Detail from a panorama taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit on sol 1,366-1,369 (November 6-9, 2007). Credit: NASA / JPL / Cornell

The Return of (Little) Bigfoot on Mars

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

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Some urban legends just won’t die, and sometimes, unfortunately, they are given new life. We’ve already discussed and dismissed the rock on Mars that looks like a Bigfoot – a teeny, tiny little Bigfoot (Jan. 25, 2008). And now it’s back. And it’s completely ridiculous. Amazingly, this guy thinks a publication like National Geographic will take him seriously. Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

“A lawyer in the United States has written the National Geographic Society, asking it to publish in National Geographic his discovery that a photograph taken and beamed back to Earth by NASA’s Mars Rover Spirit contains evidence of life on Mars. In his letter, Andrew D. Basiago, 47, wrote that his analysis of the NASA photograph of the Red Planet captioned PIA10214 has revealed images of human and animal life forms, as well as statues and other structures built by advanced, intelligent beings. “This image is the most significant photograph ever taken by human beings from Earth,” Basiago wrote.

If you take the time to download and look at this “expose” you’ll see what Basiago does is take a large panoramic image from the Spirit rover (the original large panorama can be found here) which is a very high resolution image, and crop out small portions and zoom in so incredibly close that the images become blurry. He then claims these blurry images of rocks on Mars are things like humanoids, animals, statues and other objects.

For example, in this image, this is what Basiago claims he sees:
Small crop from Spirit's West Valley panorama.
“Throughout the photograph, the beings with bald, bulbous heads can be seen interacting with a variety of species. On a hillside beneath the mountain ridge in the far upper right quadrant, two of them sit in the Lotus position surrounded by animal species which resemble the penguin and ibis-like figures found in Egyptian hieroglyphics.”

Seriously?

Or this one:

Blown up small piece of West Valley Panorama

Blown up small piece of West Valley Panorama

“At the back of The Rock Garden is a large statue or skeleton of a humanoid with a pointy head and large, elephantine ears (right). His skull, arms, and hands are evident on the surface. He is reaching out from the depths of Mars with his hands. This skull may be the fossilized head of a giant primate in Martian history or simply the statue of a demon.”

This entire 41-page treatise is chock full of blurry, blown-up and stretched crops of incredibly small pieces of the large image, complete with incredible tales of humanoids in body suits and plesiosaurs co-existing together, along with features like Egyptian-like hieroglyphics and a sarcophagus.

The “Bigfoot on Mars” rock is actually just a few inches high and a few yards from the camera. The other rocks are in about the same location, although some are farther, some closer – it’s a big panorama. The thing about the color images from Mars is that each color image consists of three photos, taken with different filters to create the color. The three images are taken at different times, which means if something is moving, the image won’t be crisp and clear, as the original large panoramic image is. Emily Lakdawalla explains it very well at the Planetary Blog. She explains that Spirit took several images of the same location, showing the same rock over three different days, and it never moved.

Here’s all the pictures Emily found and put together:
Spirit's many views of "Bigfoot" Credit: NASA / JPL / Cornell / Emily Lakdawalla

Phil Plait discusses the Bigfoot here and here.

Basiago is listed as having five different academic degrees, but he’s obviously gone off the deep end.

As in a previous article where Universe Today talked with Jim Bell, the lead scientist for the panoramic cameras on the rover, Bell said it would be incredible if the rovers really had found something like a wooden plank on Mars. If there really were some sort of life forms on Mars, the scientists would be shouting from the rooftops. NASA is not hiding anything: all the rover images are freely available for anyone to examine.

This latest claim of living beings on Mars has no scientific evidence to back it up; its just the “views” of one person.

Sources: Exopolitics.com , prweb


45 Responses

  1. Barney Holmes says:

    I personally believe that it is not the place for the planetary imaging community to judge these claims. The promoters should be patiently handled. Giving them the facts and informing them of the current understanding we have of such features.

    In a civil society it is not acceptable to use the words … “crazy”, “wacky” and “off the deep end”. It is what we call libel in this country (UK) and is potentially a legal issue, although I doubt anyone would take it up.

    If the community here has such a problem with such claims then why publish news items about them at all ? To me it seems like an excuse to bash individuals who are, if a little misguided (maybe!) … AT LEAST they have some kind of curiosity and interest in these issues that is sorely lacking in these areas.

    Again, I really must state that this kind treatment of these kind of claims is not acceptable in an open, fair and civil society. Even if someone is completely crazy …. should they be treated in a cruel and maligning fashion ? I think not.

  2. Thomas says:

    Tacitus is 100% correct imho.

  3. Patrick Ward says:

    What a crackpot!
    Thanks for the links. I am still laughing about what that crackpot had to say about himself:
    “scholar… mensa member… etc”
    I love these funny stories!

  4. tacitus says:

    Highly reminiscent of Richard Hoagland’s claims that the Pathfinder images were strewn with the debris of machines and other technological equipment that had been swept away in a massive flood.

    He identified bolts, wheels, girders, the remains of ruined buildings, and lots of other stuff that was all just too far away for the camera to get a clear picture (of course). I believe he even campaigned to have the little rover drive over to take a closer look.

  5. tacitus says:

    In a civil society it is not acceptable to use the words … “crazy”, “wacky” and “off the deep end”. It is what we call libel in this country (UK) and is potentially a legal issue, although I doubt anyone would take it up.

    Nonsense. It’s calling a spade, a spade. It’s not libelous to call a crazy person crazy, even in the UK, otherwise nutjobs like David Icke would be multimillionaires by now, and tabloids like The Sun and The Daily Mirror would have been out of business years ago.

    People like Basiago are immune to reason — there is simply no point in reasoning with them since they have already made up their minds that NASA is conspiring to hide the “truth” from the public. Ridiculing their claims, on the other hand, is a valuable public service.

  6. Jorge says:

    Hehehehe…

    This fellow shouldn’t look at Mars images while doing acid, IMNSHO. That can’t be good for him. πŸ˜€

  7. Bjarne says:

    Barney Holmes. An idiot is just that! An IDIOT! Clowns like him can NOT be reasoned with in any way, shape or form! As Tactius and Thomas agrees with: “These types of people are immune to reason” is SO true! I know, since I know of people here that way. They are right and that’s that. And screw that facts.

    Jorge, I think the guy’s on some reeeeeallly bad crack. Not acid and needs to smack his dealer up the head! 8)

    Bigfoot on Mars! HA! What’s next? Cassini finding the “Golden Arches” on Europa?? *Snort*

  8. Bjarne says:

    Oops that should be t-h-e not “that”. Sorry.

  9. Gwydion says:

    DUUUUUUUDE I TOTALLY SEE IT. DUUUUUUDE.

  10. Brad Wooden says:

    What do they mean, “The figures were quickly dismissed as a natural rock formation resulting from erosion by wind, water, and time.” ?

    I thought science at the level of NASA and JPL was more of a committee process under panels of review, open mindedness and putting off such absurdly hasty blandishments of over-generalization, pat answers, fudging etc.

    Who “dismissed”, and dismissal based on what evidence? That figure is a stark iconoclasm amidst its landscape, deposit or rocky outcrop. Why is it so iconoclastic?

    NASA isn’t going to dangle these little treats in front of the public’s nose just so it can swat us with its authoritarian police-state arrogance for the thrill of that–and that alone. Howdy don’t talk down to nobody, not with strings attached all wrong like that.

    We can find better science exposition to read on the library shelves from 30 to 100 years ago. The contemporary fad in self aggrandizing intelligencia-kulur is not an indulgence of pure hubris of any interest to the population, nor are its programs. Humanity will bide time for the mature approach and openness through the promise of international space program development abroad. It’s a bigger world than Klaus von Buttload’s.

    Allan and Delair, “Cataclysm–evidence of a cosmic catastrophe in 9500 BC”, See: “upright skeletons” in the index.

  11. hagnat says:

    ”(the original large panorama can be found here)”
    http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/207495main_Spirit.jpg

    ok, two questions about this pic:
    1) am i the only one who can’t find the ‘tiny bigfoot’ unless when pointed out
    2) what is that blue watery formation at the right side of the image ? its blue and it seems to be liquid… (notice the way the wind makes it undulate like liquid and unlike any other feature of the landscape)

  12. Barney- Your point is well taken, and after re-reading what I wrote last night, I’ve changed some of the wording slightly to eliminate some words like crazy, etc., since I’m a writer and not a psychoanalyst. I do reserve the right to have an opinion, however.

  13. Barney’s wrong – this article is more than “an excuse to bash individuals.” It is a chance to reexamine basis principles. I think its worth revisiting questionable claims now and again just to identify the weak reasoning or analysis that supports them. Sometimes, talking about “poor science” helps us understand the principles behind better science.

    The only questionable line in the piece is this: “Basiago is listed as having five different academic degrees, but he’s obviously gone off the deep end.” Maybe it’s the word “obviously”, with all its overtones of perceptual certainly – kind of like using all-caps to inflate a claim (e.g. “Clowns like him can NOT be reasoned with”) – that sits badly?

    Anyway… decent post, nice job. Thks, and Happy New Year.

    πŸ™‚

  14. Lenard Lindstrom says:

    I am amused that revolutionary thinkers like Basiago use JPEG images as their source material. For those unfamiliar with computer images a JPEG image reduces storage space at the expense of picture sharpness. The details become meaningless before you have enlarged it enough to see individual pixels (picture elements).

  15. Silver Thread says:

    You make the mistake of assuming we live in an entirely Civil Society. I still cling with some tenacity to the savagery of my progenitors. I will gladly treat another civilly when they demonstrate an ability to act civil.

  16. Frank Glover says:

    “I believe he even campaigned to have the little rover drive over to take a closer look.”

    Hmm…didn’t the movie version of ‘My Favorite Martian’ start something like this?

  17. Chris says:

    He has smoked to much crack.
    His pictures are nothing but blurred images.

  18. Olaf says:

    I agree, using jpg as reference is stupid since depending on the compression level you will have compression artifacts that would look like symetrical.

    Also his lack of understanding that the images are taken in black and white with a different filter in front of it, would clearly have proven whatever it is, it is very static and not moving at all.

  19. edunuke says:

    ridiculous.
    I was thinking of writing something just to make fun of him but then I realized:

    This has written “help me” all over. He is crying for help, psycologically or even medically.

    It maybe signs of late-developed untreated Schizophrenia.

  20. D.R.R. says:

    IT SEEMS LIKE BASIAGO HAD A DECEMBER 1908 MINDSET RATHER THAN A DECEMBER 2008 ONE–BACK IN 1908 I’D UNDERSTAND BUT NOW WE KNOW BETTER BACK THEN THANKS TO MODERN SCIENCE. HOWEVER BACK THEN OUR LIMITED SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE KEPT OUR FOREFATHERS IN THE DARK AS TO HOW REALLY HOSTILE TO LIFE THE UNIVERSE OUTSIDE OF EARTH REALLY IS.

  21. Olaf says:

    “Who “dismissed”, and dismissal based on what evidence? ”

    Because it could not have moved to be on color, that is why. If it moved then you would see the figure in 3 distinct and known base colors at 3 different places because it moved.

    Space craft camera’s work in black and white only, and color filters must be put in front of them to get colors. So at least 3 images should have been taken to create one color image. So the object did not move at all, not even slightly.

    Why would you need a commitee for something that obvious that it can only be something that is very static and does not move!

    Of course it could be a gnome statue put by an alien to fool us.

  22. Shawn says:

    That made my brain hurt…….
    I think someone forgot to take his anti-psychotic medication.
    To bad Bush will be out of office in less than a month,
    they probably could have found a cushy job for this guy, I don’t know, maybe with the department of education or something. He’d fit right in.

  23. Diakanos says:

    Everyone’s full of **** at one time or another in life. Today, it was this guy’s turn.

  24. Feenixx says:

    When I saw this image first, when NASA first released it, the similarity to the “Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen struck me.

    reference:
    http://www.bloggingcopenhagen.net/images/april06/littleMermaid.jpg

    It’s like taken from the opposite direction of the reference shot, and she’s raised her right arm a little.

    If nobody comes up with a conspiracy theory to explain this obvious connection very soon, then I’ll have to make up my own….
    πŸ˜‰

    Happy New Year, Everybody!

  25. Richard Kirk says:

    Ha! I thought the CIA had censored my yesterday’s reply. In fact I had replied to the wrong thread. Here’s a repost…

    This is a pretty good image of a person. To me it looks like the little mermaid statue in Copenhagen. It took me some time to figure it out. If you are having some trouble figuring out how a little statuette like this can happen by accident, well it’s not that shape at all. As far as I can gather from the 3D pictures….

    The rock that forms the dark ‘figure’ also has lighter pink surfaces to the right and left of it. These are the same color as the background, and it is hard to distinguish the two. The regions above and below the ‘arm’ are part of the same right-hand surface. The ‘figure’ seems to be a dark or shadowed region formed when the edge between these two surfaces was knocked off. Weathering may have caused the top-left to bottom right striations. The left pancam filter 7 image shows this a bit more clearly than the others.

    The 3D shape we see is largely an effect of grazing light, and most of the features we see may be concave rather than convex. It may look like a little person from this angle, but it isn’t little person shaped.

    Nevertheless, even when I know what the real shape is, I still see the little mermaid.

  26. maudyfish says:

    And we thought Gulliver’s Travels were a good read!!

  27. Spoodle58 says:

    Thanks for making laugh this morning Nancy. πŸ™‚

  28. englishbob says:

    I find it ridiculous that anyone could take him seriously.

    they use “He holds five academic degrees, including a BA in History from UCLA and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge. ” As if that qualifies him as an expert in this particular field which has no relevance to his degrees.

    hes using a HP desktop computer and zooming in on jpeg images to conduct his “research”. A 10 year old kid could do that and be just as qualified as this guy.

    Now who would you believe, this guy or the guys at NASA who have experts who have studied and trained for years, are no doubt very intelligent, have years of experience and are actually receiving the data directly from its source. They out-trump this guy and throws into question why anyone would report on him.

    I think this is the problem today, bad journalism. People who don’t know that much about these things don’t have the information they need to make their own informed decision. Its not like every article you read your gonna go and Google on the net, some people don’t. So when they read an article that has very poor journalism, no research into the matter done at all, it causes alot of confusion and is why these crazy myths linger on like a bad Oder

    We need to instead of bashing this guy for his obvious non-insight. But instead bash on the people who report on it as if it were factual. Maybe then they will sort out their bad journalism and we will all be better off for it.

  29. Tom says:

    Having downloaded the full picture, there is clear evidence of products of intelligent life–the front end of the Spirit rover. All you conspiracy-mongers need to find something useful to do with your time.

  30. Yael Dragwyla says:

    englishbob — “I think this is the problem today, bad journalism. People who don’t know that much about these things don’t have the information they need to make their own informed decision. Its not like every article you read your gonna go and Google on the net, some people don’t. So when they read an article that has very poor journalism, no research into the matter done at all, it causes alot of confusion and is why these crazy myths linger on like a bad Oder.” You’re right. This isn’t a modern problem, either — the tabloids and tabloid sensibilities have been with us always, or at least the last two centuries. (Before then, people relied on rumor and gossip for their daily ration of BS.) Poe’s Great Moon Hoax doesn’t come anywhere near it, either — that was a deliberate joke that both its author and the newspaper involved were in on. This sort of nonsense, however, shouldn’t have made the news at all — if the idiot who came up with this claim wants to blog it, fine, but it should never have appeared in any medium that wants to be taken seriously. I notice that over the last few decades, the quality of scientific journalism, i.e., that for consumption by the general public, has been going downhill like a lead boulder — not good. πŸ™

  31. Yael Dragwyla says:

    tacitus — Perhaps “don’t feed the trolls” is a better philosophy. Presenting nonsense like the claim that “Bigfoot is on Mars” as nonsense is fine, but calling the claimer “crazy” or “whacked-out” is just an invitation to an endless series of trolls to leave their literary scat all over this site, which isn’t all that productive. It’s not even a matter of being civil, just common sense. I agree that this particular set of claims is total nonsense, and that the one making the claims is either trying to make a sensation, seriously deluded, or badly misinformed about what science is and what it does. Likewise, saying that Richard Hoagland has wasted a great deal of time and seriously misled a good swath of the public is spot on. But “You’re crazy!” is an invitation to a fight, one most of us don’t have time or the inclination for. Don’t feed the trolls.

  32. Yael Dragwyla says:

    silver thread — the reason our society is no longer civil is that too many people have given up on being civil, not to mention using reason to answer questions rather than yelling at one another. Maybe we ought to reexamine our behavior and priorities?

  33. Emission Nebula says:

    Hey is that the same bigfoot that predicted the end of the world in 2012?

    We shouldnt anger it πŸ˜‰

  34. Alejandro says:

    really….it is very “interesting” when the people do not have any knowlege about the real conditions of the origin enviroment can bring live πŸ™‚ very funy

  35. Tareece says:

    This is an example of the very reasons WE as humans should explore the near cosmos.
    I would put more faith in the eyewitness accounts of astronauts, who have the ability to use instruments of science to then back up their accounts, than do ranging little rovers who have exceeded all expectations.
    We are forced to analyze from afar the pictures and information from the rovers, etc.
    I know we are planning to go back to the moon and then to Mars, but people always wonder why should we bother.
    This is why. To end mysteries and to add onto others. Its what we were meant to do, not be stagnant and just flop about, happy to be where we are.
    MAN needs to explore.

  36. Olaf says:

    “I would put more faith in the eyewitness accounts of astronauts, who have the ability to use instruments of science to then back up their accounts,….”

    I doubt that the conspiracy theorists will believe that astronauts actually landed on Mars. ROFL

  37. Matt says:

    Drugs are bad mmmmmkay…..

  38. gudenboink says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice to just reach through the pc and slap the S**T out of some people???

  39. Olaf says:

    Whatever you think of those marsians, they are not very curious. I mean some UFO is driving at a very slow pace on their soil and they did not blow it up or put their teeth in it yet.

  40. Olaf says:

    i mean if there are living marsians out there and they see our robot, at least they should check this wierd thing out and at least we should have pictures of a marsian at point blank range looking into the camera one time or another. Even if it is not intelligent, like an anmal, it you should have seen bit marks in the solar panels or other part?

  41. SPACERIDER says:

    Come on i thought we are a advanced species. He should get some new glasses!

  42. joseph says:

    come on does this guy have anything better to do?

  43. topaz says:

    I’m afraid that Mr. Basiago is a little late in asserting that he is the first to discover ‘Life on Mars’. The possibility of there being intelligent life on the planet was originally discovered in late 2007 by a serious visual researcher in the UK.

    The objects seen in the image PIA10214 have been discussed on a forum (see newmars.com/forums and also marsanomalyresearch.com) prior to the date that Mr. Basiago published his research, therefore he cannot claim to be the first person to discover the possibility of life on the planet.

  44. rocker says:

    okay it looks just like a rock formation to me, I think some people take it a little to serious and look to deep in it, but I do believe their was life on Mars at one point. Not now because there is nothing that would be able to support it. On the other hand people say we are supposed to be an “advanced” species, when in fact we are not. Over years we have actually lost knowledge. For example look at the pyramids they didn’t have any tools or anything to make that, and it’s been said that the way it’s been depicted in movies is not possible. So we have no idea how they were really done, so in the end we are NOT an advanced species. I believe at one point we would’ve been but we’ve just lost a ton of knowledge over the years.

    I do still in fact believe that there was at one point life on Mars, and no offence those who commented this saying “don’t you have something better to do with you time” is just ridiculous because if you don’t think its possible why waste your time reading?

  45. floor jack says:

    I have to say, that I can not agree with you in 100%, but that’s just my IMHO, which could be very wrong.
    p.s. You have an awesome template . Where have you got it from?

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