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

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

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.

Mystery Solved: Breakdown of Russell Crowe’s UFO Video

Actor Russell Crowe made some waves this week when he claimed to have captured photos of a UFO outside the window of his office in Australia. It turns out it really was a UFO…. an Unidentified Floating Object, which has now been identified. Crowe’s office sits on a pier in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, and via Twitter, Crowe said that he and a friend set up camera to capture fruit bats flying over the Gardens. “Canon 5D, no flash, can’t be lense (sic) flare because it moves, camera is fixed,” and “The camera is on a balcony – not behind glass.”

But ParaBreakdown’s Phil Poling has now provided a breakdown of why Crowe’s UFO is most likely to be a series of long-exposure photos of a … wait for it … passing sailboat with a high mast.

Crowe’s footage is below:
Continue reading “Mystery Solved: Breakdown of Russell Crowe’s UFO Video”

2014 AZ5: The Fake Asteroid that Won’t Hit Earth

Artists impression of an asteroid flying by Earth. Credit: NASA

Be careful where you get your news. Some websites have headlines that are screaming “GIANT ASTEROID HEADING TO EARTH!” or “2014 END OF THE WORLD!” It’s been billed as the largest threat to Earth in a millennium, and this supposed nearly 300 meter (1,000 ft.) -wide asteroid is spurring “urgent meetings going on among scientists on how deflect it.”

This asteroid can’t hit Earth because it doesn’t exist. Or at the very least, it doesn’t exist yet. The first clue this asteroid is a fake is its name: 2014 AZ5. Asteroids are named for the year they are discovered, and since it is only 2013…. well, you see the issue.

Additionally, this asteroid isn’t listed on JPL’s Small Body Database, or the Minor Planet Center’s website, the official places where all known asteroids are listed. As much as some people like to think there are conspiracies and government cover-ups, absolutely every asteroid that’s ever been detected is listed on these sites.

There is, actually, another asteroid that will be whizzing by Earth this week at a very safe distance of about 950,000 km. On March 9, Asteroid 2013 ET, a very large 100 meter-wide rock will make its closest approach. Gianluca Masi from the Virtual Telescope project will host a webcast from the Virtual Telescope robotic facility in Italy on March 8, 2013 at 19:00 UT (2 pm EST). You can watch for free on their website. “It is worth to underline that there are NO risks at all of collision,” Masi said.

Here’s an image of 2013 ET that Masi took on March 4, 2013:

Asteroid 2013 ET imaged by the Virtual Telescope. Credit: Gianluca Masi/Virtual Telescope.
Asteroid 2013 ET imaged by the Virtual Telescope. Credit: Gianluca Masi/Virtual Telescope.

Hat tip: Ian Musgrave.