Exposing PseudoAstronomy

January 8, 2013

Podcast #60: The Face on Mars, Part 2

Face on Mars - from Mars Global Surveyor

Face on Mars – from Mars Global Surveyor

This episode is the second of two about the Face on Mars. In this second episode, I start out with a discussion revisiting the basic idea of pareidolia and why this feature is best explained by that psychological phenomenon. I then get into Mark Carlotto’s image analysis, other faces, and finally spend quite a bit of time on various conspiracies surrounding it.

I also have a very brief New News segment and a short carry-over puzzler. The next episode is going to be about whether or not claiming that “asteroids did it” is special pleading for explaining various anomalies in the solar system. If you have ideas for a puzzler, please let me know (e-mail) BEFORE Friday the 11th — I have to record the episode on Saturday because of travel.



  1. Lovely!
    I watched yesterday night Stargazing LIVE with Prof. Brian Cox, on the BBC, and they talked too about Mars and our knowledge on it, the possible future discoveries there by Curiosity, and about the crazy fantasies and conspiracy theories some people have on this Planet.

    By the way, Dr. Robbins, can you please write for us about Curiosity and its works and discoveries on Mars?

    Comment by Jennifer — January 9, 2013 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  2. I remember when the “Face on Mars” first became widely known, following publication of articles on it in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, in November 1986. The “Face” attracted some degree of serious scientific attention because it was associated with other interesting features on the Cydonia plain. As the name-calling escalated between knee-jerk conspiratorialists and knee-jerk debunkers, a historian made a wise suggestion in a letter to Analog’s editor: include a routine pass over Cydonia as a low-key part of a future photography mission to Mars. Until then, just recognize that the existing photos didn’t admit of a definitive opinion about the Face.

    Unfortunately, the matter quickly degenerated into a shameful spectacle. Some debunkers made deplorably unprofessional, broad-brush comments about people who thought the Face might be of interest, and Hoagland went off the rails with conspiracy theories, etc. Not much room was left for the “Let’s not say any more until we know enough to say something new that’s worth listening to” faction.

    Comment by MuxTun — January 9, 2013 @ 12:40 pm | Reply

    • Of course I should have added that we now have numerous photos of the sort that the historian recommended, and they give no reason to believe that the Face is anything more than a natural formation.

      Comment by MuxTun — January 9, 2013 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  3. If you still think the Face on Mars is just a pareidolia you need to check out this new discovery that will show you think otherwise. The link is below.

    Richard C. Hoagland was right about the face and mirroring it. He just did not understand what he was looking at. To understand it you need to know Zecharia Sitchin’s life’s work.

    Check out the Youtube link and you will be very surprised at what is in plain sight on the Face on Mars Monument!!!

    Comment by Daniel — January 16, 2013 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

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