable of identifying man-made objects—as distinct from naturally occurring objects—in aerial and satellite photographs. When applied to the Viking photos of the Face on Mars, the algorithm showed the Face to be the least fractal object—and therefore the least natural object—in the entire region. The algorithm also pointed to similar evidence of artificiality in the pyramidal objects near the Face. When Carlotto and his colleague Michael Stein submitted these results in their paper, “A Method for Searching for Artificial Objects on Planetary Surfaces,” to the scientific journal Nature, it was rejected on the basis—once again!—that it was of  “no scientific interest.” Fortunately, the paper was published in 1990 in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.

What amazes me is that NASA never applied any level of scientific scrutiny to these structures. They just quickly dismissed these objects as just a trick of light and shadow. However, we found that statement to be erroneous.


The first image NASA took of the Face on Mars was back in the 70’s from their Viking Orbiter. When the image was beamed back to NASA headquarters, they quickly labeled the shot “Head” and said that they re-imaged the same location several hours later and the face was gone. WRONG ANSWER NASA!

It turns out that NASA had taken several images of the “Head” from different orbital latitudes where the degree of the camera and the angle of the sun were different. And each time the face still is visible. It’s a 3-dimensional model carved in stone! Notice that the shadow on the face in the images below is different in each image, but it still looks like a face every time.

Skeptics suggest that we see the Face on Mars because we want to see it. Perhaps it does, to some degree, express our longing to know that we are not alone in the universe. Suppose, then, for the sake of argument, that the Face is just an optical illusion, some trick of the light as it plays across a naturally eroded Martian surface? Suppose we see these clear, symmetrical facial features because we are projecting our humanity out there into the galaxy from a desire to connect? If the Face is there purely by chance, what about all the other structures nearby? Structures that consistently express the same kind of high-level geometry?

Dr. Tobias Owen, who is now professor of astronomy at the University of Hawaii, identified the Face on Mars on Viking frame 35A72. The same frame, covering approximately 34 by 31 miles – also shows many other features that could be artificial. These cluster around latitude 40 degrees north in the region of Mars known to astronomers as Cydonia, and were photographed from an altitude of more than 1,000 miles with relatively poor resolution.


sun angle #1


sun angle #2

These images above were located in the 1980’s by researchers Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar, engineers at the Goddard Spaceflight Center. They did further studies on the large pyramidal object near the Face, which is approximately 500 meters high and nearly 3 kilometers in length. Now known as the D&M Pyramid after its discoverers, this structure expresses sophisticated geometry similar to other structures in the area. This has been confirmed by several other independent researchers.

Among the scientists who expounded upon the findings of DiPietro and Molenaar is Richard Hoagland, a former NASA consultant and archaeoastronomer who had originally accepted NASA’s dismissal of the Face without question. It the early 1980s, however, he began to take a closer look. Hoagland discovered the group of pyramid-shaped mounds to the southwest of the Face—now termed the City. He also discovered a surprising structure consisting of very straight walls and open area in the center. This structure is now known as the Fort, for its shape clearly suggests that purpose. Going beyond the landform analysis techniques that had already been applied, Hoagland mathematically examined the spatial relationships of the various features and their relations to one another. He commissioned an analogue clay model of the region which, when held up to the computer studies, rendered a high degree of correlation. Hoagland’s calculations clearly suggest the presence of a deliberate hand in the construction of these objects.

A closer look at cydonia

A casual glance at the image of the Cydonia region reveals only a jumble of hills, craters and escarpments. Gradually, however, as though a veil is being lifted, the blurred scene begins to feel organized and structured – too intelligent to be the result of random natural processes. Although the scale is grander, it looks the way some archaeological sites on Earth might look if photographed from 1,000 miles up. The more closely you examine it, the more it is apparent that it really could be an ensemble of enormous ruined monuments on the surface of Mars.

The same is also true for the D&M Pyramid, which I mentioned earlier. This five-sided structure stands about ten miles from the Face and, like the Great Pyramid of Egypt, is aligned virtually north south towards the spin axis of the planet. Its shortest side is a mile, its long axis extends to almost two miles and it is half a mile high. Commenting on the proximity of the Face and the D&M Pyramid, Richard Hoagland asks a pointed question: ‘What are the odds against two terrestrial-like monuments on such an alien planet and in essentially the same location?

Let’s take a moment here to look a bit deeper into the geometry of the D&M Pyramid. For the following mathematical research, I wish to acknowledge the collaboration of the above mentioned Richard Hoagland.


D&M Pyramid Geometry

The D&M Pyramid appears to be positioned with architectural alignment to other enigmatic objects nearby that have also been studied as possibly artificial. The main axis of the D&M, as illustrated below, points at the Face in Cydonia. Henceforth we will refer to this direction as the “front” of the pyramid.


The front of the D&M Pyramid has three edges, spaced 60 degrees apart. As noted above, the center axis points to the Face. The edge on the left of this axis points toward the center of a feature that has been nicknamed the “City” by the Cydonia investigators. The edge on the right of the center axis points toward the apex of a dome-like structure known as the “Tholus.” The five-sidedness, bilateral symmetry, and primary alignments were first observed by Richard Hoagland after studying quality digital enlargements prepared in 1984 by SRI International from negatives of images processed by DiPietro and Molenaar.

Turning back to the reconstructed geometry, we will now consider the internal symmetries of this object. The D&M Pyramid displays a complex interplay between five-fold and six-fold symmetry. Both symmetries are present simultaneously, with the front of the pyramid exhibiting six-fold symmetry, and the “ground level” of the pyramid yielding a 36 degree angle that is characteristic of five-fold symmetry.

It is important to note that the practice of combining symmetries was widely practiced by the architects of antiquity. It was believed that geometry and certain mathematical relationships were crucial building blocks of the Cosmos, and that architecture should reflect these symmetries. These practices were later revived in the Islamic world and especially in Renaissance Europe. The angles formed by the D&M Pyramid when viewed from above differ from each other. Consequently, they can form various ratios. These angle ratios were studied to see if the values were significant, or merely random. The angle ratios display significant values, with a preponderance of square roots and fractions involving square roots. Once again, we have a theme used by Classical architects, who used the square roots of two, three, and five in laying out the proportions of their buildings. For clarity, three of these angle ratios are illustrated below:


The ratios of the shaded angles are equivalent to the indicated values. In the above  illustration, the ratio of the shaded angles is equivalent to the ratio of e (the base of the natural logarithms) and pi (the relationship between a circle’s diameter and its circumference).

It should be noted that this ratio of e/pi is so nearly equal to the square root of three divided by two that it is insufficient to distinguish between these two possible values. Below is a table of the measured angles, and the results of the analysis. As you can see, the square roots of three and five, and the values of e and pi predominate. The identity of these values is strengthened by the numerous combinations in which they occur. Note that the radian measure and trigonometric functions of some angles yield the same values produced by the angle ratios. The geometry clearly has a common contextual thread.   

It is important to remember that all of this geometry is “dimensionless.” That is, this geometry is not dependent on such cultural conventions as counting by tens, or measuring angles in the 360 system. Effectively, this geometry will “work” in any number system.

What can we conclude from this? The D&M Pyramid demonstrates a process of formation that is inconsistent with the surrounding geology. The natural geo-morphological processes observed on Mars fail to provide a potential mechanism for the D&M Pyramid’s formation. More than that, they actually seem to preclude its very existence. Analysis of the Pyramid’s  geometry, and its alignment with other anomalous landforms, reveal intricate relationships that are numerous and logical, and are suggestive of highly sophisticated design. They clearly do not suggest random geological accident of formation.

This object has been compared with the elaborate symbolic architecture of antiquity. While much of the geometry is the same utilized by Classical architects, it is important to note that the implementation is totally different. Nowhere in Earth history is this exact type of geometric symbolism to be found. The same techniques used for most of this century in air photo interpretation show that the D&M Pyramid may be artificial, or may be a natural landform modified by intelligence. Either way, the balance of evidence suggests the presence of an intelligent, deliberate hand over the possibility of sheer chance.

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