Monday, September 24, 2012

Did Gerry Soffen lie about the second orbit?

        Both Richard Hoagland and Mike Bara, those two untrained and unqualified pontificators on all things extraterrestrial (and in some cases terrestrial, too) have said more than once that Gerry Soffen, Chief Scientist of the highly successful Viking program of 1976, lied about the "Face on Mars" image captured on 25th July 1976 and first noticed by Tobias Owen.

photo credit: NASA


        Here's their story. Gerry showed the "Face" image -- Frame 35A72 -- to the press in the Von Karman auditorium, chuckled, and added "On the next orbit, it all went away. The feature looked quite different." This was when he called the mesa the oft-quoted "trick of light and shadow." Hoagland & Bara have said more than once that Gerry must have been lying, because by the time the Viking 1 orbiter came over that latitude again, Cydonia would have moved "hundreds of miles" due to the natural rotation of the planet. The orbiter was in a more or less polar orbit.

        They're thinking of a typical Earth-satellite situation, where the so-called "walk rate" is typically about 22.5° of longitude. The period of a low reconnaissance-type orbit is ~90 min, and (360° x 1.5)/24 = 22.5. However, the situation at Mars in 1976 was very, very different. The Martian day is 24.622 hours -- very similar to that of Earth. However, the Viking orbiter's orbit was much higher -- 1513 x 33,000 km, and its period was, guess what? 24.66 hours1. Almost the same as the rotation rate of the planet it was spinning around. Now the calculation is (360° x 24.66)/24.622. = 360.55°. In other words, the walk on Viking 1 was only 0.55°. That works out to only 25.3 km on the ground, at the sub-satellite point. The orbital camera could surely have re-photographed "Owen Mesa" with relative ease.

Gerry Soffen. Not a liar.
image credit: NASA

        I thought of this again today, listening to Mike Bara parading his ignorance around Internet radio once again, as he plugged his error-filled book on Paracast. He was complaining about the tyranny of what he called 'Googlepedia' -- the google-wikipedia axis that is, according to him, totally dominated by 'NASA Brownshirts' in matters of space technology. As an example he stated that he had more than once added a note about Gerry Soffen's lie to the Face on Mars wikipedia article, only to have his edit wiped out immediately by "NASA."

        One of the fine features of the wiki is the ability to reconstruct the entire edit history of any article, and indeed there's evidence of an attempt to insert such material at least once. At 03:57 on 27th July this year, somebody with IP address 213.152.225.82 inserted this text:

"He also added that a second image, taken hours later, shows no sign of the Face at all - to support his claim of the "light and shadow trickery". It was a lie as the mentioned "second image" taken "hours later" never existed - the orbiter was imaging completely different part of the planet at that point."

        The edit was reverted at 07:48 by an editor called Dougweller, with the comment "find a reliable source first." Here's Dougweller's personal page -- I see no indication whatsoever that he has any connection with NASA. Here's a list of his edits -- he seems to be interested in the Queen of Sheba, and Edinburgh Academy.

        I do a little wiki-editing myself, and I've been known to gnash my teeth somewhat about "citation nazis." The geek-comic xkcd had fun with them, too, a while back.

image credit: xkcd

        But really, it isn't that arduous. The point is that anything that would be likely to be challenged by other editors must be accompanied by a citation from a reliable source.

        Mike Bara isn't a reliable source. And now for the really bad news -- he revealed on Paracast that he has a contract for his next book, Ancient Aliens on Mars. Oh no, here we go again........

==========================
[1] Viking 1 Orbiter Mission Profile

32 comments:

Chris Lopes said...

While I admit that an "Ancient and Aliens on Mars" is an assault on truth in general and scientific truth in particular, I have to admit that the idea of Bara once again stealing the bread off of Hoagland's table is amusing.

Quick question though, is it possible the new contract could be canceled if the current book fails?

expat said...

I imagine so, yes.

Chris Lopes said...

I asked because I think that's a distinct possibility. As I said on another thread, Mike is not the story teller that Hoagie is. His book is beginning to sound more and more like warmed over DM.

jourget said...

Chris, you're right that Bara definitely isn't the storyTELLER that Hoagland is, but he can probably be considered the better storyWRITER of the pair. RCH can spin a verbal yarn that gets the faithful all excited about the amazing revelations he can offer (at least, he could in the old days). But give him a computer keyboard, and he gets bogged down in a mess of ellipses and italics and capitalization and incoherent pseudoscientific gobbledygook. "The Monuments of Mars" is a mess, with interjections of semi-fiction and anecdotes about how Hoagland was personal best buddies with this or that politician or scientist. I think Bara's writing was why Dark Mission got off the ground in the first place.

I don't know how the relationship originally started, but Bara can write a coherent narrative better than Hoagland; maybe that's why he was responsible for so much of the material on enterprisemission.com for so many years. Don't get me wrong; Bara still writes horribly. But in a RELATIVE sense, I think Bara's the writer and Hoagland's the orator.

All of which supports your point even more. Now that Bara's put his word processor to work for his own bank account, Hoagland is really out to dry, especially as he's not being given the chance to speak on Coast to Coast as much these days. It's delicious that Hoagland is experiencing his own taste of what it feels like when someone steals your work, and he's stuck trying to fumble together his long-promised follow-up book on his own.

Misti Parker said...

A perfect example of the dubious veracity of photographs as evidence. Without an eye witness photographer to fully explain the images, it's a total waste of tax payer dollars. Especially, when NASA refuses to open the archives as a public library to tax paying United States American citizens who shelled out for the crap.

Misti Parker said...

Which brings up the assertion that Hoagland has made on more than one occasion: Are the astronauts under a sworn oath of secrecy?

expat said...

>>Are the astronauts under a sworn oath of secrecy?<<

I think technically the answer would have to be Yes. Certainly all Shuttle astronauts had to have security clearance because, as is very well known, a dozen or so of the 135 Shuttle missions were classified. Also any astronaut in orbit is liable to overfly, and possibly photograph, installations that US Govt does not want seen. Such photographs might well be totally innocuous in intent.

It's very easy to imagine that astronauts returning to Earth submit their personal cameras to vetting by security personnel. If anything is snipped out I daresay they are obliged by contract not to make that public. If you want to call that a "sworn oath of secrecy" I'd say you're being melodramatic but there's some small degree of truth.

expat said...

Bara made a real fool of himself on Paracast by saying that Democratic Presidents were anti-space.

Possibly he's too young to understand that LBJ was the greatest friend NASA ever had. Who do you think gave them the 1,620 acres of land in Clear Lake TX to build their mission control center? Why is it called the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, perlease?

expat said...

I heard Bara on C2C all through and I congratulate Stuart for getting on the air and making a couple of good points. Since it was all the same stuff as I just got through reviewing in the Kindle edition, I don't propose to post a written review of the radio show. Chris, if you heard it and want to guest-review it, I'll post it.

P.S. Ya gotta love his excuse for not paying attention to the LROC images. "The Sun angle is too high to see the artifacts." WAAAAAAAAA....

Trekker said...

Expat, can you give us at least an idea of what Stuart asked, and how Mike responded?

expat said...

His first question was "What would it take to falsify your claim that the Call of Duty image shows a genuine ziggurat?" Mike responded that he'd have to have a photo-print (NOT a digital) that's been out of NASA's hands for decades, and didn't show it. He was obviously thinking in terms of Ken Johnston's collection and I'd like to ask him why he doesn't just ask Johnston to inspect that frame.

2nd question was why trust the Call of Duty image rather than the much better more modern images? Bara waffled on that one -- on the Japanese image in particular. He apparently has only looked at the online thumbnail, never downloaded the better image.

Trekker said...

OK, thanks for that! Was Noory convinced?

expat said...

Well, Stuart & I have just been discussing that on skype. We both think Noory was pretty fair -- unusually so. He specifically said to Mike that his critics have a right to express themselves. But as for Noory's own opinion, I don't think he even has one.

Trekker said...

Lol! Actually, there's a summary of Mike's appearance on the Coast website today: http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2012/09/24

Why don't you post a link to your last blog on one of the comments to the Amazon reviews? I'm sure a lot of people would appreciate a 'page by page' analysis of the errors.

Anonymous said...

I think I've found my favorite part of the C2C appearance. It starts around 1:40:30. Mike is explaining how he came across the ziggurat.

"I remembered [the ziggy] from the 1990s, I'd seen this thing before. And I remember it very specifically. And I think at one time I actually had a version of that on one of my computers, but that was, jeez, 1994, 95, 96*, very early days of the internet and you know how many computers have I gone through since then I don't even know. And I'd lost it..."

*so much for remembering it very specifically.

"Now some people have said that it was - uh, some of my, you know, harsher critics who cyber stalk me and follow me around like a, like maniacs - have said that it was put out by somebody named KK Samurai, who was a guy who put a bunch of stuff out in the uh in the late 90s and they claim he's a hoaxer, but first of all, I don't ever remember him ever hoaxing anything, um, that I can recall, specifically saying, that I can say 'oh yah he faked it.' Number two, um, I saw it before he ever put it out if he ever did put it out and I don't really remember him ever putting it out."

I don't remember him putting it out, but I saw it before he did. Huh?

Anonymous said...

The fact that he has published a fake photo in his book clearly shows he is into deceiving the public. You don't have to prove anything to him, and a debate with him is pointless, as he knows he is lying. Bara wants money. Who cares if his book is full of lies and nonsense? He knows hes lying, and he doesn't care. Bara is not worth the time or effort.

expat said...

Thanks for the partial transcript. Mike is one confused puppy.

Binaryspellbook said...

The fair Lady Robin of Cydonia has been cleaning up Sir Dick's page. She had this to say...

Robin Falkov shared a link.
Sunday near Albuquerque, NM
Ok Guys!! Richard is busy working.... you know that thing people do so they can pay their bills! BUT!!! If you want to see Richard, get yourselves to Los Angeles for The Conscious Life Expo at the LAX Airport Hilton from October 5-7, 2012. We hope to see you there!
http://consciouslifeexpo.com/october-2012-expo/october-2012-home-page.html

....Then someone hacked her account and started swearing like a trooper....shit, and I fucking missed it...bastard!!!!!

Trekker said...

Binary, this is one of the pseudo-Robins that popped up:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fanpage-of-the-fantastic-Robin-Faklov/243229729133046

Binaryspellbook said...

Haha Trekker. But It wasn't me.

Binaryspellbook said...

Mikey boy on C2C

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN54bp_Z85U

Dr Robbins at 2:22:00 approx. And boy does Mikey sound ruffled.

Strahlungsamt said...

Looks like Hoagie's slipping up. He hasn't cleaned this off his site since Sept 15th. It's now Sept 25th.
Maybe he is dead after all.

Stay Tuned.....

https://www.facebook.com/notes/richard-c-hoagland/reaction-to-air-france-flight-447/82677009340

Frank Rom THIS IS BULL SHIT.. SHIT... HE CAN PUT STUFF ON HIS BULL SHIT SITE http://www.enterprisemission.com/ WHAT THE FUCK IS HE WAITNG FOR? MORE MONEY FROM YOU?
September 15 at 6:08am · Like

Strahlungsamt said...

Another insightful post from Mikey.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151445043188709&set=a.68786388708.95223.605893708&type=1

Keep it classy Mike.

Binaryspellbook said...

Cant see the link Strah, me being banned for the hideous crime of being mathematically literate.

Biological_Unit said...

It doesn't help Mikey that Ken Johnston is silent.

expat said...

Stuart has now compiled the crucial 7 minutes from last night:

http://podcast.sjrdesign.net/media/C2CAM.20120924H4.2530+0705.mp3

Strahlungsamt said...

Binary,

[pic of Katie Sackhoff (of Battlestar Galactica) kissing another girl]

Mike Bara
As a Battlestar geek, I have to admit that this picture gave me a frakkin' tingler! — with Katee Sackhoff.
Like · Share · Sunday

Mike Bara It doesn't matter if Katees in to it; I am! ;)
Sunday at 3:56am · Like · 1


I wonder how much of Mikey's advance on AAOTM gone on Vegas strippers already?

Binaryspellbook said...

Cheers Expat,

Mike almost shat himself unconscious at the prospect of Dr Robbins being a guest on C2C. Earlier on in the show, before Stuart called in, Noory mentioned getting Dr Robbins on, and Mike immediately said, "I won't listen." - Now that's a man running scared.

Binaryspellbook said...

Cheers Strahl, That is so typical of Mikey. The ugly fat twat that never got the lassie, now basking in minor celebrity status, and living the wretched life of a spotty teenager in his fifties. Truly repugnant.

Trekker said...

Binary, you've also obviously missed the photos he posted of himself after a night on the tiles.

He's barely able to stand up or keep his eyes open in the first one, and is being propped up by a young woman. In the other, that young woman's boyfriend looks on as Mikey slobbers all over her.

For someone who's just published a book and expects it to be taken seriously, he's not doing himself any favours with that sort of self-incriminating behaviour.

Binaryspellbook said...

Oh gawd, he's such a weasel. This is a man that his fans think is on a "higher vibrational density" than those of us who understand why light cannot, (as Mikey believes) penetrate the deepest oceans and be reflected back from the ocean floor and into space.

So there you have it Trekker me ole mate. You are a "lower vibrational density being." Just like me, and Expat, and Astroguy, and Nev and.....lol

Chris Lopes said...

Binary,
You have to admit, the word "dense" does come into play when describing Bara.

Expat,
I'm sorry, but I really don't have the stomach to listen to the 3 hours of sanity-free radio that is Bara's C2C performance.