Monday, September 8, 2014

Refacing the face on Mars, by Mike Bara

        Mike Bara took dishonesty to new heights today, posting to his blog under that title, and pretending to make a solid scientific case for the face. I'm here to refute that case point by point.

        Starting as he intends to go on, namely to tell half-truths, Bara offers this progression of historic images of the "face."

image credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. Ariz./ESA

        From left to right, we have the Viking Orbiter image (1976, ~250 m/px), the Mars Global Surveyor image (2001, ~2 m/px) and the ESA Mars Express composite (22 July 2006, 13.7 m/px). Can you guess what's missing? Yes, of course, it's the best-ever image taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on 5 April 2007 with a resolution of 0.25 m/px. Here it is in the non-map-projected gray scale version, rotated and cropped:

image credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. Ariz.

        So now that we have the best evidence before us, as opposed to Mike Bara's deliberately degraded evidence, let's look at his claims.

"[I]t rests on a bi-laterally symmetrical platform, it has two aligned eye sockets, the tip of the nose is the tallest point on the structure, there are two clearly defined nostrils in the nose, the west eye socket is shaped like a human eye including a tear duct, there is a spherical pupil in the eye, there are geometric, cell-like structures around the eye, the two halves of the Face make up two distinct visages when mirrored, one human, one feline."

bi-laterally symmetrical platform
No. The mesa is quite symmetrical about a N-S axis, perhaps remarkably so, but it is not symmetrical about the E-W axis. The NW and NE corners are much more squared than the SW and SE corners. A child could see that.

two aligned eye sockets
Not at all. There's what looks like a highly eroded crater in approximately the position for a western eye, but nothing comparable on the other side. Look.

If by "eye socket" he means that approx 90° arc over to the right, it's actually a slump line and not matched on the other side, so that won't do.

the tip of the nose is the tallest point on the structure
It does not appear so in the Mars Express 3-D representation. A knob in the forehead area seems much taller.

there are two clearly defined nostrils in the nose
There's not even a nose, let alone clearly defined nostrils. Look -- ever seen a nose looking like that?

the west eye socket is shaped like a human eye including a tear duct
No it isn't. See third image.

there is a spherical pupil in the eye
No there isn't.

there are geometric, cell-like structures around the eye
No there are not. The structures to the East of the "eye" are far from geometric.

the two halves of the Face make up two distinct visages when mirrored, one human, one feline.
That was sort-of true of the MGS image at ~2 m/px. Now that we have an image that is four times better, it is seen to be an illusion.

...and by the way...
I notice he has nothing  to say about the mouth, and the teeth that were once said to be "obvious." Even the totally science-ignorant Mike Bara has given up on those, apparently.

More dishonesty
Bara references an article by Dr Phil Plait in, and writes of Plait:

"He's a well established, inveterate liar who never argues science, logic or facts, but rather prefers to use the time honored debunking techniques of character assassination and personal attack."

THE ONE AND ONLY reference to anyone by name in Plait's piece is this:

"Mostly the idea was promoted by Richard Hoagland, about whom I’ve pretty much said everything there needs to be said."

In Bara's blogpost, we find this:

"For some reason last week, Phil "Dr. Phil" Plait, that grotesque little toad of a man, decided to bring up the Face on Mars."

Later, he characterizes the Slate piece as "just an opinion, and we all know what opinions are like, don't we?" He then posts a picture of Phil Plait, captioned "Opinion..." The clear insinuation is that Phil Plait is an asshole.

This totally fits the pattern of personal attack. Attack BY Bara ON his critics, NOT the other way round.


Dee said...

Good stuff. Although to be fair I always thought the .25m/px image was the one where people could indeed witness some feline features. Or at least I could :-) It remains one of the most remarkable comeback in TEM history: changing the notion of "human face" into a theory of half face with all the distortions of a human-man blend. Now if they would have started with the idea of finding such half faces, a priori! It's still a cool concept and could have been argued to be related to some of the usage of felines in ancient Egypt in terms of mysteries, social status, cults and religion (not very well documented at TEM at all). But to bring it up after the face lost most of its symmetry and humanity... is plain deceptive! More foxy than lionesque after all :-)

Chris Lopes said...

Has anyone ever determined the actual age of the face?

James Concannon said...

Another feature we no longer hear about is the "headdress." I guess those gullible boys Hoagland & Bara (plus all the rednecks over at the Hidden Mission Forum) have finally understood that it was all created by data drop-outs.

astroguy said...

Chris– With no definitive superposed craters, no, you can't, and it wouldn't be an accurate age anyway because of all the mass wasting.

But even if we did, that's not going to convince them. Their cratering model is completely different from the standard chronology because Mars was a moon of Planet V and it got blasted in the southern hemisphere when Planet V exploded (which of course is contrary to the Mars tidal model which they also espouse, because each requires a different equator).