The Enterprise Mission




Captain's Update

Late last night, apparently in direct response to our  previous Update, we received a gracious email from Dr. Philip Christensen, the Principal Investigator for the Mars Odyssey 2001 THEMIS instrument. In it, Dr. Christensen firmly put to rest any lingering doubts about the either the quality or integrity of the THEMIS daytime infrared images we are working with. You may recall that there had been some questions raised on this important subject by a poster in the Enterprise Conference.

To quote Christensen specifically:

The data were calibrated [using] our standard processes and in the same way that is done for the THEMIS science team (emphasis added).

So much for just "pretty pictures." 

Obviously, that settles that. If it is good enough for the THEMIS science team it is good enough for us. Christensen went on to say he was "looking forward" to our release next Thursday night, August 29th, 2002.

We wish it known that we are acutely aware of the distinct difference, in both tone and substance, that we have encountered in our dealings with Dr. Christensen for months, especially when it is contrasted with our previous 25 years of frequently acrimonious relations with other NASA officials and divisions.

This is not lost on us, and it should not be lost on the Enterprise "Crew" at this critical new juncture in both our respective "Odysseys" ....

We will continue working through the weekend to prepare the Cydonia data we will present next Thursday to you and to the Nation. We will keep you appraised of any new developments that  warrant our public comment, should any new surprises arise.

Mr. Burns -- stand down from General Quarters.

Steady as she goes.

Captain out.

Update 8/20/02

First Officer's Update -

The Captain asked me to drop by and give you all a quick update. Richard is working feverishly to complete our report by our self-imposed deadline of Thursday evening, August 22nd. At that time, we should be ready to post his article explaining the details of what we have discovered. Earlier in the day on the 22nd, we plan to begin releasing images to the general public.

Until that time, none of us are at liberty to discuss our findings. Rest assured that you will not be disappointed by what you see. Richard will be on Coast to Coast AM on Thursday night/Friday morning to discuss the new findings.

We are getting indications of some considerable anxiety from inside NASA in anticipation of the publication of our results. This is to be expected, as is an attempt by those that argued against giving us this data to discredit our work. We expect this to take the form of rabid personal attacks, very much in the vein of what we saw a few years ago. We urge everyone to remain calm in the Face of these attacks, because the nature of what we have discovered is so overwhelming that the regressives will have no way to impugn our data itself, although they will undoubtedly try. It will be important to understand that certain of our critics will resort to any form of distraction to keep this data from seeing broad, general distribution. It is up to all of us to ensure this does not occur.

So until Thursday...

Steady as she goes ...

Update 8/15/02

Again, we apologize for the long period of apparent inactivity and silence "from the Bridge."  In truth, we have been working feverishly -- literally around the world, and often around the clock -- to create a coherent scientific Report on the latest Odyssey daytime Cydonia IR release.  We hope, when published, this document will not only, finally, answer many of the decades-long questions that have swirled around this crucial Martian region -- but will in fact move the level of serious scientific and political discussion re "Cydonia" to an entirely new level.

Because these are major stakes and issues, it is crucial that we -- and our colleagues technically participating in this process -- carefully and fully document what we are finding, as well as HOW we're finding it ... through meticulous recording of all imaging procedures we are following to achieve our soon-to-be-announced results.  This is a painstaking, tedious and time consuming undertaking, but it is necessary to ensure that other workers -- INDEPENDENTLY -- will be able to replicate and confirm our latest remarkable discoveries once they are public.

We therefore ask your continued patience as we continue to move through this very complicated but essential process.  Hopefully, by the end of next week, we will have this truly astonishing new data in a shape fit for everyone to then discuss.

A word of acknowledgement.

Once again, we would not even be in this remarkable position, were it not for the tireless efforts of the Enterprise "crew members" here (and millions more across the country), who a few weeks ago demanded their political rights to THEIR Odyssey Mars data ... and once again were heard. 

With it's subsequent arrival, we have had the distinct pleasure over the past several weeks of working on it with a special group of other "anomalists," both here and abroad -- technically-inclined members of the Enterprise "crew" who are actively contributing to the fundamental process of "IR image processing," and whose efforts have made possible the fundamental new scientific discoveries we'll be announcing shortly.  We've also had significant industry support in this endeavor, "top of the line, state-of-the-art" image processing software has been furnished for this unique analysis, without which our imminent Report would have literally been impossible in this brief period of time. 

We'll say more on those key industry associations and the individuals responsible when our Report is published.

We also cannot neglect to mention the major contribution to this effort by our new friends from ASU.  Their long hours of patient "tutorials" at Enterprise in "multi-spectral imaging," the fielding of endless questions from "the crew" regarding all kinds of arcane aspects of the Odyssey Mission, and their prompt presentation of key papers and web links from "the IR literature," have all contributed towards the truly historic dialogue that has ensued here at Enterprise for the past few weeks.  We, like most of you, sincerely wish this new level of serious communications to continue -- as we are about to enter a truly unprecedented new phase of the "Cydonia conversation" ... due to Odyssey ... after "only" 20 years.

In that vein, recently, the question has been raised as to when the "next" nighttime IR image of Cydonia should be acquired.  None other than "BAMF," aka Noel Gorelick, has asked for input on this most intriguing issue.  He has outlined a scenario asking if a "new" nighttime image should be taken "at the next opportunity," or if the Odyssey team should wait a few months for "an optimal [thermal] imaging environment."

Our response to this is two-fold.

The first step should be to release the nighttime IR THEMIS images that have ALREADY been taken of Cydonia and the surrounding region.  We have been repeatedly assured -- as recently as 24 hours ago -- by "Deep Space," that these key images DO in fact EXIST (the nighttime surface temperatures in the northern hemisphere, since the commencement of the formal science mission in late February, 2002, notwithstanding!).

Further, consistent with "Deep Space's" comments on this imagery and strong recommendations as to what it now reveals, our stance continues to be that ALL Mars nighttime infrared images should be released WITHOUT DELAY.

Besides Cydonia, there are numerous other targets, including the rest of the "seven cities of Mars" ("greater" Cydonia, Mars Pathfinder, Hydraotes Chaos, "Inca City," Alba Patera, West Argyre region, and Elysium) that we are anxious to see in both the daytime and nighttime IR.  Beyond that, there are my "Tunnels," Arthur Clarke's "bushes,"  and unique objects of special interest -- like my "Martian UFO" in Valles Marineris -- that would all reveal fundamental new levels of information, based on our recent IR Cydonia experience ....

Which we can't properly evaluate -- until we get to SEE them!  So, we must see it ALL ... and promptly.

Remember: according to Odyssey's own published mission rules, the formal, legal "release date" of the first data from Odyssey to the NASA public "PDS" ("Bamf's" software problems notwithstanding) is August 18, 2002 -- NOT "October" ....

Secondly, given the checkered history of past Mars missions, it would be foolish to assume that Odyssey is going to "be there" in a few more months.  You never miss an opportunity to acquire important data on a space mission AT THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY (for obvious reasons!), and this data (based on what we've now seen in the daytime Cydonia IR) is among the most important data that ANY spacecraft has ever obtained in the entire history of planetary exploration. 

So our position is that, regardless of our source's testimony,  the "first" nighttime IR images of Cydonia should be obtained at the EARLIEST possible next opportunity.  And, there is nothing technically stopping the Odyssey team from acquiring ANOTHER image a few months down the road ... at the "optimum" ground temperatures ... if the spacecraft is still humming along.

Once again, these are non-trivial issues.  At stake is nothing less than confirmation of a once technically advanced civilization -- now in ruins -- accessible to our own level of technology.  We have succeeded in (ultimately!) getting the needed data to test this major scientific breakthrough through understanding of the scientific problems ... the law under which NASA operates ... and a firm political determination supported by you and literally millions of other Americans to one day know the truth--

Aided recently by our "friends," obviously also wanting to know more ... and from actually inside "the system."

So, tonight we ask you to be patient just a little longer -- because REAL answers -- after "only" a quarter of a century of asking -- are about to be forthcoming.

Just stay tuned ....

Captain out.


Update 8/05/02

It has been a week since my last report to the “crew” of the good ship “Enterprise.”  A lot has been quietly taking place behind the scenes -- on both the technical and political fronts … despite the apparent silence from “the Bridge.”  Here then is a summary of where we seem to be at present.

 First, despite some “instant science” negative reactions in the first few hours after posting on the THEMIS Website -- regarding the ultimate value of the July 24 Cydonia daytime IR images to the questions of most interest here -- more thoughtful analysis and discussion in the Conference over the past two weeks has reaffirmed our own projections long before this set of “multi-spectral” images was officially released … initially published in the 2001 Edition of “The Monuments of Mars.”

“It is another instrument aboard the spacecraft -- Mars Odyssey’s extremely sophisticated color/IR camera – that will allow direct testing of this crucial aspect of the model: the Odyssey camera, via its ability to sense up to fifteen spectral bands across the visible and infrared, may directly detect the chlorophyll signature of any Martian plant life currently alive on Mars (Arthur’s immensely controversial “trees” and “bushes”).

“On the problem of verifying the presence of artificial Martian structures, Mars Odyssey’s camera will have the capability of making several, potentially conclusive observations there as well.

“The camera’s long-wavelength ability to sense and image subtle temperature differences (less than 0.5 degree C), will allow detection of cooler geometric artificial structures against the warmer natural background deserts (especially at night) -- the same way suspended bridges and skyscrapers on Earth cool first, before surrounding landscapes.  Presented in false color, these Odyssey IR images will render even ruined artificial structures glaringly obvious against the natural thermal background.

“In addition, the … IR capability will discriminate between a wide variety of material compositions on the Martian surface.  Designed by NASA to analyze the various rocks and surface geological formations, this ability will also provide unique composition data capable of detecting any large artificial structures –such as exposed cities or acologies.  It will also immediately allow identification of the apparent separate compositions of the two dramatically differing halves of the Face itself, the halves that, in the words of Ron Nicks:

‘… I would find it difficult to argue [at this point] … were composed of even the same material ….’”

 Preliminary Enterprise analysis of the Cydonia IR image has provided fascinating support for all of these predictions.  Notice I said “support” … and NOT yet “confirmation.” 

 The analysis is still too fragmentary, and the critically needed “ancillary data” (which Robert Williams has rightly insisted should accompany even the “image of the day Odyssey releases) is still missing, so we cannot claim true confirmation of anything as of this report.  However, we can say – contrary to superficial readings of the official THEMIS caption – that this unique set of nine daytime Cydonia IR multi-spectral images is revealing fascinating, potential composition differences between the Face and it’s surrounding mesas … as well as unique thermal data directly applicable to the key question “is it artificial” … if not to the even larger question of Odyssey’s real scientific mission ….

 Therefore, we ask for continued patience as we continue to assemble this new evidence – literally from a team of image processors and other Enterprise analysts spread around the world!  I promise you, after so much time and so many false hopes, this time the wait will be well worth it!  A foreshadowing, as it were, for the even more revealing nighttime IR images of Mars that we’ve been told by our “informed sources” are truly “end of game.”

 In closing this brief Update, I would be delinquent if I did not make some comment on a remarkable political development which has simultaneously been taking place – not coincidentally, I think – around the release of this most recent and revealing set of Cydonia images. 

 Enterprise is currently host to a number of “distinguished visitors” – Odyssey folks who, in addition to their time-consuming official duties on the Mission, have been engaging in long public and private discussions, on a wide variety of topics of keen interest to members of the “crew.”  One of these experts is Noel Gorelick, Manager of Arizona State University’s Mars Computation Center – which has direct responsibility for (among other NASA missions) THEMIS image processing.  It was Mr. Gorelick who literally hand-processed the Cydonia image we are currently examining.  He also confirmed the date when this image was actually acquired by the spacecraft: May 5, 2002.

 Posting under the screen name “Bamf” (memo to self: reexamine entire inherited policy of “pseudonyms,” as appropriate persona under which to conduct serious Enterprise scientific and political discussions from here on …), Mr. Gorelick has been very helpful on a wide range of technical questions associated with the Mission.  In particular, he has quietly passed along critical information on accepted algorithms and procedures in the ‘remote sensing” community for processing multi-spectral imaging – which is a totally different “cat” from the B&W MGS data products that many here have become accustomed to working with over the past few years.

 It is the application of these multi-spectral techniques, at the direct suggestion of Mr. Gorelick to certain members of the Enterprise far flung “imaging team,” that has allowed us to begin to extract the true depth of real, remarkable information latent in the latest Cydonia release.

 On behalf of everyone, I would therefore like to extend our sincere appreciation to Mr. Gorelick and his colleagues for their substantive contributions to our own “Mission.”  And to express our desire that they continue to engage in an increasingly meaningful discussion on both the technical issues regarding what these THEMIS images reveal … as well as the larger, still outstanding questions regarding NASA’s “new” commitment (if any) to an increasingly open dialogue on the seminal question of “potential artificiality.”

 And in direct answer to Mr. Goelick’s own not-too-delicately phrased question in his opening thread, “So, where’s the science happen?” I can confidently advise him—

Just stay tuned.

 Captain out.

Update - 7/23/02

As I announced yesterday (above), we are currently in a waiting mode … expecting -- literally at any moment -- the next chapter in this on-going “NASA soap opera” to unfold.

According to our NASA source, a Cydonia infrared image -- taken some time ago by the Odyssey THEMIS camera system -- is supposed to be officially released “Tuesday or Wednesday” of this week.  Per this source’s Sunday e-mail, in addition to the image itself, we are supposed to pay particular attention to “the caption.”

Considering the official THEMIS team caption for the first Odyssey Cydonia release a few weeks ago – the visible light image of the Face and the D&M -- and its silly references to “windblown surface features,” our “back channel” after receiving this Sunday e-mail immediately shot back a sharp question re the imminent IR image caption … and received the following reply:

“… I don't think the caption is at all snide (you may be thinking of Malin rather than Garvin here). However it points out that there is nothing particularly unusual about the feature [the Face] as we see it from different instruments [wavelengths]. It is fun to speculate about geological features, but this one is no more a candidate for intelligent construction than any other small hill in the region or on Mars for that matter. The symmetry argument or the unique shape argument could apply to many features on the planet [emphasis added].”

In other words, according to this “well-informed NASA source,” the IR Cydonia image we are all anxiously awaiting does not show the Face as any different from other Martian landforms the Odyssey team has also imaged in this manner.

So, what’s wrong with this (pun intended) picture?

What’s wrong is that the THEMIS team is apparently about to release … the WRONG Cydonia image!

According to our separate “Bush Administration” source, the image we are supposed to be getting is a “nighttime Cydonia IR image”– where the accumulated heat of the day is slowly radiating back into space throughout the night.  On this image, we’ve been told, certain features will “stand out as almost unmistakably ‘different’ [i.e. they will radiate in ways that are clearly difficult to explain, using any natural models – see the Odyssey IR Hydaspis Chaos image].  That’s been the problem with this new Cydonia data’s release for months now; it’s TOO good!”

Which is precisely why we’ve been demanding such a nighttime IR Cydonia image for over a year.

This new information, unfortunately, directly contradicts what NASA Headquarters’ public affairs officer, Don Savage, has been telling interested parties in this matter for the last week.

“… Future images planned for this [Cydonia] region include a visible color image and a night-time infrared image centered on the "face" mesa. These images have not been taken yet due to the limited opportunities so far in this mission [emphasis added].”

According to our “Bush” source, “they already have been taken (just as Dr. Gibbs reported at JPL in May, 2002)” … and have created “a major political problem” within the Agency vis-a-vis the continuing cover up of the true nature of the Cydonia features.

A subtle “preview” of what we may be getting of Cydonia was released by the THEMIS team just a few days ago, on Friday, July 19th.  (It was, of course, dated July 20th, much to the bafflement of many – who may not have remembered this key ritual date we’ve discussed at length many times on Enterprise, regarding NASA’s arcane ancient Egyptian ritual beliefs ….)

What this Odyssey image showed was a daytime IR shot of the old Viking 1 landing site in Chryse Planitia.  And, as you would expect, it showed … nothing … as in daylight, a single band IR image is merely picking up surface reflections and heating from ambient solar radiation.  Nothing unusual or especially revealing would be expected in such a single wavelength daytime shot.

But, at night!

What’s the expression:  “What a difference a day makes …?”

At any rate, in another call from our Bush source (late last night -- literally at 3:00 AM) we received a strong political “suggestion” re the coming Odyssey release: that, if the imminent daytime IR Cydonia THEMIS shot is not to our satisfaction (and it won’t be!), we then “scream bloody murder” about getting the correct nighttime Cydonia IR image released immediately!

Those were his exact words.

This, then, is the current situation. 

There’s obviously a real “war” going on inside this government, over (among other things) the crucial question of “artifacts on Mars.”  Some inside NASA still apparently have NOT gotten ‘the word,” that there’s a “new day dawning” (a little “Horus imagery” there …) around this issue, and increasing “disclosure” is supposed to be the policy from now on.  But, according to my source, if this latest Odyssey image is NOT the correct one that we’ve all been promised—

They will.

And we at Enterprise must play our crucial role ... by demanding, as taxpaying American citizens, the correct image. 

So, stand by to flood Washington and the media with more faxes and e-mails on this issue!

In the meantime, steady as she goes ….


Captain out.

This is the Captain Speaking

A high-level NASA source involved directly with the Odyssey Mission has communicated through a reliable "back channel" the following important information:

The THEMIS thermal IR data has been a challenge to process into color images because of small offsets between filter channels. PI Phil Christensen will release a color "face" image and a chunk of the surrounding region of Cydonia this Tuesday or Wednesday. Look at the usual place where we release daily images. There will also be a caption, of course.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the "crew" here at Enterprise for the persistence and combined communications effort which has apparently "assisted" NASA in reaching this decision.

I know the last few days have been uncomfortable and more than a bit confusing in this Conference. Perhaps now some here will begin to see exactly "why" the opposition might want to spread dissension in our ranks … and at this crucial time.

In the near future I will address the specifics of this recent turmoil and some of the valuable lessons learned - including where we go from here. For now, as we literally await NASA's next move--

Steady as she goes ….



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