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Malin Dumps 25,000 MGS Images on the Web
-- The "Year of Disclosure" Continues to Unfold


In a not so shocking turn of events, Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) has released a web based gallery of some 25,000 Mars Global Surveyor images of the Red Planet. This sudden development is summarized in the official press release from MSSS:

Donald Savage Headquarters, Washington, DC May 22, 2000 (Phone: 202/358-1727)

Mary Hardin Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA (Phone: 818/354-0344)

Dr. Ken Edgett Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, CA (Phone: 858/552-2650 x500)

RELEASE: 00-82

PUBLIC INVITED TO BROWSE 20,000 NEW ADDITIONS TO MARS PHOTO GALLERY

More than 20,000 new images of the planet Mars taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft are now available in a web-based photo album -- the single largest one-time release of images for any planet in the history of solar system exploration.

The 'picture postcard' scenes in the new images reveal the Red Planet, often said to be the most Earth-like planet, as an alien, bizarre and puzzling world.

"These are exciting times for Mars scientists and this release of images is in my opinion something unprecedented in the Mars science business," said Dr. Ken Edgett, staff scientist at Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, CA. "People everywhere with Internet access will be able to take their own personal journey of exploration and discover Mars via these pictures. They can experience them the same way that Mars Global Surveyor scientists do -- one at a time, no captions or explanations, just 'Here it is. What does it show me?'"

The archive of images now covers a period that spans one Mars year (687 Earth days), beginning in September 1997 with pictures taken during the aerobraking phase and extending through August 1999 when Global Surveyor was well into its mapping mission. Many of the pictures have such high resolution that objects on the surface the size of a school bus can be seen.

According to the Mars Orbiter Camera imaging team, placing these images within NASA's Planetary Data System for archiving is an important step in the Mars Global Surveyor mission that permits the public to examine the original data and make discoveries "for themselves." -more- -2-

"Putting these data into perspective is very difficult. We have focused on 'themes.' Layers on the Martian surface are the biggest 'theme' or 'finding' of the imaging investigation so far. To a geologist, layers record history and they are the most geologically important, profound thing we have seen," said Dr. Michael Malin, principal investigator for the camera system at Malin Space Science Systems. "We see layers in the walls of canyons, craters, and troughs. We see layers in both the north and south polar regions. We see them in the craters on top of volcanoes, we see them in pits at the bottoms of impact craters, we see them virtually everywhere that some process has exposed the subsurface so that we can see it from above."

"Seeing Mars up close through the narrow angle camera has been a humbling experience. We often find surfaces for which there are no obvious analogs on Earth, like certain ridges that look like dunes. Our terrestrial geologic experience seems, at times, to fail us," Edgett said. "Perhaps it is because water is the dominant force of erosion on Earth, even in the driest desert regions. But on Mars that force of change may have been something else, like wind. The ridges seen in places like the Valles Marineris floors are strange. They aren't dunes because they occur too close together, their crests are too sharp, their slopes too symmetrical. They often appear to be a specific layer of material that has undergone erosion -- we just wish we knew what processes are involved that cause this kind of erosion."

The camera system uses a "push-broom" technique that systematically builds up pictures of the surface directly below one line at a time as the spacecraft orbits Mars. The wide-angle lens provides a complete low-resolution global map of the planet every day showing surface features and clouds at a resolution of about 4.6 miles (7.5 kilometers). The narrow-angle telescope takes close-up pictures of small areas with a resolution of about 5 feet (1.5 meters). Because of the extremely high data volume of the high-resolution images, controllers cannot use this mode continuously. Instead, they painstakingly plan which areas they want to target.

Mars Global Surveyor was launched on November 7, 1996 and arrived at Mars on September 12, 1997. The spacecraft has made more than 5,000 orbits of and has been systematically mapping the Red Planet since March 1999.

Mars Global Surveyor is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. The camera system was built and is operated by Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, CA. JPL's industrial partner is Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, CO, which developed and operates the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. - end -

NOTE TO EDITORS: The archive of images can be found at: http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/ A subset of the images can be seen at: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/new and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs

It's important for readers to appreciate that nothing happens with regard to Mars absent a political agenda. It is clear from the surprise nature of this release that it was hastily planned. From the beginning, Malin has insisted on his contractual right to release or withhold the MGS images as he saw fit. In the past, as in his Air and Space Smithsonian magazine interview in September 1999, Malin has insisted that the images should not be released without taking the time to properly set up web pages, image maps, and documentation. Using this as his justification, he has insisted that all reasonable efforts had been made to accommodate his contractual agreements.

So why the sudden reversal? We presume that it is for the same reasons that he released (again, without prior warning) the nine new Cydonia images last month -- political pressure. Obviously, the attempt to diffuse mounting public pressure for new Cydonia images has not not abated despite his release of the long withheld images he gave us last month. At the "Real Mission to Mars" conference in Phoenix over the May 5th weekend, Enterprise principal investigator Richard C. Hoagland and Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) director Peter Gersten called for the pressure to be maintained on NASA/JPL/MSSS to take and release more images of the region. Gersten even distributed an online petition calling for such measures.

But the biggest factor, beyond even these efforts, has to go to Coast to Coast AM's new host Mike Siegel. True to his word at the Phoenix conference, Siegel has kept the pressure on during his nightly show by diligently giving out the fax numbers and e-mail addresses of a number of public officials and NASA administrators. Most notably among them, Senator John McCain. 

Obviously, it worked.

But it is important, as we all scan this treasure trove of new data, not to lose sight of other possible agendas. As we have pointed out on numerous occasions this year, we feel that this, in some sense, is the "Year of Disclosure." For reasons we will be making clear in the coming months, we believe that there is an imperative at NASA to create justification for a manned Mars exploration program in the next few years. The easiest way to do this would be to finally admit that there might be something down there worth investigating.

The problem with that scenario would the uncomfortable questions that would be asked. Why for instance, did NASA not acknowledge the reality of Cydonia for 20 years? The best way to avoid this is to simply release the images en-masse, as they have done here, and let the public "discover" new anomalies. This creates a plausible deniability that could effectively insulate NASA from complicity in a cover-up.

Note in this release the tacit admission that there are unexplainable features on Mars. These features of course are only "unexplainable" if you exclude the possibility that some of them might be artificial. Special attention is given to the "sand dunes" that seem to make up the base of many structural objects at Cydonia, which we have alleged are not sand dunes at all. A lot of these features were pointed out by Hoagland at the Phoenix conference, and we know that a representative of MSSS was in attendance. 

Another factor to consider is the reaction to our recent revelations about "Tom Corbett - Space Cadet." No story we have published in recent years has produced the reaction among the public and media that this story has. The value of Tom Corbett merchandise on e-bay has skyrocketed since the publication of our story. As interest in the "Hollywood Connection" mounts, it may have become important to knock this story out of the headlines. Rest assured, we will not be distracted from revealing more interesting connections between Hollywood's "Magick" and Cydonia in the coming weeks. Meantime, let's all go feast on the bounty that our hard work and political pressure has produced.

Note: Please do not send images via e-mail. Instead provide a hyperlink to images of interest.

MB


FLASH! - As we go to press, Britain has announced that it is sending a lander, similar to the Viking 1 and 2 landers, to search for life on Mars in 2003. This seems to an interesting time to announce, given the other Mars news of the day. If the lander arrives on schedule, it will be on December 26th, 2003.

Which just happens to the "birthday" of a certain Egyptian god we have all heard so much about in the last few years.

Osiris.

Stay Tuned ...




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