Take a look at the photo above.

I have gone back and forth many times on the subject of artifacts on Mars.  In my teen years, I first saw a photo of the supposed “face” as taken by one of the Viking missions.  I believed that there had indeed been a civilization on Mars at one point but that race went extinct when all water evacuated to the poles.  Not only did planetary geology prove that notion wrong but also new photography. In the 1990s, photos from orbital probes demonstrated that the “face” really wasn’t much of a face at all.  Chalk it all up to the human tendency to see faces or objects in things or discerning them from background “noise,” an ability that has helped our species to survive.  In light of that new evidence…or lack thereof…I’ve been pretty much a downer on the idea of “Martian artifacts” ever since.

Then I came across the writings of smart guys who do still believe in such things.  I speak primarily of the late, great Mac Tonnies, author of After the Martian Apocalypse.  The pic displayed above is from Mac’s blog.  When I first saw it, I had to look at the picture for a goodly amount of time.  I have never before seen a photo like that from the surface of Mars.  Not only does it show a hint of the “face,” but note the pyramid structures with the sheer sides that suggest no natural process was involved in their creation.  There is also the matter of what I first thought was a crater but upon inspection seems too perfectly circular in composition to be a natural formation.  Additionally, there appears to be a network of…roads, for lack of a better term…connecting the various structures.  Then there’s circle toward the left of the frame.  What the heck is that?
My first thought was that this image is the result of Photoshop or another such graphics program.  I don’t me to say that I think it’s a fake, I simply mean that when you play with contrasts or gains, you can lose a bit of fidelity to the original image.  Since the photo is copyrighted, I decided to search the name of its owner, Mark Carlotto.

Mr. Carlotto is an imaging specialist who has been involved in researching the “face” anomaly since the 1980s.  He has written two books (at least that’s how many are listed on his website) on the subject of Martian artifacts.  One of the texts, The Martian Enigmas, is described as being based on data from the 1976 Viking missions, so I’m not sure I’d call that fresh.  Again, that is only going by the description.  The Cydonia Controversy on the other hand, appears a little timelier or at least as timely as a 2002 publication can be at this point.  He seems to be asking important questions and I intend to look into his work.  

The idea of a failed civilization on Mars need not be the only hypothesis for these strange structures, in addition to trick of light and perception, that is.  Aliens from another planet could have landed there and left these monuments behind for reasons known only to them at this point.  Or maybe the rock structures really are from Martians, victims to an "ecological 9/11" as Tonnies describes.  One thing is for certain, I intend to give the notion of a fallen civilization on Mars another think-through.  In the meantime, let's get a manned expedition there sooner rather than later.