o b s e r v a t o r y


. . . . . tiny points of light . . . . .
. . . many, yet to be wished upon . . .




David Bowie
 Space Oddity 

































 - Spacedog -
 - Spacedog -

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times over many years and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers.

 - t h h g t t g - The introduction begins like this:

"Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mindboggingly big it is. I mean you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. Listen ..." and so on.

(After a while the style settles down a bit and it begins to tell you things you really need to know, like the fact that the fabulously beautiful planet Bethselamin is now so worried about the cumulative erosion by ten billion visiting tourists a year that any net imbalance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete whilst on the planet is surgically removed from your bodyweight when you leave: so every time you go to the lavatory it is vitally important to get a receipt.)

To be fair though, when confronted by the sheer enormity of distances between the stars, better minds than the one responsible for the Guide's introduction have faltered. Some invite you to consider for a moment a peanut in Reading and a small walnut in Johannesburg, and other such dizzying concepts.

The simple truth is that interstellar distances will not fit into the human imagination.

Even light, which travels so fast that it takes most races thousands of years to realize that it travels at all, takes time to journey between the stars. It takes eight minutes from the star Sol to the place where the Earth used to be, and four years more to arrive at Sol's nearest stellar neighbour, Alpha Proxima.

For light to reach the other side of the Galaxy, for it to reach Damogran for instance, takes rather longer: five hundred thousand years.

The record for hitch hiking this distance is just under five years, but you don't get to see much on the way.
















 - z o d i a c -














Face on Mars FAQ
from: The Case for the Face A more scientific presentation, with graphics, can be found at: The McDaniel Report and The Face on Mars Homepage
Q
What exactly is this "Face on Mars" and who discovered it?
A
The "Face" is a land form that bears a striking resemblance to a human face. It is 2.5 kilometers long, 1 kilometer wide, and 400 meters high. It is located in an area of Mars' northern hemisphere called Cydonia Mensae (Cydonia Plain). It was discovered in 1976 by Viking project scientists in the 72nd photograph taken on the 35th orbit of Viking Orbiter A (Frame 35A72).
Q
Isn't it true that the human brain is "hard-wired" to see faces in random patterns?
A
If this were true, all of us would be forced to "see faces" constantly in random objects as we go about our daily business. Instead, we have the ability to generally distinguish vague, imaginary faces from real ones.
Q
Aren't those so-called "investigators" actually nothing but believers and zealots who are out to exploit the "Face" for their own profit?
A
Members of the Society for Planetary SETI Research (SPSR) are all academically or professionally qualified individuals, many of whom have written and published peer-reviewed papers on this and other scholarly subjects. Their focus of interest is in scientific research.
Q
Isn't it just plain crazy to imagine that there could be artifacts of an intelligent civilization on the planet Mars?
A
Many reputable scientists, including Dr. Carl Sagan and the scientists who authored the prestigious Brookings Institution Report on space policy for NASA in 1960 have proposed that such artifacts might be found on planets in the Solar System.
Q
If an intelligent race built an enormous "Face" out in the middle of a Martian wasteland, wouldn't there be traces of other intelligent activity?
A
There are many unusual features within a 20-mile radius of the "Face" that are under investigation.
Q
Do the investigators really believe that Martians built a "fortress?"
A
No. The commonly used names "Fortress," etc. were originally chosen merely for convenience by science writer Richard C. Hoagland.
Q
Isn't "image enhancement" just a way to fake photographs?
A
See the chapter on "Image Enhancement: What It Is and How It Works" in The Case For The Face: Scientists Examine the Evidence for Alien Artifacts on Mars (Adventures Unlimited, 1998)
Q
Statistics are used to test predictions about events whose outcomes are unknown before the fact, while the mounds analyzed statistically by Dr. Crater have been there for a long time. How can statistics be relevant here ?
A
The angular relationships discovered by Dr. Horace W. Crater were discovered as a result of predictions made on the basis of an initial analysis of four mounds. This is called "a priori" (before the fact) statistical result and is not "a posteriori" (claiming significance after the fact).
Q
Havent' some investigators chosen some mounds for certain geometric relations while ignoring others ?
A
All the 16 mounds in the area have been taken into account.
Q
On Earth one can see naturally occuring geometric regularities like hexagonal cracks in dried riverbeds, why not natural geometrical formations on Mars ?
A
Naturally appearing hexagonal patterns are on a different scale and are not nearly as precise as the patterns of mounds seen in Cydonia. If the mound pattern is natural, it is unlike any natural regularities with which we are familiar.
Q
Why is it surprising that fractal analysis has shown that the Face and a few of the other so-called anomalies in Cydoinia are different from the surrounding landforms when there is bound to be much variation in the texture of any given natural landscape?
A
The fractal technique does not measure mere differences in texture, but the degree of non-fractal response of an object. The more non-fractal the response, the more likely it is that the object is artificial.
Q
Couldn't erosion explain all the seemingly odd land forms found in Cydonia?
A
When an "explanation" is used to explain everything regardless of details, it is no longer an explanation.
Q
If there are artificial structures in Cydonia, then who built them?
A
Assuming the objects are artificial, speculations as to who built them would have to await ground investigation by archaeologists.
Q
What is NASA's official position regarding Cydonia and the acquisition of new images?
A
NASA's official position is that "most scientists" think the Face is an optical illusion. However, we are unaware of any serious scientific study by NASA or others that has either established the natural origin of the Cydonia anomalies or refuted the analyses performed by those who conclude that some of the objects may be artificial. Recently, SPSR representatives met with NASA's Director of Solar System Studies, Dr. Carl Pilcher, on Nov. 24, 1997, and he promised full and regular imaging of Cydonia to the best of Mars Global Surveyor's ability. Dan Goldin, NASA Administrator, also announced new data release policies on Jan. 8,1998 that should stop the initial sequestering of data by NASA contractors and provide the public with very rapid access to NASA acquired data.
Q
What kind of evidence would it take to convince the Cydonia investigators that they were wrong and that there was nothing there unexplainable in terms of natural forces?
A
The hypothesis of possible artificiality could be falsified by new data that produces results contrary to the present data. Failing this, ground investigation by a manned mission could confirm or invalidate the hypothesis of artificiality using standard archaeological methods.
Q
If the artificiality hypothesis is disproved, wouldn't that mean this has all been a waste of time?
A
The methodologies developed by these investigations have wide general applicability to possible future cases requiring the analysis of anomalous objects on the surface of planets.