Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rats! Rocky Rodent Joins Long List of Mars Deceptions

Last week, a picture showing a Martian rock that looked like a rat went viral in both alternative and then mainstream media. The question posed by some: are rodents running around the Red Planet? Ell, to anyone with an ounce of common sense, the answer is a resounding “no!” but, thanks to many people lacking common sense, the debate will continue in fringe circles about something that should be confined to the pages of Mars deceptions, hich have been capturing the public's imagination since the 19th century.

Giovanni Schiparelli
It was in 1888 during a close approach of Mars that Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiparelli thought that he saw channels, or “canali” in Italian, on Mars. In translation, canali was misinterpreted as 'canals,' thus implying some sort of artificial intelligence. Result: Mars fever swept the world, infecting an American aristocrat, Percival Lowell, who would go on to build one of the largest observatories in the world and spend untold hours at his telescope (then one of the world's largest) studying the canals on Mars, which turned out to be a mere optical illusion.

In 1924, professor David Todd actually convinced the military to listen for radio signals from Mars for a period of 3 days. Unfortunately, the professor was unable to silence private radio, whose continued operation doomed the already futile task to failure.

The Face on Mars in the 1970s. See below link to see what the 'face' really looks like.

In the 1970s with the Viking Program, NASA cameras captured an image that led many UFO/alien enthusiasts to believe that an advanced civilization once flourished on the planet Mars: a giant "face" sculpted out of the planet's surface. At this time, the era of Watergate and Vietnam, trust in government was at a very low point. So, when NASA scientists stated that the "face" was merely an illusion caused by the angle of light shining on a natural formation, many people refused to buy it, especially considering the "pyramids" situated around the face in a region called Cydonia.

Almost from the day the image of the Face hit the news, writers, led by Richard C. Hoagland, used it as the basis for speculative works on a lost Martian civilization. In the meantime, scientific caution was drowned out in an uproar of wild, unverifiable claims. Unfortunately, after Viking, NASA's Mars exploration programs went on a nearly two decade hiatus until the mid 1990s. However, upon a new generation of robotic explorers, the 'face' was shown to be what it truly was: a hill.

 Gandhi on Mars!

 The Martian Monolith.

'Trees' on Mars

Unfortunately, not even high technology is infallible.

In the past few years, the web, especially conspiracy theorists, were abuzz over several Martian anomalies, including trees, Gandhi, and a monolith. However, the granddaddy of these recent Mars 'findings' was the so-called 'Bio Station Alpha,'a strange looking white feature seen on Google Mars. While most people took one look at the anomaly and thought nothing more of it, a few latched onto the idea put forth by one man, David Martines, that this thing was, by virtue of its being there, a secret base. In the end, Bio Station Alpha turned out to be nothing more than an digital artifact from a cosmic ray hitting the camera. This idea of a camera goof was originally put forth just after the buzz started but only after seeing the proof were many satisfied.

Conclusion: there are/never were any rats on Mars for the simple reason that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that any rodent delivered to Mars would die within seconds. Nor were there canals, faces, pyramids, trees, more faces, and secret bases, either.

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