Date: 08-20-88 09:19 To: All Subj: Mars, again EID:b4f4 11144a6b (Sorry to all sick of the
Date: 08-20-88 09:19
From: Jerry Lewis
Subj: Mars, again
(Sorry to all sick of the Mars face. I'm sick of the B-2 discussion.)
Now that I've had a chance to take a close look at Mark Carlotto's article
("Digital Imagery Analysis of Unusual Martian Surface Features," Applied
Optics, Vol. 27, No. 10, 15 May 1988, pp. 1926-1933), I'd like to comment on
In spite of his title, Carlotto makes the elementary mistake of assuming
what he is supposed to prove. Instead of discussing the "object, the
"anomaly," or whatever, he begins by talking about "the face." Later, he
identifies "teeth" in the "face."
There are not enough data for a conclusion as sweeping as the author makes
in this paper. It's a case of making meaning out of background noise. As
Martin Gardner notes, "If you search any kind of chaotic data, it is easy to
find combinations that seem remarkable."
There are only 4 images of the object from the Viking photos, and 2 of
those do not have sufficient resolution to be useful. Of the 2
high-resolution pictures, 35A72 and 70A13 are both in afternoon light with a
sun zenith angle difference of only 17 degrees. It's unfortunate that we
don't have hi-res photos of the area taken at other times of day. They would
undoubtedly settle this once and for all.
Figure 3 on p. 1928, a local contrast enhancement of the object by Carlotto
(from 70A13) is an interesting picture. Turn it upside down so that your mind
doesn't see a "face" so easily. Now you can see that the object looks more
like an unusual - but probably natural - geological formation. The tendency
for humans (even humans with Ph.D.'s) to find patterns where there are no
patterns is certainly powerful, particularly where faces are concerned.
Date: 08-20-88 09:20
From: Jerry Lewis
Subj: Part 2
The author concludes that "the close proximity of unusual objects...to the
face increases the likelihood that this collection of objects is not
natural." I don't see anything terribly unusual in anything southwest of the
object at all. All I see are natural wind-sculpted formations. Typical
Even if one of the objects does turn out to be a pyramid, it proves
nothing. It looks much cruder than the many pyramids found in natural rock
formations in Arizona.
Finally, I was extremely surprised that Carlotto cites "The Face on Mars"
(Pozos) and "The Monuments of Mars" (Hoagland). Scientific papers don't
normally cite flim-flam. It's like finding a reference to a Shirley MacLaine
book in a scholarly paper on geology.
I find it significant that Carlotto cites none of the experts who actually
work with the Viking photos. Pietro and Molenaar, who Carlotto does cite,
have no expertise in Martian geology or in photo-interpretatio (according to
Conway Snyder who was a key figure in the Viking project at JPL).
I'd like to see the referees' report on this paper. Perhaps they were so
facinated by the computer enhancement techniques (which are state of the art)
that they ignored the ridiculousness of what was being enhanced. So far, in
the latest issues of Applied Optics I could find, there have been no
I wish Dr. Carlotto would now use his image enhancement techniques on my
two other favorite Martian formations: the 5-mile wide Happy Face and the
Kermit the Frog formation.
* Origin: Verbose Ink * WOC'n with Words * Big D * (Opus 1:124/125)
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