"Well, just when you thought the whole space program was going down in a blaze of glorious apathy, we're given this little tidbit from NASA, and I hope you're paying attention:

Honing in on landing site for new Mars Rover

Let's stop and notice again what was just said. First, there's this:

"Curiosity -- NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mobile robot -- will investigate the red planet's past or present ability to sustain microbial life and will examine ideal soil and rock sample targets for collection and analysis."

Then,  there's this:

"NASA's new Mars probe, a $2.5 billion, nuclear-powered rover the size of a small car, is at the Florida launch site being prepared for its nine-month journey to the red planet, with one key issue still unresolved -- where to land."

So what do we have? We have three things, and some interesting implications implied by them:

1) The probe is nuclear-powered, meaning that it is deliberately intended to be a long term mission,  beyond the 5-7 years of life that our last Mars probe had. This in itself is significant, for it means NASA is indeed committed - albeit quietly - to a prolonged study and search for evidence of life on Mars, whether past or present;

2) NASA says it is still debating where to land the $2.5 billion dollar robotic probe.  Uh huh... this is one that in all honesty didn't make sense to me. While I can readily believe scientists and engineers debating where to attempt to land, what  I have difficulty believing is that this debate continues this late in the game.

This raises some area for speculation, and I emphasize, that it is wild speculation and a slim, very slim, possibility, but it at least bears mentioning. Mars has, as most people who have followed the history of its robotic exploration, more than its fair share of dubious "accidents", the most famous, or infamous, being the Soviet Phobos II probe.  The question is, interference from whom?

3) Note what is really the purpose of the mission: to find whether Mars had, has, or has the ability to sustain, microbial life. I rather suspect NASA knows the answer to that already. The fact that the probe is nuclear powered, that its camera is on a seven foot extendable "mast" indicates to me the possibility that NASA is looking for more than just experiments with confirming life... that it may be looking for, or at, something else, and that with its nuclear power, it may be sent on long journeys to "see what we can see."

Now, let's go a bit further, for it appears that the selection is on Gale as the front-runner for the landing:

Gale crater reported front-runner for MSL landing site

Look carefully at the picture...and we'll talk on the flip side...

Posted in

Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. marcos anthony toledo on July 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I just wish that NASA would come clean on what they have really discovered on the other planets in the solar system for once and not go on lying to us we paid for this and would help in their funding before Congress.

  2. MattB on July 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Greenish glass in the samples they bring back……anyone?

  3. Mike M on July 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I know this may be a tangential question to ask, but what radioactive element and what isatope are they using to fuel the rover? There was no mention of it in the article and it seems like it would be a key element in making this whole operation work. Not only does the fuel determine the longevity of the mission, but it can also, if proper shielding is not provided, squew the results of experiments of the mission. Now the other point of interest for me was, the rover is approximated to the size of a car, now to push a vehicle that size along for an extended period of time, you was a system that is resilient to abuse and potential hazards of rough terain and with a powerhouse capable of high output. The specifics of this story seem to be to obscure…

    • Joseph P. Farrell on July 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      I agree…the specifics leave a lot to be desired.

  4. HAL838 on July 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    In the upper left hand corner I noticed a long sharp-edged form
    that did NOT look natural.
    I don’t know how high up the picture is.

    Obviously, your friend Hoagland finds Mars very intriguing.

    I also feel that this is for public consumption and probably a load of crap.
    More distraction for what’s really going on, on THIS planet!

  5. Angry of Hawthorn on July 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Lots of obfuscation (as always) but there is a lot of geometry there (yes, Hoagie would be interested). What is the ‘X’ marking the spot just down to the left of the drawing on the photo?
    We need to get JP Skipper on to it!

  6. Sean on July 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    It sure doesn’t look like any of the smaller craters surrounding it. I’m no expert, but could it be part of the Martian “grid” system? Mars’ Giza pyramid perhaps?

  7. Mr. J on July 14, 2011 at 8:36 am

    ummm, so it also shoots lasers to vaporize rocks up to 30 feet away?? wha?!!!

  8. James on July 14, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Straight lines….. Honing……. Who says there is not humor and double entendre when necessary…

  9. Linda on July 14, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Some curiously straight lines there……”look for geometry,” as Hoagland would say.

    If I look at the big picture, kind of pentagon shaped, wouldn’t you say?

    How do ‘craters’ get that shape from an impact…..

    • Linda on July 14, 2011 at 9:38 am

      Interesting choice of words:

      “Gale is characteristic of a family of craters that were filled, buried and exhumed, and will provide insights into an important Martian process.”

      Did wind do all of the filling and burying, (So, was it filled in and then buried and what is the difference between the two?)

      But exhumed? Is that a term you’d use for the wind digging something back up? How does the wind get in the crater and “exhume” it?

      Or is this really scientific terminology for natural, geological processes?

      Gotta stop picking at word choices….

  10. Citizen Quasar on July 14, 2011 at 6:48 am

    2a) Well they NASA COULD just land the thing at Cydonia. But there might only be evidence of macroscopic life there and Curiosity is to look for microbial life; the instrumentation might not be able to detect Carl Sagan’s turtle.

    I suspect that the reason that the landing site is still unresolved is a cover for something else, or perhaps to avoid revealing it until the very last…for some reason.

    2b) Whom? Well certainly NOT HAARP. HAARP can’t shoot that far.

    3) NASA is looking for something over, above, inside a hole, or otherwise not normally accessible.

    1) Yep. Want to make sure there is enough gas in the tank to last half the time to half find half life.

  11. James on July 14, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Facetnating find.

  12. Mike Meehan on July 14, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Do I discern within the crater photo a potential area of smudging/painting out? Compared with the rest of the terrain there appears to be a rather smooth and pale area (consistent with subtle ‘changes’ in reproduction)?

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