Tag Archives: Mars

NASA Faked Mars Landings: Mars Rover Photos Were Taken In Simulated Mars Environment On Devon Island, Canada, According to Conspiracy Theorists

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Via: Inquisitr

A conspiracy theory fast gaining traction online makes the astounding claim that NASA’s Curiosity and Opportunity rovers never traveled to Mars and that the images of the Martian environment being uploaded to NASA websites were actually taken on a remote island called Devon Island in Canada, the largest uninhabited island on Earth.

mars yankee go homeAccording to the rumors making the rounds in the conspiracy theory blogosphere, the pictures being uploaded regularly to NASA’s websites and palmed off as images of the Martian environment are fake images taken on Devon Island in Canada where NASA has set up a landscape identical with the “Martian landscape” we see on photos NASA scientists upload to NASA websites.

Conspiracy theorists claim that the rovers never traveled out to space, let alone land on Mars. Rovers Opportunity and Curiosity are being kept in storage in one of NASA’s facilities. Meanwhile, the agency has deployed two smaller versions of the rovers — “baby rovers” — on Devon Island in Canada.

NASA maintains permanent bases on Devon Island where NASA personnel dressed in mock astronaut suits play around with “baby rovers” fitted with cameras. Conspiracy theorists note that the terrain of the island bears a striking resemblance to the images of the “Martian environment” that NASA uploads to its websites. This makes the island an ideal location on Earth for NASA to stage make-believe Martian environment photo shoots.

There is also evidence, according to conspiracy theorists, that NASA has bases in other remote areas used for simulating Martian environment.

Continue Reading @ Inquisitr – – –

Mars Hoaxes: Why We Believe

by Stephanie Pappas via Live Science

Mars-Hoax_300pxFirst, let’s get one thing out of the way: Mars is not going to look as big as the moon in the night sky tonight. Or tomorrow night. Or any other night, barring some sort of unforeseen planetary catastrophe.
Any emails or Facebook messages to the contrary are, alas, nothing but a hoax. Rumors that Mars would appear as large as the moon first emerged in 2003, when the Red Planet was actually passing closer than usual to Earth. Since then, the hoax has circulated every year and is going around yet again, despite multiple attempts by NASA to debunk this myth.
Internet hoaxes are a dime a dozen, but there seems to be something about Mars that keeps this particular hoax alive. Perhaps it’s a fascination with a planet that’s so close to Earth — or perhaps the real-life discoveries from Mars are so amazing that the hoax seems believable, suggested Joshua Bandfield, a senior research scientist at the Space Science Institute and the University of Washington.

Continue Reading: Mars Hoaxes: Why We Believe

World of Batshit – #4: Fake Planets

By CoolHardLogic via YouTube

Part four in a series examining some of the most ridiculous claims. In this part, we look at a channel claiming (among other things) that the planets don’t exist.

4 Real News Stories Ripped Straight from ‘The X-Files’

Xfiles_200pxBy via Cracked.com

Besides serving as a brilliant case study for the evolution of 1990s hairstyles, The X-Files taught an entire generation that Occam’s razor — the simplest explanation for strange phenomena is usually the correct one — is boring and stupid and completely wrong. No, the superior explanation is always 44 minutes of aliens and Sasquatches.

That same lesson applies to these four recent news stories, which are all so bizarre that even the Gillian Andersonest of Gillian Andersons would have a tough time denying the involvement of interstellar poltergeists.

#4. The Mars Rover Found a Mystery Rock (That Wasn’t There Before)

As far as exciting discoveries go, Mars has been kind of a wet noodle — the Opportunity rover has found no signs of ancient teleportation arks, atmospheric reactors, or dead John Carters. Just as it seemed we were all about to stop pretending we cared about any of Opportunity’s billion-dollar photographs of orange dirt, it sent back this picture:

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Image: NASA

Big deal, it’s a shiny rock. We’ve got those here on Earth. Now, look at a photo taken of the same area 12 days earlier:

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Image: NASA

That shiny rock wasn’t there two weeks prior. Scientists are baffled by the rock’s composition — it contains high amounts of sulfur, magnesium, and manganese, something they claim they’ve never seen before on the surface of Mars. Of course, all of this takes a back seat to the more pressing question: Who the hell put that rock there? Did it grow legs and crawl like the moon rocks in Apollo 18?

Yes, that is actually what that movie was about.

Yes, that is actually what that movie was about.

#3. A Wandering Pit Bull Was Found With an Old Black & White Photo in Its Collar

239199Earlier this month, animal rescue workers in Greenville, South Carolina, picked up a stray pit bull that had wandered into town with absolutely no identification … except for a completely unlabeled black-and-white photograph of a man from Grapes of Wrath times sitting on a porch banister and smiling tucked into its collar.

Presumably the photograph is a picture of either the dog’s human form before he was metamorphosed by a gypsy curse or the man that the dog was sent back in time to destroy. Considering that they have yet to find the dog’s owner or any explanation for its sudden, mysterious appearance, our guesses are as good as any.

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Somewhat related: Fox Wants To Bring Back The X-Files, David Duchovny And Gillian Anderson (io9)

10 Silly Theories That Tried To Prove Aliens Exist

By Jo Rodriguez via Listverse

Is there life elsewhere in the universe? It’s becoming increasingly likely that life must exist somewhere out there, but theories on aliens closer to home have ranged from misguided to idiotic.

10 • Viking Landers Finding Life On Mars

aliens MarsPhoto2 817_300px_300pxDuring the ’70s, NASA’s Viking landers probed Martian soil, eagerly looking for signs of life on the Red Planet. While the landers did not find actual microorganisms, traces of carbon dioxide turned up in the collected samples. Some scientists looked at the results and concluded that living organisms had to be on the planet, producing the compound.

The findings have been disputed for decades. Recently, some scientists have concluded that iron particles in Martian soil could have oxidized carbon compounds that exist naturally there.

Though evidence from Viking may not point to current Martians, carbon in the soil may still indicate that life once existed on the planet. Today’s research focuses less on finding living organisms there and more on investigating if the atmosphere could preserve traces of life even after long stretches of time.

9 • Arthur C. Clarke And Martian Vegetation

0212_300pxBeloved author and screenwriter Arthur C. Clarke long believed in life on Mars. In 2001, Clarke downloaded several photos from NASA’s website captured by the Mars Global Surveyor and was delighted to see what he thought were trees.

Clarke spoke to a crowd in his home in Sri Lanka, saying that the pictures showed things that were growing on the planet’s surface. Clarke said, “I’m quite serious when I say I have a really good look at these new Mars images. Something is actually moving and changing with the seasons that suggest, at least, vegetation.” In another interview, he joked, “I’m now convinced that Mars is inhabited by a race of demented landscape gardeners.”

The images were actually simply sand dunes, covered in or affected by frozen carbon dioxide. Over time, dark sand cascades down the dunes, leaving streaks that may look like trees to the less educated eye.

8 • Crazy Experiments To Contact Martians

0312_300pxIn 1820, German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss sought to incorporate the work of Pythagoras in his quest to communicate with alien life on Mars. Gauss suggested clearing a large patch of Siberia and planting wheat for miles in a shape that geometrically illustrates the Pythagorean Theorem. By harvest season, the bright yellow crop-filled areas would contrast with the forest’s darker coloring. Gauss believed that Martian observers could spot this gigantic triangle on Earth with a small telescope.

Other odd ideas were also popular during the 19th century. Astronomer Joseph Littrow suggested digging trenches measuring 30 kilometers (20 mi) in length and shaped in various geometric patterns across the Sahara. We’d then fill them with kerosene and light them up. A Frenchman, Charles Cros, suggested building a huge mirror that could focus sunlight and burn messages into the very surface of Mars.

7 • Martians Contact Nikola Tesla

Tesla Aliens_300px_300pxNikola Tesla may have been one of the most brilliant scientists in human history, but he also falsely claimed to have received artificial signals of extraterrestrial origin—he said they were from Mars or Venus.

In a letter to the New York Times, Tesla wrote of how Mars, of the two planets, could support life. He viewed the distance of the planets from the Sun in terms of evolution. Venus was at a youthful stage, perhaps unable to fully sustain humanoid life. Earth was at full growth. Mars had reached old age, yet it had passed through prime biological and technological evolutionary stages.

Tesla suggested ways to improve our means to communicate with Mars, first by relocating our observatories to send clearer signals through the atmosphere. In 1937, Tesla’s work led him to believe that he could win the Pierre Guzman Prize of 100,000 francs for “the first person who will find the means of communicating with a star and of receiving a response.” The prize rules excluded contact with Mars, however, because that would have been “too easy.”

The public has never had a chance to analyze Tesla’s supposed observation, but it is likely that he actually detected the pulsing of distant stars. This was far from the intelligent transmission he had claimed to see, but it was still an impressive accomplishment.

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10 Ways The Quest For Alien Life Is Getting Real

By Heather Ramsey via Listverse

NASA predicts that we’ll find life outside our planet, and possibly outside our solar system, within a generation. But where exactly, and what type of life? Is it even wise to make contact with extraterrestrials? The search hasn’t been easy, but these questions may not be theoretical much longer. Here are 10 ways the quest for alien life is getting real.

10 • NASA Predicts Alien Life Will Be Found Within 20 Years

kepler-scope_300pxIn the words of Matt Mountain, director at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, “Imagine the moment when the world wakes up, and the human race realizes that its long loneliness in time and space may be over . . . It’s within our grasp to pull off a discovery that will change the world forever.”

Using ground and space-based technology, NASA scientists predict that we’ll find alien life in the Milky Way galaxy within the next 20 years. Launched in 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope (pictured) has helped scientists find thousands of exoplanets (planets outside our solar system). Kepler discovers a planet when it crosses in front of a star, causing a small drop in the star’s brightness.

Based on data from Kepler, NASA scientists believe that in our galaxy alone, 100 million planets may be home to alien life. But it’s the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (scheduled for a 2018 launch) that will first give us the capability to indirectly detect life on other planets. The Webb telescope searches for gases in a planet’s atmosphere that are generated by life. The ultimate goal is to find Earth 2.0, a twin to our own planet.

9 • The Alien Life We Find May Not Be Intelligent

single-cell_300pxThe Webb Telescope and its successors will search for biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets, such as molecular water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. But even if a biosignature is detected, it won’t tell us whether the life on that exoplanet is intelligent or not. Such alien life may be single-celled organisms like amoebas, rather than complex beings that can communicate with us.

We’re also limited in our search for life by our prejudices and lack of imagination. We assume there must be carbon-based life like us, and that we’re the standard by which intelligence is judged. Explaining this failure in creative thought, Carolyn Porco of the Space Science Institute says, “Scientists don’t go off and think completely wild and crazy things unless they have some evidence that leads them to do that.”

Other scientists such as Peter Ward, coauthor of Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, believe that intelligent alien life will be short-lived. Ward assumes that other species will have global warming, too many people, no food, and eventual chaos that destroys their civilizations. He foresees the same for us.

8 • Mars May Have Supported Life Before—And May Again

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Photo credit: Kevin Gill

Mars is currently too cold to house liquid water and support life. But NASA’s Opportunity Rover—an all-terrain vehicle that collects and analyzes rocks on Mars—has shown that about four billion years ago, the planet had fresh water and mud that could have supported life.

Another past source of water and possible life sits on the slopes of Mars’s third-tallest volcano, Arsia Mons. Around 210 million years ago, this volcano erupted beneath a vast glacier. The volcano’s heat caused the ice to melt, forming lakes in the glacier like liquid bubbles in a partially frozen ice cube. The lakes may have existed long enough for microbial life to have formed there.

It’s possible that some simple organisms on Earth may be able to survive on Mars today. Methanogens, for example, use hydrogen and carbon dioxide to produce methane, and don’t need oxygen, organic nutrients, or light. They’re able to survive temperature extremes such as those found during Martian freeze-thaw cycles. So when scientists found methane in Mars’ atmosphere in 2004, they questioned whether methanogens already inhabit the subsurface of Mars.

As we travel to Mars, though, scientists are concerned that we may contaminate the planet’s environment with microorganisms from Earth. That may make it difficult to determine whether life forms found on Mars originated there.

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17 years on Mars, or “How Daily Mirror fell for a fake story.”

mirror mars
The LockeBy The Locke via The Soap Box

Recently the British tabloid Daily Mirror published an article online about this claim made by a alleged former US Marine (a claim that sounds more like a half decent science fiction novel rather than a true account) about how he allegedly spent 17 years on Mars

Earth-Defense-Force_300pxThe original story was published on a website called ExoNews TV (a UFO conspiracy theorist website) on April 3 of this year. Why the Daily Mail took so long to write up their own crazy story nearly three months after the original crazy story was published, who knows?

Maybe they just found out about it, maybe they were having a slow “news” day (ofcourse the Daily Mirror is not really known for publishing actual news or news that’s truthful) maybe they thought that now was the time to publish it.

The original story from ExoNews TV is an account told by a person whom calls himself “Captain Kaye” or “Captain K” (you can listen to him recalling his story here) and whom claims to be a former Marine that spent 17 years of a 20 year military career on Mars.

Mars Defense Force_200pxNow such claims have been made before. Infact several people have claimed to have gone to Mars and back over the years, or claimed to have “knowledge” of bases on Mars. The problem with all of those claims are that the people who made them are either liars, seriously deluded, or both.

I believe this “Captain Kaye” is the first type, and for several reasons.

First he claims that our government has technology that is probably centuries ahead of our current technological level, and yet he gives an audio interview (he never shows his face) to a conspiracy theorist website.

Why the heck would he give an audio only interview and give a fake name and not have a video interview and a give out his real name  .  .  .

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10 Strange Historical Ideas About Aliens

By Alan Boyle via Listverse

alien lonely_100pxRight now, the best candidates we have for finding alien life are some sort of fossilized bacteria on Mars. If we’re lucky, there might be microbes on Europa, though it won’t be easy to get to them.

In centuries past, people knew a lot less about space, so they came up with significantly more elaborate possibilities about the aliens we might find there.

10 • Camille Flammarion’s Alien Afterlife

0120_300pxFrench astronomer Camille Flammarion supported Percival Lowell’s theories about canals on Mars. When some scientists did an experiment suggesting Lowell was seeing an optical illusion, Flammarion repeated the experiment to try and prove them wrong.

He believed Martians would be superior humans, due to how low a bar we’d set through our habit of war and how “we cannot even agree on a universal calendar.” He suggested creatures on the red planet may have tried to communicate with us when we were still hunting mammoths, but they got no response and gave up. He concluded, “I would like to go to Mars, it must be an interesting place.”

He believed the Moon was likely inhabited. He speculated about aliens in light of Darwin’s groundbreaking theories and came up with the idea of a race of sentient plants that combine digestion and respiration into one process. A mystic, he believed that after death, the soul would travel from one planet to another in pursuit of perfection. That belief had started in the Enlightenment, and Flammarion kept it alive into the 20th century.

This belief is reflected in a piece of fiction he wrote, in which he describes a dead man named Lumen finding himself on a far world. Lumen arrives at a mountain, covered with palaces woven from trees, from which he can see the Sun and planets as distant stars. At the summit of the mountain town, 20 or 30 old men stand staring into the sky, criticizing the terrible human violence their magical eyes can see going on in Paris.

9 • Mormon Moon Men

0218_300pxMany tales relate to Mormon beliefs of life on other worlds, some more reliable than others. The most common, often put forward by critics of the church, is that Joseph Smith claimed that the Moon was inhabited. These Moon-men dressed like Quakers and lived for 1,000 years. The story was first told by a Mormon named Oliver Huntington, who’d written it in his journal in 1881.

It’s not a reliable record of what Smith believed, but it’s not implausible. Sermons from Joseph Smith’s brother Hyum in 1843 said: “Sun and Moon is inhabited.” Brigham Young, the church’s second president, preached in 1870 that there was “no question” that the Sun was made to give light to its own inhabitants, as well as to those on Earth and elsewhere.

8 • William Herschel

0316_300pxBritish scientist William Herschel is one of the most important astronomers in history. Among his discoveries were Uranus, several of Saturn’s moons, infrared radiation, and binary star systems. He was also obsessed with the idea of extraterrestrial life, particularly on the Moon.

In the 1770s, he wrote in his journal that he’d seen forests and pastures on the lunar surface. He later believed he’d seen canals and patches of vegetation. Yet it was craters that most caught Herschel’s imagination. He built the largest telescope in history to that point, and he saw perfectly round structures unlike anything anyone had seen before. He called them “circuses” and pondered “perhaps, then on the Moon every town is one very large Circus?”

Herschel’s thoughts on Lunarians (as he called them) weren’t known until after his death. Some of his contemporaries were less shy. Franz von Paula Gruituisen published three papers in the mid-1820s detailing the colossal buildings, animal tracks, roads, cities, and temples he’d found. Yet they all paled in comparison to the discoveries attributed to William Herschel’s son John, himself a famed astronomer, who was said to have built a telescope powerful enough to study lunar insects. Sadly, those claims were part of one of history’s most infamous hoaxes.

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Strange Lights in Mars Photos Are Not Alien Bonfires

Click image for larger view

Click image for larger view

By Nadia Drake via National Geographic

Recent photos taken by NASA’s Mars rover might appear to show a gleaming alien bonfire burning in the distance—at least according to some Internet loonies—but that’s not exactly what’s happening.

Fact is, there still isn’t any evidence for life on Mars. None.

MarsPhoto2_300pxThe provocative, shiny smears of light appear in two images snapped by rover Curiosity’s navigation camera, one on April 2 and the other on April 3, provoking excitement among some in the UFO-spotting crowd.

The photos come courtesy of the camera’s right eye and show nearly vertical bright smudges emerging from a spot near the horizon. Photos of the same spot shot by the camera’s left eye, meanwhile, show no such things.

Rather than emanating from an underground Martian disco, the bright spots are probably caused by cosmic rays colliding with the rover’s camera or by glinting rocks reflecting the Martian sunlight, said NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Justin Maki, lead imaging scientist for the Curiosity team.

He said that glimmers appearing in similar spots on two consecutive days are oddly coincidental.

Cosmic Rays

It turns out that both cosmic rays and glinting rocks are pretty common on Mars. They’ve been spotted before. Such rocks have been seen in images sent by several of NASA’s Mars rovers, and cosmic rays appear in images that Curiosity sends to Earth each week.

CosmicRays_225pxMaki said that one percent of those hundreds of weekly images might include cosmic ray-induced bright spots. But the junked-up pixels normally don’t cause much of a stir.

“You’ll see cosmic rays every two or three days. Certainly at least once a week,” Maki said. “The reason we see so many is because Mars’s atmosphere is thinner: It doesn’t block as much cosmic radiation as Earth’s does.”

Cosmic rays are charged particles that fly through the universe in every direction all the time. Every so often they’ll collide with something like a camera. One sign of a cosmic ray hit, Maki said, is the appearance of the ray in images taken by one of Curiosity’s eyes but not the other.

Glinting rocks, on the other hand, could easily reflect Martian sunlight.

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The Worlds Top 15 Conspiracy Theories of All Time

By Derik Bradshaw via Guardian Liberty Voice

Conspiracy theories have floated around for generations with new ones popping up all the time. Here is a list counting down the World’s 15 biggest conspiracy theories of all time.

15. Life on Mars and the Annunaki:

nibiru-and-arriving-anunnaki-lg_250pxEver since photo’s of Mars were taken from the Viking orbiter in 1976, the answer to the question of if there was life on Mars seems to be yes. Photos depicting an enormous face staring up from the surface proved to be eerie. The pictures also include a sphinx and a 5-sided pyramid. When Zecharia Sitchin released findings of tablets in what used to be Sumeria, Sitchin describes the writings telling of the Anunnaki, a superior alien race that came down and taught the Sumerians new technology.  Many speculate that the formations on Mars surface were built by the Anunnaki which also opened up the idea that the great pyramids were built by aliens using humans as slave workers.

14. Who really wrote the plays of Shakespeare?:

Since there is very little historical information about Shakespeare, conspiracy theorists believe that the actor could not have possibly written the plays but rather was used as the author to cover up the real identity of the brilliant poet. Many believe that Shakespeare himself could not of had the education to write such profound works. That the most plausible author could be either Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, Francis Bacon or Sir Walter Raleigh.

13. Vaccination and autism:

needle_175pxCelebrity Jenny McCarthy has fought this fight for years and even Robert Kennedy Jr. voiced his opinion saying the politician believes there is a conspiracy between scientists and the vaccine industry to hide the truth about the ingredients in vaccine shots. McCarthy has said that mother’s from all over the world who have children with autism have said for years that, “We vaccinated our baby and something happened.”

12. Digital television and subliminal advertising:

Many conspiracy theorists believe that cameras and microphones have been secretly built into televisions so that the government could spy on people. Another theory along with this one is that subliminal messages are being broadcast to influence the viewers with what the government and big industries want people to believe.

11. Global Warming:

Global warming has been a hot topic ever since Al Gore brought it to the world’s stage but many theorists believe this to be a ruse in order to control the populations way of life, raise taxes and intended to lead to more controlling, tyrannical government.

10. The Holocaust:

Holocaust_250pxBelieve it or not there are many theorists out there who believe that the Holocaust is a hoax. Conspiracy theories claim that the Nazis never murdered over 6 million Jews during World War II but claims of the Holocaust was conspired by the Jews to advance their own interests and to justify the creation of Israel. The deniers claim that any deaths which occurred in concentration camps were from starvation or disease and not because of Nazi policy to exterminate the Jews. The Diary of Anne Frank the conspiracy theorists believe is a forgery.

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Mystery of Mars ‘doughnut rock’ solved

(H/T: via skepticwars)

Scientists are baffled by the sudden appearance of a jelly doughnut-like rock that the Opportunity rover spotted in January 2014. These are images of the same location; the rock on the right was not there 12 days earlier. Researchers now believe the rover's wheels flicked the rock into its current spot.

Scientists are baffled by the sudden appearance of a jelly doughnut-like rock that the Opportunity rover spotted in January 2014. These are images of the same location; the rock on the right was not there 12 days earlier. Researchers now believe the rover’s wheels flicked the rock into its current spot.

By Elizabeth Landau via CNN.com

(CNN) — The “jelly doughnut” rock that seemed to appear out of nowhere on Mars last month did not fall out of an extraterrestrial pastry box.

The rock had been mysterious to scientists because Mars rover Opportunity photographed it in a spot where the rock had not been present just four days earlier. Steve Squyres, lead scientist of the Mars Exploration Rover mission, described it as a white rock with a dark red low spot in the middle. The rock, more than 1.5 inches wide, was named Pinnacle Island.

So where did it come from, then?

Drumroll please:

mars-marvin-the-martianResearchers now say Pinnacle Island is a piece of a larger rock, which Opportunity broke and moved with its wheel in early January. Further images from the rover reveal the original rock that the rover’s wheel must have struck.

“Once we moved Opportunity a short distance, after inspecting Pinnacle Island, we could see directly uphill an overturned rock that has the same unusual appearance,” said Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, deputy principal directory of Opportunity, in a statement. “We drove over it. We can see the track. That’s where Pinnacle Island came from.”

No, that’s not as exciting as if the rock had crawled into view on its own or been dropped there by aliens. But now that this puzzle has been solved, the rover team plans to drive Opportunity south and uphill to look at exposed rock layers on a slope.

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White House Denies CIA Teleported Obama to Mars

By Spencer Ackerman via Wired.com

transpoter03Forget Kenya. Never mind the secret madrassas. The sinister, shocking truth about Barack Obama’s past lies not in east Africa, but in outer space. As a young man in the early 1980s, Obama was part of a secret CIA project to explore Mars. The future president teleported there, along with the future head of Darpa.

That’s the assertion, at least, of a pair of self-proclaimed time-traveling, universe-exploring government agents. Andrew D. Basiago and William Stillings insist that they once served as “chrononauts” at Darpa’s behest, traversing the boundaries of time and space. They swear: A youthful Barack Obama was one of them.

Perhaps this all sounds fantastical, absurd, and more than a little nuts. We couldn’t agree more. That’s one of the reasons we love conspiracy theories  — the more awesomely insane, the better. Each week during 2012, when the Mayans tell us to expect the apocalypse, Danger Room will peel back a new layer of crazy to expose those oh-so-cleverly hidden machinations powering this doomed plane of existence. Welcome — back — to Tinfoil Tuesday.

According to Basiago and Stillings, Obama isn’t just lying about his identity. He’s lying about his military service record, too. While his political opponents in 2008 attacked him for never serving, in truth, he was concealing his participation in a hidden CIA intergalactic program hosted at a California community college in 1980.

Officially, the White House says Obama never went to Mars. “Only if you count watching Marvin the Martian,” Tommy Vietor, the spokesman for the National Security Council, tells Danger Room. But that’s exactly what a secret chrononaut wants you to believe.

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10 Astounding Examples of Pareidolia In Outer Space

Patrick Weidinger via Listverse

Ever look at clouds and see a rabbit or a dog?  Or pop out a piece of toast and see the partially burnt face of Jesus looking at you? 

This bizarre experience is called pareidolia—a psychological phenomenon whereby a sight or sound triggers something in your brain, persuading you that what you hear or see is something recognizable.

One well-known example of pareidolia involves seeing “the man in the moon”. But there are many more examples of pareidolia in space—and as our robots, spacecraft, and telescopes take more and more images, we’re discovering more space pareidolia daily. Here are ten of the most astounding examples:

10 • Horsehead Nebula – Orion

ic434_mtm_200pxOne of the oldest and most familiar examples of space pareidolia is the horsehead nebula, or Barnard 33, which is a cold and dark cloud of dust and gas silhouetted by the bright nebula IC 434. The Horsehead Nebula is located in the constellation Orion, and appears to be a side-on view of a horsehead.

First noted in 1888, it is 1,500 light years from Earth. The dark shadowing of the Horsehead Nebula is created by dust, but at the base of the nebula you can see bright spots which are young stars just being formed. The bright star just visible in the top left side of the horsehead is a young star still embedded in the stellar nursery of gas and dust. The radiation from this young star is so powerful that it s starting to erode the cloud – so millions of years in the future, the Horsehead Nebula may not bear any resemblance to its current form.

9 • The Face on Mars – Mars

pio_med_200pxAnother very well-known example of pareidolia in space is Cydonia Mensae, or “The Face on Mars”. On July 25, 1976, NASA released a series of images snapped by the Viking spacecraft orbiters. These images depicted the Cydonia Mensae region of Mars—a region of flat-topped mesa-like formations. The first image showed what appeared to be a human face looking skyward. This was originally dismissed as a trick of shadowing on the Martian rocks; a subsequent image, however, likewise showed what would become known as The Face on Mars—even with the sun at a different angle.

These images sparked decades of speculation about the possibility of life on Mars, and prompted talk of advanced civilizations which may have left behind giant, human-like memorials on the planet.

Twenty years later, however, Mars was visited by three more spacecraft which orbited the planet and took higher resolution images.  These better quality images proved that what appeared to be a giant statue of a human face was simply a normal Martian mountain, which—when seen with the correct shadowing and illumination—created pareidolia in the minds of the observers.

8 • Tinker Bell or The Space Hummingbird – Three Galaxies

eso0755a_200pxIn an amazing image captured by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope, we can observe the collision of three different galaxies. Most interestingly, we can note the effect that each of them is having on the others. As the three galaxies collided, they have twisted, stretched, and pulled one other into a recognizable shape.  Is it Tinker Bell or a Space Hummingbird?  Whichever you decide, it is certainly a beautiful image.

7 • The Elephant on Mars – Mars

Screen-Shot-2013-06-09-at-7.43.51-PM_200pxMars is home to many examples of pareidolia, largely due to the fact that—like the moon—it is so highly photographed. Either that, or Martians have just been busy creating human-like structures for such a very long time. You decide.

Another example is the “Elephant Face”, which resembles an elephant head in profile, complete with an eye and an elongated elephant trunk. The image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and was intended to capture a lava flow in Elysium Planitia.

6 • The Crowned Face – Mars

Screen-Shot-2013-06-09-at-7.45.11-PM_200pxIt seems to me that “The Face on Mars” looks more like the human alien in the film “Prometheus” than any real human. But another pareidolia on Mars, located in the Libya Montes region, looks more genuinely human.

It appears to be an almost classical Greek or Roman face, complete with a crown, and it is often imaginatively referred to as “The Crowned Face”. Remarkably, most people can “see” the Libya Montes face in many different kinds of light.

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‘Mars Rat’ Takes Internet by Storm

by Mike Wall via Space.com

A Mars rock that bears a passing resemblance to a rodent is scuttling across the Internet with gusto, even inspiring some fans to set up a Twitter account in its name.

UFO buffs spotted the purported “Mars rat” in a panoramic photo snapped in September 2012 by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Zooming in on a portion of the image reveals what appears to be a rodent crouching between two rocks, its nose to the ground.

Once seen, it cannot be unseen. The “Mars rat” captured by Curiosity’s lens.
CREDIT: NASA | View full size image

“It’s a cute rodent on Mars. Note its lighter-color upper and lower eyelids, its nose and cheek areas, its ear, its front leg and stomach,” Scott Waring wrote at UFO Sightings Daily back in December. “Looks similar to a squirrel camouflaged in the stones and sand by its colors.”

In an update to that post, Waring raised the possibility that NASA flew the rat/squirrel to Mars secretly, as part of an experiment testing out the Red Planet’s ability to support life as we know it.

“Why would they not tell us about it?” Waring wrote. “Because the squirrel would be expected to die eventually and that would get PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] to fight against them in a court of law.”

The Mars rat has now gone viral, jumping from the pages of UFO Sightings Daily to more mainstream publications such as Discovery News, Fox News and a host of other outlets (including, of course, SPACE.com).

The rodent has even picked up its own Twitter account, @RealMarsRat. Just 49 people were following the rat as of Friday afternoon (May 31), but that’s still pretty good for a rodent.

While some people seem to really believe that a squirrel is crawling around on the Red Planet (or was in September, anyway), the Mars rodent is actually an example of a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia.

Pareidolia refers to the tendency of the human brain to perceive animals or other familiar shapes in vague or random images. The phenomenon has fueled a great deal of excited speculation about the Red Planet over the years, most famously after some people saw a humanoid face on Mars in photos taken by NASA’s Viking 1 orbiter in 1976.

And just this March, UFO Sightings Daily reported that an apparent animal, perhaps a rat or a lizard, lurked in another one of Curiosity’s photos.

It’s highly unlikely that a rat, squirrel, lizard or any other organism could survive on the cold, dry Martian surface today, researchers say, though some scientists think the Red Planet may still be able to support microbial life in select underground pockets.

Things were likely different in Mars’ wetter and warmer past, however. Curiosity’s observations led mission scientists to announce earlier this year that microbes could have survived on the Red Planet billions of years ago.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on SPACE.com.

The Face on Mars

A great example of pareidolia

face-on-mars2

Via Relatively Interesting

Back in 1976, the Viking Orbiter 1 acquired some images of the Cydonia region of Mars as part of the search for a potential landing site for the Viking Lander 2.  One of the images included a shot of a region that looked remarkably similar to a face. The image was released to the public by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as part of their public relations effort.

Here it is:

face-on-mars_250px

Shortly after the images were released, some people (mostly in lay literature) argued that the face was artificially created, and that this was concrete evidence for either past or present intelligence on Mars. The rock formation looked so similar to a face – how could it not have been designed by an intelligent architect?

Some believe the face was created by Martians, others say it is a tomb, or part of an ancient city. Others believe that NASA is involved in a conspiracy to cover up the true nature of the Face – all part of a secret space program (then why would they have released the picture in the first place?).

Mac Tonnies goes so far as to say that the Face is a “genuine scientific enigma”. After NASA released new images of the Face in 1998, he claims that the “experts either don’t understand the workings of their own instruments or else feel somehow threatened by the Face’s enduring mystery.” (you can check out his very centered site here)

“Scientific enigma”, the Face is not.

Introducing…. Pareidolia

Humans – all humans – have an innate ability to detect patterns out of seemingly random noise. This ability is particularly strong when it comes to faces. As David Hume once said, “There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer every object, those qualities, with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious. We find human faces in the moon, armies in the clouds; and by a natural propensity, if not corrected by experience and reflection, ascribe malice or good will to everything, that hurts or pleases us.

This phenomenon – detecting something clear and distinct from an apparently obscure stimulus – is called “pareidolia“. Carl Sagan hypothesized that, as a survival technique, human beings are “hard-wired” from birth to identify the human face. This allows people to use only minimal details to recognize faces from a distance and in poor visibility but can also lead them to interpret random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces.

pareidolia-collage_600px

Pareidolia not only applies to the detection of faces, but also to the perception of religious imagery and themes. In 1978, a New Mexican woman found that the burn marks on her tortilla she had made appeared similar to the face of Jesus Christ. Thousands of people came to see the burnt tortilla. Do think that if Son of God wanted to be seen, he would appear on a tortilla? Or the Virgin Mary, on a grilled cheese sandwich? Wouldn’t they pick something a little more majestic?

Revisiting the Face on Mars

But first, let’s revisit the Face on Mars. Back in 1976, the imaging technology was inferior to today’s, and the resolution of the images was significantly lower. Even compared to 1998, the resolution of space images has increased dramatically. Let’s compare the Face from lowest to highest resolution:

MarsFaceComparison

The 1976 version sure does look like a face, and if you strain your eyes, you might still see a face in the 1998 version. But what about the 2001 version?  Not so much.

Let’s look even closer at the 2001 version, just to be sure . . .

MORE . . .

Conspiracy: The color of Mars is a government coverup!!!!

By Mason I. Bilderberg

Did you know Mars is NOT reddish in color? It’s true. It looks just like earth!!! Mars has earth colored soil and a beautiful blue sky – just like Hawaii!

I know this because it says so on this conspiracy website:

«This is very interesting. It may come as a surprise to many readers that Mars looks very much like Earth. It’s not red or orange – NASA applies a lens to tint the pictures or they release black and white photos… here’s a real color picture of Mars… blue sky and all… it gets to the point where you ask yourself “what does the government not lie about?”»

They included this image as proof:

marslike earth

Conspiracists believe Mars looks like earth, to include a blue sky – just like Hawaii! The real reason we believe Mars appears reddish is all part of a NASA/government conspiracy.

I can’t believe anybody would believe Mars looks like earth. But i’ll push forward simply for the entertainment value and because there is some interesting facts to be learned – stuff i didn’t know. I love everything space related.

Two facts about Mars:

• Why Does Mars Appear Red?

Mars often appears reddish due to a combination of the fact that its surface is comprised of iron-rich minerals that essentially rust (or oxidize) and that the dust made of these minerals is kicked up into the atmosphere, giving the atmosphere a reddish hue as well. [SOURCE]

• How Did Mars Get its Name?

Mars was named by the Romans for their god of war because of its red, bloodlike color. Other civilizations also named this planet from this attribute; for example, the Egyptians named it “Her Desher,” meaning “the red one.” [SOURCE]

So while the Romans and the Egyptians knew Mars appeared red simply by looking up into the night sky, today’s conspiracists insist our belief that Mars is red is actually a false belief perpetuated by a government coverup.

Maybe i am endowed with an abundance of common sense but couldn’t these conspiracists step outside their mother’s basement, look up into the night sky and see what Mars looks like to the naked eye? I’m just saying.

But i digress …

So i decided to pursue this absurdity to another level. I took the photo featured on the conspiracy website and i decided to find out where it came from. I found the original photo at the NASA website. It really wasn’t hard to find (Even a conspiracist could have found it). I then superimposed the conspiracy picture next to the original NASA photo. The conspiracy photo is on the left, the original NASA image is on the right:

Columbia_Hills_03_small

The conspiracy photo is on the left, the original NASA image is on the right. The NASA image confirms what even the Egyptians knew – Mars has a reddish appearance. So much for that Hawaiian vacation to Mars. [Image Source: (NASA)]

I added the phrases “False Color” and “True Color” to the above image because these are two terms used by NASA to describe how they color correct photos taken by their landers and satellites. They have good reasons for making different color corrections to their photos, but first, let’s understand how NASA calibrates the colors in these Mars photos:

Calibration Targets

via NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

When you adjust the color on your television set, you do so by picking something on the screen that you know should be a certain color (such as grass should be green) and you adjust your set accordingly. This is a form of calibration. You used the color of the grass as a reference point.sundial1_250 Instruments that go to Mars also need to be calibrated so that scientists receive accurate information. There has to be a known reference — a calibration target.

The rover’s calibration targets are objects with known properties. For example, the Pancam calibration target. It is in the shape of a sundial and is mounted on the rover deck. Pancam will image the sundial many times during the mission so that scientists can adjust the images they receive from Mars. They use the colored blocks in the corners of the sundial to calibrate the color in images of the martian landscape. Pictures of the shadows that are cast by the sundial’s center post allow scientists to properly adjust the brightness of each Pancam image. Children provided artwork for the sides of the base of the sundial.

Clapboard-ColorThis is the same process used by Hollywood movie makers. They use a device called a “clapper board” to mark the beginning of a scene or a “take.” I’m sure you’ve seen this used in the movies. Well, at the top of some clapper boards you will see a rainbow of colors. Like the Pancam calibration target on the Mars rover, the colors along the top of the clapper board provide a known color reference that can be used in post production by movie editors to ensure the colors in the final cut are “true” to what was recorded on the movie set.

Speaking of “true colors,” let’s get back to why NASA would choose to creat “false color” photos along with “true color” photos. It’s really not as mysterious as it might sound. Let’s start with a technical definition of both:

True Color

«An image is called a “true-color” image when it offers a natural color rendition, or when it comes close to it. This means that the colors of an object in an image appear to a human observer the same way as if this observer were to directly view the object: A green tree appears green in the image, a red apple red, a blue sky blue, and so on.[1]» [source]

False Color

«False color refers to a group of color rendering methods used to display images in color which were recorded in the visual or non-visual parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. A false-color image is an image that depicts an object in colors that differ from those a photograph (a “true-color” image) would show.» [source]

flir small

Forward looking infrared (FLIR) image.

Here is a classic example of a false color image: A forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera (the image to the right). By creating a representation of wavelengths normally invisible to the human eye, we are able to discern the different temperatures present in this scene.

But there are a multitude of reasons for creating false images. Sometimes colors are enhanced, or even added, to represent some characteristic in the image, such as chemical composition, velocity, distance or to simply enhance the differences between materials. Have you ever increased the contrast on your television or an image on your computer so you can better discern some detail? You’ve just created your own false image!!

The same goes for the moon and Mars. With both planets being mostly uniform in their respective colors, creating false images can help us distinguish something as simple as peaks and valleys. Here is an example using the moon:

MoonTrueFalse02

On the left side is the true color image of the far side of our moon, a mosaic constructed from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images. This is what you would see if you were to directly observe the terrain. Given the uniform color it is very difficult, if not impossible, to accurately judge the peaks and valleys.

On the right side is a false color image of the same side of our moon, a topographic map of the altitude of the Moon’s surface obtained by the Clementine orbiter mission (1994). Measurements made with a laser altimiter. Redder areas are higher, blue/purple areas lower. [source] (more Clementine images here)

In this instance a false color image was generated of the moon to provide a clear, visual representation of the lunar topography.

In the false color Mars image used at the conspiracy website, it’s very possible NASA color corrected the image for no other reason than to better distinguish the size, shape and locations of the rocks.

So to wrap things up, the bottom line is Mars is reddish in color and the moon appears gray. Period. End of story.

I guess my bigger question concerning this conspiracy is, why would the government have any interest in covering up the real color of Mars or the moon (yes, there is a conspiracy out there that the government is covering up the real color of the moon)? I suspect it has something to do with the belief Mars and the moon are actually inhabitable and the Mars/moon color coverup is part of the government’s alien/UFO coverup.

Unbelievable.

Conspiracy Source:

Research Sources:

MOLA-Mars Water_map_wblack_small

No, Mars is not colored like the land of Oz, this is a false color (blue) image created to
show where water ice is buried beneath the martian surface in this Mars Odyssey map. [source]
Click the image to view full size.

Curiosity Photos of Mars Teeming with ‘UFOs’ | Mars Anomalies

By: Natalie Wolchover via LifesLittleMysteries.com

According to the fringe sector of the Internet, Mars is practically teeming with aliens.

“Mars animal” spotted by one YouTube user.
CREDIT: YouTube | StephenHannardADGUK

Since NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down on the Red Planet two weeks ago and powered up its cameras, it has already managed to photograph several alleged UFOs and other “anomalies” in the surrounding landscape.

From classic flying saucers to an absurdly out-of-place fossilized human finger, here’s a rundown of what UFO believers claim to have found in Curiosity photos so far. [Gallery of Mars ‘UFO’ Photos]

Horizon anomaly (aka impact cloud)

Speculation about Martians in Curiosity’s midst got off to a running start when the very first sequence of photos taken by the rover raised questions. A hazy, distant object mysteriously appeared and then disappeared in consecutive images of the Martian horizon, perplexing even NASA scientists at first.

But the much-discussed “anomaly” turned out not to be a sign of alien activity, but rather the plume of dust kicked up by the sky crane that delivered the rover close to the Martian surface, then veered off and struck the ground some 2,000 feet (600 meters) away.

“We believe we’ve caught what is the descent stage impact on the Martian surface,” said NASA engineer Steven Sell, sky crane specialist on the Curiosity mission.

Flying saucers (aka dead pixels)

In footage posted to YouTube Aug. 18, user “StephenHannardADGUK” applies a series of filters to a Curiosity image of the nearby rim of Gale crater, revealing what he says are four flying saucer-like objects stationed in the sky. More than 700,000 people have since given the video a gander.

“Four objects caught by Mars Curiosity, very difficult to make out on original image so I have used a few filters to highlight,” he said in the video description. “What are these four objects? UFOs, Dust particles, or something else? As always you decide.”

Experts say the four “objects” are actually just dead pixels in the rover’s CCD camera — single points in the camera’s imager that have lost functionality and register as white.

Keep Reading: Curiosity Photos of Mars Teeming with ‘UFOs’ | Mars Anomalies | LifesLittleMysteries.com.

Mars Attacks! Well, Maybe… – An Assortment of Mars Conspiracies

By Patrick Fennelly via Who Forted? Magazine

Is there something on Mars they don’t want us to see, or is it just a big old red desert, as we’re led to believe?

Last week the latest in tip-top technology NASA have soldered together landed on the red planet safely in the latest bid to provide us earthlings with information from our neighbors. Yet, only moments after the Curiosity rover landed, the conspiracy world went abuzz once more with stories about the Martian landscape. Our intrepid robot explorer seemed to photograph a massive crash or explosion in the distance, sparking rumors that it was an alien craft that Curiosity had caught crashing into the Martian surface. But engineers were soon out with their pens and rulers and supercomputers trying to explain what the photographs had shown. And they came back with this explanation; the ‘explosion’ captured by Curiosity was actually its landing device, or ‘Sky Crane’ which helped to lower the rover into the Mars atmosphere, which had severed itself from Curiosity and purposely crash landed, some 2,000 feet away, in the distance, thus causing this pyramid shape of soil and debris flung into the air by the craft. The fact that gravity is 38% less of that on Earth was the reason that Curiosity managed to capture the event. Yet many scientists still claim that it was statistically impossible for the rover to capture its own crash landing. And so more doubt has been cast over what is really going down on the Martian surface, hmmm…

Of course, this isn’t the first theory that Mars was or is inhabited by some extraterrestrial beings. The theories go way back, and involve a whole plethora of dubious yet somewhat enthralling research and imagery, mainly thanks to our recent ‘human’ presence on the red planet. Of course this ‘research’ goes from being in the ‘hmm, that’s kind of interesting’ variety to the, ‘wow that person should be in a padded cell’, end of things. The classic example is the face on Mars in the Cydonia region of the planet as snapped by the Viking 1 Orbiter back in 1976, which has sparked many a debate surrounding the idea that our neighbor Mars was once inhabited. And then the monumentally less impressive ‘skull’ which was just laying about the surface, and not to mention the dead storm trooper that somehow strayed from his pals, a deserter of the Empire, perhaps. My personal favourite though, is what has been dubbed the Mars mermaid, or the ‘Woman of Mars’. What is more than likely an oddly weathered rock formation does look creepily like a woman pointing to something, but to what!? Sadly no follow up pictures were ever snapped, so we’re left wondering.

But it doesn’t end there, oh no. Near the ‘face’ in the same region, Cydonia, the Viking orbiter also photographed what appear to be pyramids.

more: Mars Attacks! Well, Maybe… – An Assortment of Mars Conspiracies | Who Forted? Magazine.

Martian Sighting? Strange Pics From Mars Rover Explained

Via TheBlaze.com.

Over the last couple days, UFO enthusiasts have rallied behind pictures of four orbs that were taken by NASA’s rover “Curiosity” on Mars. But as many of these UFO stories often come to pass, a reasonable explanation has been cited and it could be one that has even caused problems for photographers here on Earth. It’s called “dead pixels.”

The Washington Post reported the group Alien Disclosure Group believed that photos beamed back from Curiosity earlier this week could possibly have captured four flying saucers. They put together this video with all the image and it enhanced with different filters:

Gizmodo describes out what is being seen here …

Keep Reading:: ‘UFOs’ in Curiosity Picture Caused by ‘Dead Pixels’ According to Experts | Video | TheBlaze.com.

Latest Mars Hoax: Photo of Martian Double Sunset

via LifesLittleMysteries.com

The Martian dust has barely had time to settle after the landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover, and already the robotic vehicle has inadvertently generated multiple conspiracy theories and hoaxes. The latest is a fabricated photo of two suns setting on Mars.

As a member of the same solar system as Earth, Mars, of course, orbits a single sun. Nonetheless, the double sunset image, which was supposedly captured in the past few days by the Curiosity rover, has spread around the Web and is causing confusion about just what it could be showing.

If the two suns look oddly familiar, you might be a “Star Wars” fan. Turns out, the image is a photo of an actual Martian sunset taken by NASA’s Spirit rover in 2005 overlain with the double sunset that appears on the planet Tatooine in the film “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” (LucasFilm, 1977).

Keep Reading: Latest Mars Hoax: Photo of Martian Double Sunset | LifesLittleMysteries.com.

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