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Detailed Deconstruction of the “Face” and Pyramids on Mars Claims

Intrigued by the thought of alien artifacts on Mars, with structures like a Martian-built statue of a giant face surrounded by pyramids or even cities? Better check the math on that. Better yet, Stuart Robbins has already checked that math and BOOM! it doesn’t check out.

So called “Mars anomalists” like Richard Hoagland have already been debunked mightily by folks like Phil Plait, but Robbins — who hosts the “Exposing Pseudo Astronomy” podcast — takes it to a whole new level. He’s just put out a video version of his podcast about claims about the Cydonia region on Mars, some of the math behind it, an exploration of the “null hypothesis” (what the results would be if it were purely random), and draws conclusions based on the latest orbital imagery of Mars.

Hoagland and others claim some of the features in Cydonia display special geometry and numbers that are encoded within them. And, the only way those numbers and that geometry could be there is if it was created by some sort of intelligence, i.e aliens. Robbins provides detailed explanations of the mathematical simulations and the arguments against these claims.

“What the Mars anomalists do is a really good example of cherry picking/the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy,” Robbins told Universe Today. He concludes the video by basically saying, “Hey! Space exploration is still awesome and cool, and you really don’t NEED the pseudoscience to make it amazing and rewarding.”

Watch above, and check out Robbins’ excellent podcast.

The 'face' on Mars, a popular landform in Cydonia Region on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

The ‘face’ on Mars, a popular landform in Cydonia Region on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jeffrey Boerst June 3, 2014, 4:05 AM

    Great to see the plows of science again returning to the booby-hatch farm to plow under the fertilizer, but my heart kind of goes out to RCH… The face and his high profile involvement in it’s breaking to the public DID drive him certifiably guano~goofy. At least it’s making him a living. (I kinda wonder how much is psycho and how much is savvy, per that…)

  • Olaf June 3, 2014, 12:40 PM

    I really advice people to listen to Stuart Robbins’s podcasts.
    It is science at its best, next to the Astronomy cast.

  • Jim Krug June 4, 2014, 2:22 PM

    I would be careful on how the word “debunking” is used here. Sometimes, I see Frasier Cain or other UT writer puffing their chest here about “debunking” something, when all they’ve really done is made fun of it. The story about President Obama and the Mars rumors was a perfect example.

    Debunking = proving with scientific fact that something could not or did not happen

    Making fun = childish sport that relies on insults, rather than scientific disproving, to make an argument appear weaker, without actually disproving any of it

    Some of Phil Plait’s stuff is good, and is genuine debunking. However, some is presented with a condescending tone, and actual debunking is minimal, and Plait strays further into the making fun realm.

  • dusanmal June 7, 2014, 1:13 PM

    Sometimes Science must go beyond first instinct of recoiling from pseudoscience and look for the reasons why some anomaly have attracted pseudoscientific attention instead of just going de-bunkers.
    Our brains are wonderful evolutionary product with ability to notice and attempt to interpret anomalies way better than modern supercomputers. Yes, on interpretation side our brains sometime lie a great deal to us (ex. optical illusions of all kinds). However, fundamental noticing of patterns, peculiarities and anomalies is typically spot-on. In Science we should strive to study deeper those anomalies our brains alert to us because it is very likely something unusual and useful to get understanding of is being pointed to us.
    Hence, instead of useless debunking of “Face on Mars”, making taboo of the area and ignoring true scientific potential of research there the scientific community should realize that relatively unusual geologic patterns and features in Cydonia region if studied closely could bring forth real scientific breakthrough in our knowledge about Mars, its erosion history (particularly in the case of “Face”), geology (particularly “Pyramids”) and all related issues.
    We have a set of intuitively attention raising features in Cydonia, Scientific response should have been – send a rover there and learn more despite pseudoscientific attention.

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