Cydonia: A Face on Mars?

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The Face On Mars

Viking: 1976

Surveyor: 1999

From ABC Science News ( at:

April 6, 2000 — On Sunday, Mars Global Surveyor snapped photographs of the infamous "Face on Mars" formation. Well, shadows and a distant view can make things seem other than what they are.

What was perceived to be a Sphinx-like face, one mile long, rising out of the Martian landscape is nothing more than one more geological formation.  Alas, there go the possibilities. The first one—the most intriguing—hinted at the possibility of intelligent beings out there.  The reality, as it turned out, was less momentous: the photos confirm the face is a mere trick of light and shadow falling on an unexceptional Martian hill.

No Aliens—This Time

In two grainy pictures that the Viking orbiter took of the Cydonia region, there is a remarkable feature that looks like a human face. Some examining the Cydonia images also believe they spot pyramids and geometrically placed mounds—alien ruins, in other words.  A few charge NASA is covering up proof of Martian cities and has been doctoring Mars photographs ever since.

See? No Tricks

NASA released the raw data for the new photographs as soon as it received it, which showed an image dark as a blackboard. The better image, above, offers much greater detail.

“What I want to make sure is that we tell everybody every step of the process and everybody knows what we’re doing,” says project manager Glenn Cunningham. “I want to be as open as we can about what’s going on.”  The pictures provided about 10 times the resolution of Viking.

Project scientist Arden Albee sounds almost weary talking about the face. “In my judgment and experience,” he says, “they are natural features.” Most Mars scientists, he says, “just simply have not felt that that was an appropriate activity to devote their energies.”

Why are we so willing to look for life's answer in the shadows of Mars, but not in the light of God?

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