Exposing PseudoAstronomy

January 1, 2013

Podcast #59: The Face on Mars, Part 1

Face on Mars - from Mars Global Surveyor

Face on Mars – from Mars Global Surveyor

This episode is the first of two about the Face on Mars. In this first episode, I discuss a lot of the history of imaging the Face, the context of it and its location on Mars, and many of the claims related to the imaging of it. Get ready for some Coast to Coast clips — there are eight of them. This episode goes into significantly more detail than my post four years ago on the subject.

Part 2 will be about some of the more conspiratorial and related claims along with a few other faces thrown in. This episode as it was was already 40 minutes long, so I decided to split into two parts.

I also have a very brief New News segment, a short puzzler, and two announcements.



  1. I call this a good present for New Year; thank you, Dr. Robbins.
    You asked the favorite podcasts and articles of people; me i like very much all you write and say on Mars, because i like this Planet, and your works where i see many methods of Astronomy in action, like in Interview With Dr. Brian Hynek, Lunar Formation And Origins, Mystery of Phobos2′, and all your works that scientifically demonstrate that conspiracies like Apollo Moon Landing Hoax are madness.

    Comment by Jennifer — January 2, 2013 @ 4:12 am | Reply

  2. Bravo! A scholarly review. One point I’d like to add concerns an accusation that Hoagland & Bara have made quite often — namely, that Gerry Soffen lied about the Viking image. As you correctly state, Soffen presented the image several days after it was acquired. He added that on the next orbit, under different lighting conditions, the resemblance to a face disappeared. Hoagland & Bara, untrained in orbital mechanics and very frequently wrong on the subject, claim that Viking could not have re-imaged Cydonia Mensa on the next orbit because by then the planet would have rotated the feature far enough to be out of range.

    The rotational period of Mars is 24.622h. The period of the Viking 1 orbiter was 24.66h. That works out to a “walk” of only 32km. Not out of range.

    Comment by Expat — January 2, 2013 @ 8:16 am | Reply

  3. Stuart.Unfortunatly you are propagating your own myths about “the Face & Martians structures” mythos. Months ago I gave you informations & references about the proper historiography of these Martian mythos 😦 .Hoagland became such prominent figure because the general public is mostly unaware of the fact that he stole most of his materials from earlier “researchers”, but I wont repeat myself again, according to Einstein, doing the same thing over and over again, is the definition of insanity.

    Comment by Unsocial Darwinist (@Unkindbydesign) — January 2, 2013 @ 11:57 pm | Reply

  4. Just listened to it twice. You’ve done a wonderful job. I can remember some of the books you mentioned coming out in the 1980’s. Didn’t buy them though because they didn’t look interesting at the time.

    I’ve just started reading a novel from 1992 called “Labyrinth of Night” by Allen Steele. The basis of the plot is that everything Hoagland et al said up to 1991 (Which appears to be when the novel was finished.) is real….

    Not sure just how much of what is attributed to Hoagland in the book is real or the authors invention though.

    After re-reading his pre-“Face on Mars” article in Analog (“A Mission for the Enterprise”, 1977) I’m starting to wonder if he backed this horse as a way of getting NASA to send a manned mission to Mars, then got stuck holding a busted flush he cannot get rid of.

    Looking forward to your replies to my emails.

    Comment by Graham — January 3, 2013 @ 3:08 am | Reply

  5. I really enjoyed this podcast episode, Stuart. Expat brings up some good points, as always. I wonder if maybe that is part of the conspiracy-related claims that you will address in part 2. I just posted a blogpost on this same topic earlier today. In part, I was inspired by your presentation, but I also found it harder than I thought to broach the whole hyperdimensional physics thing. Here’s a link for interested readers:


    I’m entering manually, so I don’t have the whole URL. The Face on Mars Farce will be the first entry.

    I was hoping for a puzzler in your post… Alas…

    Comment by Julian Janssen — January 6, 2013 @ 7:03 am | Reply

  6. Stuart,

    Just listened to the 55th episode of the ArchyFantasies Podcast and for the second half of the episode they covered the Face-on-Mars, I’ve linked both your episodes to the comments. You might want to listen to it. Rather surprisingly they don’t give you a mention and one of the hosts (Ken Feder) started off by claiming that Hoagland was the person who first made the claim, that the Face-on-Mars was artificial.


    Comment by Graham — September 23, 2016 @ 12:31 am | Reply

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