Sauder's Top Ten
Favorite Mars Photos
"Curious Martian Anomalies: Part VIII"
(© Copyright 2000. All Rights Reserved. May be freely disseminated
on the internet on the condition that the complete text and links be faithfully
reproduced in their entirety, without any alteration whatsoever.)
By Richard Sauder, PhD
Here they are, by popular demand: my ten favorite Mars photos so far, from the 27,000+ that MSSS have put out on the internet. I will include a little bit of commentary along the way. Keep in mind that my musings are not meant to be definitive statements about what is on Mars, but if I should happen to get something right, or very nearly right, along the way, then, hey!, so be it. I offer the links to the photos and my comments primarily to foster creative thought and discussion about Mars.
What can I say, here we have all of these photos and NASA/JPL/MSSS are saying next to nothing about the very interesting features that appear in many of them. Judging from what is in the photos, Mars is a remarkably fascinating place!
Here, then, are my "Top Ten Favorites" (so far):

Detail #1
Detail #2

Get high resolution original from link below
This photo was found by an alert "" reader. And it's a good one. There are many channels, canyons, basins, craters and rills, filled with a multitude of parallel lines of ripples/dunes/ridges/dams/baffles. You know, those "whatchamacallits" that some others have referred to as "glass tubes" or "pipe" networks. Here you can see that, whatever they may eventually prove to be, they almost certainly are not "glass tubes" or "pipe" networks. In the aggregate, they cover a huge area, and fill an extensive regional network of channels, that itself has a somewhat regular, or "worked" feel to it. They also occur in some, though not all, of the craters in the photo. The impression I got looking at the whole complex is one of artificiality. Now these things may certainly be a natural feature, but the feel I get from gazing down at the terrain is that the whole area might well have been "worked". But if it has been "worked", then by whom? Or by what? And when? And for what reason?
Are we perhaps seeing some kind of strip mining operation? Are these things tailings piles? Or are we perhaps looking at an agricultural operation? Is this a photo of the Martian Farm Belt? Are these fields of crops? (Or the Martian equivalent of what we would call "crops"?)
Are we perhaps seeing some sort of water control system of dams or baffles built for the rare occasions when there is liquid water on Mars? Are these features very old, or comparatively new, maybe even in use today?
Or are they some sort of life form that prefers to arrange itself into neat, parallel ridges/dunes/heaps in the bottoms of dry stream beds, channels and rills, and the occasional crater bottom?
Or are we really looking at a natural, albeit strange (at least to our eyes) feature of Martian topography?
I don't know. In my mind the question is still unresolved. We need more evidence, analysis and discussion. (I will even go so far as to say that I, here and now, personally volunteer to go to Mars to inspect these many mysterious features if my completely safe, and timely, passage to, on and from the Red Planet can be assured, along with "total recall" of all that transpires before, during and after the trip!)
One of the most interesting features in this photo full of interesting features, occurs about 25% of the way down. There is a crater whose bottom is covered by the "dunes". But on the left side of the crater, reaching out from the rim onto the crater floor like the three prongs of a trident, are three white projections. What are they? They certainly appear to be constructed, i.e., artificial and not a natural part of the terrain. Are they roads? Ramps? Tubes? Tunnels? Something else? Notice that they originate right up against the crater wall. Is there something underground there -- are the white projections a means of access to the Martian subsurface for someone or something?
And finally think about this photo that I included in "Curious Martian Anomalies: Part I."
Notice the artificial feel of the network of rills that I initially referred to as a network of "veins". It simultaneously has the feeling of being engineered, versus being a completely natural network of rills, and also of being alive. I wonder, if we could see the network of "veins" close up, if their bottoms would be covered with the orderly marching rows of "dunes" we have seen in so many canyon and channel bottoms by now? I suspect that that might indeed be the case, because the context image for which the first image above was taken looks like this:
Notice the similarity in the two images. We appear to be looking at the same type, or class of feature in both photos. I am fully prepared to admit of the possibility of life on Mars. And should there be life on Mars, whatever else we might say about it, it will, besides being alive, be different, be "alien", if you will, if only because Mars is a different, hence, "alien" world. In my opinion, it is possible we are seeing life, or the activities of one or more life forms in these photographs.


Click on picture to load large scale image
Get high resolution original from link below
What is it? It almost looks alive, doesn't it? Can a land form be alive? Has the terrain here been engineered by someone or something? Or is it just beautiful Martian geology? You decide.


Click on picture to load large scale image
Get high resolution original from link below
This is a big file, but it is a wonderful close-up of a crater "splotch". The four leading candidates for the dark spots so far seem to be: a) rocks protruding from under snow and ice; 2) rocks protruding through sand and dirt; 3) depositions of dark-hued, wind blown sediments; and 4) clumps of Martian life. Take your pick of the possibilities or advance an idea or theory of your own. My personal bias is in favor of the Martian life possibility.


Click on picture to load large scale image
Get high resolution original from link below
For many years now there has been a rumor making the rounds in the far fringes of UFOlogy of clandestine, or covert military operations on Mars. I first heard these rumors more than 10 years ago and dismissed them as fanciful tales, devoid of substance. And then I ran across this photo, with its intriguing caption referencing a "Radar Stealth Region" on Mars. The Pentagon employs "stealth radar" technology on its most advanced warplanes. Is there something going on on Mars that we are not being told about? Or is there a simpler explanation for the phrase, "Stealth Radar Region", in the Martian context?

While on the topic of possible "black" operations, or clandestine military activity on Mars, here's a real "black" image, or as the caption says, "BAD IMAGE (BLACK). " There are more than a few of these "bad" or black" or extremely degraded images in this MSSS Mars photo collection. MSSS say they have posted 27,000+ photos to the web, but I have found a good number of them like this one, i.e., (non)photos. Nothing at all but a URL, a web address with no substance behind it, a mere digital shadow without a name or form.

"NA Dark Current Image". What's on Mars? You will never find out from a (non)photo like this. "Black ops", or just routine NASA/JPL/MSSS (non)photography? You decide.


Click on picture to load large scale image
Get high resolution original from link below
"Plains North of Deuteronilus". This shot cuts across an area immediately adjacent to an ancient river bed. To my eye there are a number of straight, parallel lines in the landscape where this image was made (I am not referring to the many, vertical scan lines) that hint at the possible, heavily eroded outlines of massive quays and wharves. It seems to me that when the river was full of water that such a location might have been a fitting site for a port. There were rivers with flowing water on Mars in the past. We know that. We can see them all over the planet. Were there also ships plying those Martian waters of long ago? I wonder


Click on picture to load large scale image
Get high resolution original from link below
You read it here first. When I posted this image I observed that it looks like there are "seeps" or water "springs" coming out of the cliffs here. Just four days later NASA and MSSS held a surprise news conference to announce that they saw evidence in more than 150 photographs that indicated possible water springs flowing from the sides of many canyons and crater rims. I am chalking this one up as a "hit".


Detail Image #1
Detail Image #2
#2 with Contrast Adjustment

Get high resolution original from link below
Another one with terrible contrast. Overlook that for the moment, and focus on the honeycomb pattern of polygons at the top. This pattern is clearly not an artifact of the digital imaging. But what is it? This is the only photo that I have seen in which such a feature appears. The more I look at the Martian landscape the more I wonder if it is alive! Yes! What if the landscape itself is alive and self-aware and growing and changing?
If the contrast were not so terrible I believe that more "Dalmatian spots" would be visible in the light areas farther down the image, as well. And then there are more ripples/ridges/dunes/baffles -- whatever those things are. Altogether an extremely interesting photo, that is hard to view because the contrast is so very poor. Why is it that?


Detail #1
Detail #2

Get high resolution original from link below
This photo was also discovered by an alert "Sightings" aficianado. Look at the interesting "city"-like structures near the top, which contain many rectilinear lines. Notice, too, the many craters that contain straight lines just inside their rims, and other noticeable geometric regularity in and around their near vicinity. These features can be most clearly seen in the craters in the bottom 50% of the image, and especially in the concentration of craters in the bottom 10% of the image. To my eye, these craters look worked.
It certainly looks to me as if somebody, or something, is on Mars right now, and very active.
That's it folks! "Sauder's Top Ten Mars Photos"!

This Site Served by TheHostPros