Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mike Bara gets it wrong at Conscious Life

        Appearing on the Ancient Aliens panel at the recent Conscious Life Expo in Los Angeles, Mike Bara spent most of his allotted time simply plugging his horrible books and his laughable TV shows.

        He did, however, jump in when somebody in the audience asked about the mysterious right-angle feature on the Moon. This was first noticed by a vlogger called wowforreeel, then reported by HuffPo. It's the same one Stuart Robbins asked me about when he interviewed me for his 100th podcast. Here's the image wowforreeel noticed:

        Now here's the crater as seen by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's narrow angle camera. The sun angle is almost the opposite of what it was for the Google Moon image.

 Here it is with brightness reduced and contrast boosted a bit.

          It's at 22.6900°N, 142.6134°E and here's a permalink to the LRO map.

In his remarks, Mike Bara got just about everything wrong as usual. It starts at 12:55 on this video.

"Yeah, it's interesting. They're pixel artifacts I think at this point. They're digital artifacts from the way Google Moon compresses everything. But it's really interesting because if you look at that crater, that crater actually has -- if you look at high-resolution pictures of it -- it actually has, like, a chevron type shape. To me it's a chevron shape, right? It has that embedded in it and that's really unusual because the reality is, every crater on the Moon should be circular. How do you get that? Oh they have all these complex theories about the underlying bedrock -- you know, cooled in a certain way, but it just doesn't... it looks a little weird. It looks like there's some weird stuff going on there, and you've gotta understand... this is the back side, where I found some really interesting stuff, and also the fact is is that what they... They have limited resources on all these orbiters. So if they're taking really high resolution images of the area -- which they did of that particular area -- Google Earth doesn't give you them, it compresses it a little bit. They were interested in something there. That's why they took the picture. I mean there's this thing... I had a big dispute with people last year, it was in Ancient Aliens on the Moon, I called it the Daedalus Ziggurat. [It] looks like a ziggurat, near the crater Daedalus on the back side of the Moon. And -- you know -- they tried to photograph it with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It's funny 'cos the guys were saying I'm full of it... I'm full of shit is what they were saying. You know, they're like "Well yeah we tried to take a picture of this area" well they missed it. Either they missed it or they didn't show us that part of the photograph, but they tried to take a picture of it, so that tells you there's something interesting there, otherwise they wouldn't be wasting the orbiter resources on it."

How doth Mike Bara err? Let me count the ways.

* The artifact is from mosaicing (also called stitching,) not compression. Update: That may not be as wrong as I thought when I first wrote it. A credible theory by Mick West (see comments below) ascribes this phenom to a badly-applied sharpening algorithm.

* The crater is not chevron-shaped.

* There is nothing "weird" about it.

* No, every crater on the Moon does not have to be circular. Craters are elongated  if the angle of impact is small. Lunar terrain sometimes shifts because of volcanism. Check out this baby.

* The reference to "Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter" was a slip of the tongue, OK, no biggie.

* The problem with the so-called ziggurat is not that LRO tried to image it but missed, but that it doesn't exist. Here's the image it would have appeared on if it was there. Mike Bara's arrogance does not allow him to admit that he's wrong, so he retreats to an untenable position.

* Bara has still not explained why the "ziggurat" is not seen on the Japanese image from Selene (Kaguya).

* It is totally untrue that somebody must have had a special interest in that area "otherwise they wouldn't be wasting the orbiter resources on it." LRO is engaged in mapping the entire Moon. As long as it's in orbit, no additional resources are needed to capture images. That applies equally to the "ziggurat" and the "mystery right-angle" (which by the way is 96° not 90.) Huge swaths of boring, featureless, lunar real estate have been photographed at a resolution of 0.5 metres/pixel.


Trekker said...

Schiller is another good example of an elongated lunar crater:

astroguy said...

Problem with that image is that it's not orthorectified to show all the other craters as circles.

expat said...

Something's gone a bit amiss with the ACT-REACT quick map. It seems not to be ortho-rectifying at the moment.

Trekker said...

Or orthographically rectifying, as George Haas would put it!

The Quick Map has changed layout since I last looked at it. You used to be able to look at polar projections, but I can't find that now.

Anonymous said...

I was looking around bookface a while back, at pages about Mars and moon anomalies etc and you would not believe the amount of people who have ZERO F**KING CLUE about how google moon/mars software are made and the data errors that occur. It never ceases to amaze me how unbelievably dumb people are, the absolute lack of intelligence and critical thinking when they religiously defend "ufo bases" as proven-beyond-doubt by being shown on pieces of software. I wish it really was a ufo base and then the aliens could come and abduct the dumbest 90% of the population and dump them in the far end of the universe.

expat said...

Image processing expert Mick West has posted a demo illustrating his idea that the seven dots are the result of mis-applying a sharpening algorithm, plus imposing an incorrect day/night cycle. I think it's pretty convincing. Good work.