Published: January 1, 2013


MARS - What will certainly become known as the "Big Foot Mound on Mars" was discovered by "enmbf," a member of Keith Laney's website, "The Hidden Mission." The photograph was taken on May 5, 2008 by the HIRISE camera (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment), which is a camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The HIRISE camera takes very high resolution photographs of small strips of the Martian surface. It is the most powerful satellite camera ever sent to another planet. The camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation under the direction of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

The HIRISE camera is referred to as "the people's camera," because private individuals are permitted to make targeting requests of areas of geological interest on the planet.

In this case, the subject area had been targeted by the HIRISE team at the request of Keith Laney, space imaging expert, and the host of "The Hidden Mission" website. The fretted appearance of the ground near ancient river valleys, makes areas like this interesting to geologists studying fluvial processes, (ground changes caused by the flow of water), as well as to those interested in searching for possible anomalies. Landforms in this area were likely shaped in large part by geological forces such as ancient water flow, melting surface ice, and wind erosion. Scientists can make use of data from a study of such areas in order to understand whether the conditions on Mars may have made it habitable at one time.

Planetary anomaly researchers however, are widely aware of the fact that intelligently directed mound formation was prevalent in the history of the Earth, so these forms can not be wholly neglected in the search for signs of an ancient civilization. Notably, the native tribes of the American continent produced thousands of mounds, many of which were simple, circle-shaped mounds, but also included mounds formed in shapes depicting animals. All but a very few of the American mounds have been erased from the landscape over time, mostly as a result of agriculture. Mounds were a place where local tribes would gather in time of celebration, and where they would often rally, if attacked by outside forces. The native, tribally-organized people constructed these mounds at great expense, in both time and effort, carrying thousands of baskets-full of the local earthen material to the designated location.

On Mars, we find that the ground is frozen in place. In addition, any form submerged for a time in water, will often form a concretion layer, which may aid in the preservation of an ancient landform. Even the dunes on Mars show little to no change from season to season, giving hope that perhaps, with a bit of luck, some ancient form on Mars might have been at least partially preserved.

The resemblance of this mound to "Big Foot" will likely be a matter of amusement to the general public. However, this mound deserves serious attention as a potential intentionally altered landform. The nose and eyes carry excellent sculptural detail, indicating, as one possibility, that it may have been artificially produced.

On the "Big Foot" massif, there are a number of what appear to be large rectilinear blocks just under the part of the landform which resembles the nose. Rectilinear blocks often form from natural geological processes, such as by fracturing. However, they seem somewhat out of character for this otherwise smoothly-shaped, and mostly boulder-free landform.  No similar blocks appear in this general area.

Like the Cydonia face, this mound exhibits extremely bright surface areas contrasted against much darker, heavily shadowed areas, which act together to create a face-like effect. While this effect will certainly occur at random, light and shadow is a basic and essential ingredient necessary to produce recognizable artforms.  In fact, the greater the contrast, the more easily features are seen at vast distances.

The human mind automatically searches for faces, and will naturally find faces, even in random settings. However, this natural brain mechanism, also serves to reinforce an artist's decision to use a face in an altered landform, or in any artform, as artforms are produced for the purpose of being noticed.

Faces randomly formed by geology will definitely be found for anyone willing to search.  However, faces found in mounds carry more promise, as the face must appear in whole form within a delimited, non-random area.

The Cydonia face has also been subjected to fractal analysis.  Fractal analysis software does not know how to search for faces as the human mind does, however, the fractal analysis showed that the Cydonia face was highly non-fractal, indicating it to be a likely result of artificial fabrication, and not of random geological events.

There is also another characteristic about this massif in the Reull Vallis region which is similar to the more famous face mound photographed at Cydonia. The damaged or unformed portion of the face appears to be "pasted-on terrain," which is similar in some ways to the "pasted-on terrain" that is also found in the damaged or unformed portion of the Cydonia face. Pasted-on terrain is often the result of large scale geological processes, such as episodic flooding, but similar appearances can also be the result of the process of intentionally dumping new material onto a form yet to be molded, much as adding a lump of clay to work into a clay sculpture in progress. One wonders whether on a dying Mars, with dwindling resources, the people added buttresses and supporting material to these mounds in critical damaged locations order to preserve what remained of the original sculptural details.
  In this case, perhaps the "added" material appears in both mounds at those exact locations needed to replace lost material that may have once finished the sculpture.

Of note, the origins of the varied minerals composing the Cydonia face massif is still considered enigmatic.  The exact minerals composing it are still unidentified, but it is known through spectral analysis that a portion of those materials are uncommon to the general area where the Cydonia face is found.

The mystery of how the "pasted-on terrain" was lifted onto the large massif at Cydonia also remains unexplained.

The Cydonia face, located at 40.75 degrees north latitude and 9.46 degrees west longitude, measures about 2 kilometers long (about 1.2 miles). This mound near Reull Vallis however, is only about one-sixth as large, at around 368 meters long by 207 meters wide.

The subject mound is located between very high mountains to the north, and the large Reull Vallis ancient river bed to the south. The HIRISE image is centered at 38.723 degrees South latitude, and 97.904 East longitude.

[image]              The image of the Cydonia face shown above is the result
                of a combination of the July 25, 1976 Viking image
                (which holds the best lighting angles and information
                that seem to show a face), and added details from a later
                nadir image of the Cydonia face taken by HIRISE.

 photo themis2002withmultispectraldatab_zps44cae476.jpg
In 2002, THEMIS [V01024003] produced multispectral data which showed the material composition of the Cydonia face to be enigmatic.  See,

Photobucket                      "Pasted-on terrain" shown on the Cydonia Face,
                        appears much like a patch added to damaged

The official images of the Big Foot Mound on Mars are available to the public at the following link:t
Image Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona, ESA, NASA/JPL, NASA/JPL/ASU, and NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems.

Keith Laney's website, "The Hidden Mission," is located at

Special thank you also to "chiching" of the forum for his many contributions to this article.

Copyright © 2013.  All rights reserved.

[image]           Tobias Owen and Gerald Soffen announce the discovery of a
          head-like object near the potential Viking 2 landing site in
          the Cydonia region of Mars in late July of 1976.

[image]          Gerald Soffen, in a second press release the same day, announced
         that after studying a second image of the same area, the head just
         went away,
, i

[image]          The Viking orbiter, while photographing Cydonia as a potential
         landing site for the Viking 2 lander mission,
returned an image of
         the Cydonia face mound on July 25, 1976.  Tobias Owen of the
        NASA JPL imaging team studied it, and labeled it, "Head." 

[image]          Years later, the misfiled image, 35A72, as well as a confirming
         photo 70A13
, were discovered at NASA
's Goddard Space Flight
         Center by computer engineers, Vincent DiPietro and Gregory
         Molenaar, while they were searching through NASA archives.

           In 1984, another pharoah-like face mound, (this one, over a
           mile long), was discovered in the Viking data set (86A10), by
          theoretical plasma physicist, John Brandenburg, at an area of
          Mars near "Utopia Planitia," in the Galaxias Chaos region of Mars  
34°32'7.09"N 147°52'51.10"E.  The image above was taken
          by Viking on September 15, 1976.

[image]                     The MOC camera on board the MGS returned an
                    image of the Cydonia face on April 5, 1998.  This
                    poorly processed image, above, was released to the mass
                    media after a twenty-two year wait and considerable
                    public interest.  Based on this poorly processed
                    image, the mass media concluded that NASA had
                    been correct
all along.  And, in fact, that the
                    "Cydonia face" contained no additional
                    face-like details, and was nothing but a collection of
                    scattered rubble on the ground (even though the
                    mesa had already been estimated to stand at around
                    1000 feet high).

[image]                    By April 7, 1998, better images were available,
                   but mass media stuck with the original story.
                   On the same day that BBC News stated it "shows just sand,"
                   the New York Times declared, it "looks like a sandal
                   print or a stuffed chili pepper -- everything but a face

[image]                 The MOC has taken a number of revealing photos of the
                Cydonia face mound since that time, such as the one
                shown above.

[image]          In September of 2006, ESA, using data from MSSS,
         (MOC E03-00824), produced this digital elevation model
.  This
         image was published widely in the media, including magazines
         with science interests. 
ESA later stated: "[s]till we are also not
         convinced, that the "peak" exists in the way it appears...  It
         may just as well be an artifact created by the DTM matching

         ESA also produced a digital elevation model of its own without
         contributions from MSSS.  This model, without the "horn"  was
         not widely circulated in the media.  This model is also based
         on lower resolution data than the previously released MOC

[image]          This is another look at data acquired by ESA of the Cydonia
         face mound.

         The HIRISE camera on board the MRO, also confirmed the eye
         and nostril-like features on the Cydonia face - and the absence
         of any horn-like appendage on its forehead.  As a twist, the
         HIRISE version of the face was published upside down - with
         South at the top and North at the bottom.



Photobucket           The new face-like mound discovered near Reull Vallis is
           compared to a Big Foot image.

[image]           The mound is shown here in low contrast.  Even so, the deep set
           eye sockets still appear almost black.

[image]           The Big Foot mound is located in an area of "fretted terrain."

[image]            Reull Vallis is a 1500 km ancient river bed which runs south of
           the Big Foot mound.  The
channel was first carved by liquid
           water, and later, sharpened and widened by glacial flow.

[image]            The Big Foot mound is shown here in higher contrast to
           demonstrate its best features.

[image]           The "Big Foot" mound is shown here in a larger context image.

[image]           The "Big Foot" mound appears in the upper left part of the
           image.  The "fretted terrain," easily visible around the mound,
           was likely created by water flow, melting ice, and wind erosion.

  [image]            Just under the "nose," large rectangular blocks appear. 
           Rectangular blocks are rare in this particular region.

 photo moundslackdetail_zps79e83ab9.jpg          Other possible "face mounds" discovered on Mars are often
          lacking in sculptural quality detail.

Photobucket        The sculptural face-like details of the "Big Foot mound" end 
          abruptly at the exact point where m
aterial similar to "pasted-on   
          terrain" begins, as if a buttress has been added to preserve
          the undamaged portion of the work.

Photobucket        The comparison image used in this article is from Jack's Links.
            "Messin' with Sasquatch."

[image]           In 1973, NASA scientists were heavily in favor of the Cydonia
         region of Mars as a potential landing site for a
Viking lander.

[image]            Carl Sagan and Tobias Owen were among the group of scientists
           considering early Mariner images to determine potential landing
           sites for the Viking mission.


[image]           NASA's official press release, PIA01141, above, is heavily contrast
          enhanced, making it look extremely artificial.  However, s
          after the image was released to the press, NASA stated they studied
          another image, and the illusion went away.  NASA
stated in its
          later press release: "The huge rock formation in the center,
          which resembles a human head, is formed by shadows giving the
          illusion of eyes, nose and mouth."

 photo unidentifiedfacem_zps1b718fdb.jpg           A documentary called "UFO Diaries," which aired from 1994 to
added to the mystery, when it showed in the background of
           the set, a number of pharaoh-like mounds similar to the Cydonia
           face, but
which have never been identified in official space
           agency archives.  Rumors were widely circulated during this time
           that NASA had found 4-6 new, but similar face mound images in
           the Viking data. 
Some speculate that these background images
           of face mounds were a secret NASA release, while others speculate
           that they were simply photoshopped to be used as props for the

[image]            After 2001, THEMIS (V22286011) produced another image of
"Utopia face" mound, above.  This mound is located about
           600 miles from the actual Viking 2 landing site.


[image]           Better processes of the same image produced on April 6, 1998,
          and thereafter,
have never been released to the public by the
          mass media, even though better processed images clearly confirm
          that there is an eye-like feature in the previously unseen dark eye 
          socket area.  And there are nostril-like features in places where
          the Viking image only showed a dot from an imaging defect. This
          image also confirmed that it really is a mesa and not just sand
          or rubble
on the ground as espoused by the mass media, based
          on the poorly processed image released to them through official

[image]            Other papers such as the Beaver County Times, above, using
           Associated Press feeds, ran predictable articles about tricks of
           light and shadow.  Interestingly, at the same time NASA's old
           stance was adopted by the mass media, NASA abruptly changed its
           official stance: "'We're taking a neutral stand on this,' said Glenn E.
, manager of the Global Surveyor Project at NASA's Jet
           Propulsion Laboratory."

[image]            By July of 1998, science magazines, such as "Astronomy,"
          above, were running the same poorly processed image,
          with the same sort of caption.

[image]            Details similar to an eye, hidden in the Viking photos due to
           extreme darkness in deep shadow, were confirmed in numerous
           MOC images.

[image]           The image above shows the actual data acquired by ESA of the
          face mound at Cydonia.  It does appear that there is a high albedo
          spike located at the peak of the "forehead" which may have
          contributed to the "horn" error in ESA's digital terrain model.

[image]            This is a closer look at ESA's digital elevation model.  Note the
           minimization of the eye and nostril-like features.

         This enhanced view of the data produced by ESA shows
           nostrils and even eye sockets clearly visible in the Cydonia face,
           Note, just as in the previous MOC data, the ESA data reveals no
           "horn-like" feature on the forehead

[image]            Eye and nostril-like details were confirmed by the HIRISE image.

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