Mars and July 2000 -- Knowledge Denied
by Marshall Masters

May 7, 2000
(Updated May 11, 2000)


Planet MarsMy last article with TMG was on March 20, 2000 when I co-authored, Mars and July 2000 -- Chain of Events, with Steve Russell. Following our release of that article, Steve published UPI vs. the NASA Spinmeisters Why Was Spin Necessary In The First Place? on March 26, 2000.

Steve has the unique ability to see beyond the machinations of the of spinmeisters. I published one of his spin analysis articles on my site at titled, Egypt Air Flight 990 Ė Death of a Story on December 5, 1999. One thing I learned about Steve is that when he says "there is smoke there," you darn well know that there is fire there as well.

The question I had to ask myself is, "has or is the government suppressing critical information about the planet Mars?" So I began a private search to see if there was a real secret fire below the smoke Steve spoke of in his article, UPI vs. the NASA The conclusion I reached floored me. Of all the many articles I've written for TMG, I consider what you are about to read as being my most important contribution.

After rereading Steve's last article it became clear to me that I would have to take special care in regard to secrecy and timing in writing this new paper.

In terms of secrecy, all of the correspondence of TMG M-Core members and writers is closely scrutinized by the government. We know this and regretfully accept the fact of this ongoing abridgment of our constitutional rights.. This is life with big brother. However, I didn't want to tip my hand to the spinmeisters this time, as I've always had to do in the past. For this reason, I knew I'd not only have to do this one alone, but that if this article was to get even a few days of breathing room before the onslaught of the spinmeisters, I would have to throw them off track. I did this by injecting the TMG M-Core group into a heated discussion about Global Warming, which has subsequently dominated our internal discussions since then. Given that our internal discussions are being closely monitored, this article should come come as surprise to them. To my colleagues at TMG, I offer my apologies for the deception. I'm sure that you can understand.

As to timing, there is a reason why I chose to wait this long. I have become all too familiar with how our government relies on itís trusty spin machine, and I knew the date of May 5, 2000 would have a huge bullís eye on it. To have published what this article before on on May 5, 2000 would have given the government an easy way to deep-six what Iím about to say. So, now that the government spin about May 5, 2000 is wrapping fresh fish in Chicago, letís get to the heart of the matter.

Marshall Masters

A Publicly Funded Box Seat

Mars and 76/P76/P is headed towards Mars at this very moment and we cannot see it because all of this is happening on the other side of our sun right now. But those in power have a publicly funded box seat at what could be the event of the century.

All of this has brought me to the following conclusions:

OK, so you say I'm off my nut. My elevator isn't going all the way up to the top. I'm not playing with a full deck. Fine, but if you claim to be fair minded then read on. And if you're not, then all I can say is "hi guys, long time no see."

Let's begin with three little snippets from the press coverage of these "failed" missions to Mars.


JPL, September 23, 1999

NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter is believed to be lost due to a suspected navigation error. Early this morning at about 2 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time the orbiter fired its main engine to go into orbit around the planet. All the information coming from the spacecraft leading up to that point looked normal. The engine burn began as planned five minutes before the spacecraft passed behind the planet as seen from Earth. Flight controllers did not detect a signal when the spacecraft was expected to come out from behind the planet.

CNN, December 13, 1999
Mars Reconsidered

Two fiascoes in a row
may force NASA to rethink the idea that
faster, cheaper spacecraft are always better


With the Mars Polar Lander all but written off as a total loss, and the catastrophic failure of the Mars Climate Orbiter three months earlier, NASA is fast becoming the Dan Quayle of government agencies. Late-night comics have been roasting it mercilessly, while the Washington Post offered a Top 10 list of NASA excuses for the latest fiasco. (No. 10: Be patient. Mars Lander is trying to dial in on an AOL account.) Some cyberpranksters offered the Polar Lander for sale on eBay and got 16 bids.

CNN, January 26, 2000
NASA, Stanford Wait for Mars Lander to Phone Home
(CNN) -- After determining that a weak signal could have come from the Mars Polar Lander radios, scientists with NASA and Stanford University will listen Wednesday for signs that the wayward spacecraft might somehow be alive and operating.


CNN, February 16, 2000
Mars Polar LanderPASADENA, California
(CNN) -- Scientists waiting for a call from the lost Mars Polar Lander may have heard a wrong number. Radio signals that offered hope the Polar Lander was phoning home most likely did not come from the spacecraft, NASA said Wednesday. The $165 million Polar Lander has not been heard from since December 3, the day it was supposed to land on the red planet.

So why these three clippings? The first press release from JPL was a classic cover your ass (CYA) press release. While they are kind to themselves, you'll soon see that JPL is not so gentle with those they wish to muzzle. The second is pure Clintonian spin (the Dan Quayle pun is a dead giveaway) designed to humiliate NASA, and of course CNN is playing along like a trained seal. The third release tells us two things: First the signal is coming from the direction of Mars, and secondly it is obviously artificial and not cosmic background hiss. The fourth news release is the one that started me down the road of this analysis. It says that the signal detected in January is not from either Mars probe, but it does not say that the signal is not artificial. OK, so where does that leave us:

Another Explanation -- The Probes May Have Been Hijacked

In the late 90's I worked on a civilian satellite project for Lockheed. The system I worked on, was based on the KH-1 spy satellite and admittedly used ancient technology. The civilian operations never get their hands on the really sexy stuff, but I'm told that it all "kind of works the same".

Two of my projects at Lockheed involved designing system installation guides for satellite monitoring and control ground stations, and the publishing of quality assurance procedure manuals for flight control software. My third project at Lockhheed, however, was most the most interesting. It revolved around a mundane looking device called a Front End Processor (FEP).

In simple terms, the FEP is the go-between the digital based communication system used by the ground control computers, and the analog carrier wave type broadcast communication signal used to communicate that information from the ground to the space vehicle. The FEP also handles the encryption, and deincryption routing for the system as well.

Part of my FEP assignment was to document every single step in the ground- to-vehicle, and vehicle-to-ground communication process, from the moment a flight controller pushed the enter key on his or her UNIX workstation, to the moment that workstation flashed an acknowledgment message from the flight computer or payload computer onboard the space craft.

Security is a prime concern with satellites and for this reason messages are sent in the clear (uncoded) only in times of dire emergency. Otherwise, all communications are encrypted in a manner similar to the one you use when purchasing products online with your credit card. The difference is that the encryption methods used with space vehicles makes the German Enigma code of WWII look like a Dick and Jane Reader.

When I read that the faint radio signals could not be identified, what became obvious to me was the possibility that a secondary, backup telemetry, or health and status link on one of the space vehicles was still working, but that the vehicle's own encryption key had been changed by it's "new owners", thereby making the signal unrecognizable to the NASA ground controllers. This is because a signal from any space vehicle with an unknown encryption key will come across as indecipherable gibberish. This is what threw the NASA controllers. While they could obviously trace the source of the signal as coming from the direction of Mars, they could not decipher it because they no longer held the right encryption key.

My guess (and the operative word is "guess") is that both of these vehicles are now under the command and control of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). A intelligence agency that represents the best of of the intelligence branches from all services. This would be necessary as the NRO is the only intelligence agency that could bring all the services into line, and to avoid any spill-over from accidental interceptions of ongoing classified communications between the Earth and these supposedly lost Mars space probes. In terms of the hands-on mission control, that is most likely in the hands of the U.S. Space Command, as their capability to monitor and control these craft exceeds that of NASA's.

Why Would Our Government Go to All This Trouble?

Those already in power know that there is life on Mars. Should that become public knowledge it threatens their very ability to control a populace that doesn't want to turn away from it's comfortable life style. But the kicker here is that this is an old story and not as recent as the spinmeisters would like for you to think.

The next time you go the bookstore, I recommend you buy a book titled, Dead Mars, Dying Earth by plasma physicist John E. Brandenburg, Ph. D., and Monica Aix Paxson. Brandenburg and his colleagues have been fighting tooth-and-nail with NASA/JPL for twenty years to resolve the mystery of the Cydonia "face" on Mars. He is a former nuclear weapons designer and is currently working in the Fusion energy research area and has done an exemplary job of analyzing the issue of Global Warming from every angle. His book Dead Mars, Dying Earth is about Global Warming. But he carefully weaves the story of Mars and of the government's ongoing suppression of the truth -- there is life on Mars.

Before proceeding, let me make it painfully clear that I am not trying to say anything specific about the Cydonia "face" on Mars or the issue of Global Warming. What I hope to present with the following comments and quotes from Brandenburg's book is a clear pattern of fear of the real truth and suppression of said truth by the powers that be.

I will now lay it out, step-by-step in eight acts. Draw your own conclusions.


The possibility that life could exist on Mars was already known before the Viking Lander ever touched down, and contingency plans had already been laid out to suppress any evidence, while giving the appearance of a open process.

"The following day was equally auspicious for JPL, when the first color images (from the Viking Lander) were received. As a crowd surrounded the monitor, the colors of the Martian landscape displayed themselves like an Arizona picture postcard: Bright sunlight, blue sky flecked with hints of high clouds, reddish-brown soil and gray rocks.

View of Mars by VK1Amid the celebration, a very perplexed, newly graduated high school student named Ron Levin sat at a console at JPL. For over two hours Ron watched with the other as color images came in. Ron, the son of Dr. Gilbert Levin, a scientist connect with one of the tests aboard the lander, was fascinated. Like the rest of us, Ron saw the "blue sky" of Mars in the first color image. Unlike us, Ron also saw subsequent images of rocks with greenish patches on them.

While he watched, a Viking imaging team technician adjusted the colour control on every monitor in the laboratory, increasing the red channel so that the sky lost its blue tint and the color of all the rocks shifted from an earthly reddish-brown to an unearthly, deep rusty-red hue. When Ron attempted to adjust the monitors back to the original settings, he was told he'd be ejected from JPL if he persisted. To this day, Ron, now Dr. Ron Levin, physicist, makes it clear that, in his considerable estimation, there was no scientific justification for the adjustment in color."


Soil samples from Chryse on Mars shows that the soil holds free oxygen and is very chemically active. This discovery raises the specter of life on Mars. The discovery of life on Mars runs contrary to JPL's own economic interests, and is raising a great deal of "future funding" concern. If life is discovered, the bulk of future funding will go to NASA not JPL.

"While life experiments were being performed at Chryse and arguments about the life tests raged on Earth, Viking A was still orbiting, taking swaths of pictures as part of the search for an alternative landing site - Cydonia. Five days after the landing in Chryse, it was completing its survey. Without so much as a blink of its mechanical eye, the camera systematically scanned the Martian surface, and recording the information digitally, it took a picture of something curious.

Cydonia Face by Viking A

The curious picture was discovered by Tobias Owen, a member of the NASA imaging team, while searching the Mars landscape with a magnifying glass for the perfect landing place. On frame 35A72, the 72nd frame taken on orbit 35 of the A spacecraft, something astonishing appeared, something that looked like a "face," a humanoid face that seemed to be carved into a mesa nearly a mile across."

The Cydonia face image, was immediately released by Harold Masursky before the JPL spinmeisters could contain it (remember Chuck Shramek and the whole companion report? Chuck went out of the normal channels and was systematically put down). JPL then moved in to quash the story. According to Dr. Soffen of JPL:

"It was therefore announced to the press corps that Viking A had taken another image a few hours after the first, and in this image the "face" had disappeared, so it was obviously a trick of "light and shadow." The image 35A72 had been taken at local sunset in Cydonia, and thus any image afterward would have shown only darkness. But no one in the pressroom could have known this, so the second announcement was accepted without question. Although this misrepresentation would fuel conspiracy theories for decades, the immediate problem was temporarily fixed. The second announcement gave reassuring closure to the Cydonia matter, even if it was not accurate."

Following this, Dr. Gilbert Levin and one of his team members, Robert Jastrow declare that the results of the Labeled Release (LR) performed by the Viking Lander proved the existence of life on Mars. The LR test was designed by Dr. Levin.

The LR test was one of three performed by the lander. JPL used the results of another test, the gas chromatograph which was designed to test for the presence of organic chemicals. The LR test was designed to look for life. According to the gas chromatograph, the Martian soil was sterile and this was used by the JPL spinmeisters to sweep away Levin's findings under the carpet.

It is interesting to note that the same exact results have been found in the Antarctic where, the LR test returned a positive result for life in soil deemed sterile by gas chromatograph test results. However in these cases, laboratory analysis showed that the LR test was correct, and that the gas chromatograph had returned a false-negative in terms of the existence of life in the most frigid areas of our own planet.


NASA scientists Vince DiPietro and Gregg Molenaar of the Goddard Space Flight Center discover that the Cydonia "face" has never been analyzed. They get permission from a NASA computer center administrator to use an obsolete computer system to conduct their analysis of the "face."

In order to study the images sent back from the Viking A, they develop a new method of image analysis that is widely used today called Starburst Pixel Interleaving Technique (SPIT).


The cover-up by Dr. Soffen of JPL is unmasked as a bold lie to American taxpayers and the world.

" they (Molenaar and DiPietro) stared at the the enlarged image of the now familiar "face," they were overcome by a desire for further verification. They had to find another image.

Driven by the need for more information, Vince (DiPietro)began to scourer the Viking data looking for the "second image." After a month of systematic review in his spare time he finally did find a second high resolution image of the "face." It had been taken a full 35 days later and verified all the details seen in the first image. Taken from a slightly different sun angle, there were other details as well. Vince had doubt that there really was a feature on the surface of Mars that looked like a a "face." It had not disappeared. He ordered a tape of this second image from JPL immediately.

Although Vince was excited to find another image that confirmed the presence of the unusual feature, he was still worried. What had happened to the image that Dr. Soffen claimed showed that the "face" had vanished under different lighting conditions a few hours after the first one? In time he (Vince DiPietro) would learn that there was no such image in the archive because no second picture had been taken on the day the announcement had been made. Night had fallen on Cydonia after image number 35A72 was transmitted to Earth, so the "face" on Mars was covered by darkness for many hours after that."


Mars  TodayBrandenberg joins forces with DiPietro and Molenaar and in 1990 they jointly publish the Cydonian Hypothesis, which hypothesized that Mars had possessed an Earth-like climate and biology for approximately 4 billion years. Brandenburg, J.E., DiPietro, V., and Molenaar, G., "The Cydonian hypothesis," Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1991.

They also hypothesized that the "face" was 500 million years old based on an impact crater dating method developed by William Hartmann, and that the planet had suffered an Extinction Level Impact Event some 1.5 million years ago.


In 1993, NASA asks Brandenberg to help develop a Mars mission plan for it's new Clementine class of deep space probes. Shortly afterwards, the decision as to what to do with the probe is assigned to a committee. In order to get approval for what had been a "go" for a NASA mission to Mars, Brandenberg had to present a proposal to the "committee."

Clementine Space Craft"Suddenly, when the decision was assigned to committee, a committee composed of mostly JPL and ex-JPL people, our hearts sank. We were not even going to be allowed to present our own case, even that was going to be done by JPL. The outcome was as ludicrous as it was predictable" the committee decided to build a clone of the MO and re-launch it to Mars."

The significance of this "committee" decision was to use the legacy technology of the MO series, as opposed to the leading edge technology of the Clementine. Had a Clementine probe been sent to Mars as NASA wanted, it's onboard camera (unlike that of previous Mars probes) would have more than enough image resolution to resolve the Cydonia "face" issue once an for all. Nothing happens until JPL is given full control of the next mission to Mars, the Mars Global Surveyor, and NASA is sidelined to pick up the crumbs.


With the support of a huge public interest in the Cydonia "face", NASA convinces JPL to image the "face" with the MGS. JPL acquiesces, but only one man controls the imaging process. Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, California, a private contractor is given all rights to the control of the camera for the first six months of the mission. Keeping in mind that MGS was a publicly funded mission, this means that the government gave Malin full and unfettered control of the MGS camera for six months. One wonders what promises Malin made in secret to obtain such a wonderful plum. The answer is Malin's openly hostile position on the Cydonia "face."

"like the life experiments on the Viking, the re-imaging of Cydonia was pronounced a fool's errand by many scientists who had never seriously looked at the data. When the image of the "face" was finally taken, it was under very awkward conditions, as different as it was possible to image from those under which the first two images had been taken in 1976."

At the time the image was being downloaded from the MGS, Vince DePietro and Brandenberg were returning to their hotel room and unavailable for comment at the MGS mission control center.

"We returned to our hotel late and heard on the news that the new image of the face had been taken and had already been pronounced as just an eroded mesa - as Malin and other detractors had been saying for over two decades. Like a nightmarish replay of the rush to scientific judgment that had been made in July 1976 when the feature had first been discovered, an unscientific rush to instant summary judgment had overwhelmed any possibility for careful analysis of the new data.

Vince and I tried to download the image from the NASA Internet site to a laptop with little success."


According to Malin et. al., the Cydonia face was a "pile of rubble," which resulted in weeks of humiliating spin for Brandenberg and his associates as a flood of government spin authoritatively decried the Cydonia "face" as a artificial object. However, a close look at Malin's imaging of the Cydonia face revealed that it had been intentionally sabotaged by Malin.

"When JPL released the first new Cydonia image, it had its right and left borders reversed and had such poor contrast that it looked like a footprint in a snowbank. Its ineptitude would have produced a fail mark in any entry-level college image-processing class. One expert on the onboard camera system (used by the MGS) commented that it appeared that the "gain" had been set low to acquire the image."

It was later determined by careful analysis of all the other Malin MGS Mars imagery that the only time Malin used a low gain setting was during the imaging of the Cydonia "face." All other imaging, including that just prior to, and immediately after the imaging of the Cydonia "face" was accomplished with significantly higher gain settings.

The net result was an image that was so poor that it earned the title of "the catbox image." However, further analysis also showed that:

"The catbox image, according to one of our measurements was skewed 17 degrees in the vertical plane and 20 in the horizontal plane, and had such poor contrast that it made the 600-ft-high mesa on which the "face" resided look like a sand dune."

Views from Malin Web Site

Please note that the image to the far left was from the original Viking mission. The two images to the right were published by Malin on his JPL web site.

Dr. Mark Carlotto, a renown computer imaging scientist analyzed the Malin images against those of the original Viking images.

"Soon we had computer simulations of the Viking data rotated and illuminated under the same conditions as the MGS image of the face. It was a nearly perfect match. In addition, we had a rotation of the MGS image as a three-dimensional object so that it would appear as viewed from above. Carlotto found that the object was 92-99 percent symmetric."

A fitting note on this comes when Brandenberg and his colleagues present their latest Cydonia finding at a American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference. The JPL manager who had originally proclaimed to the world that the Cydonia "face" was a pile of rubble according to Malin's sabotaged imagery looked keenly at the scientific paper they had posted. He became furious, and physically assaulted Vince DiPietro in a fit of rage.

We All Must Share This Knowledge!

My first and foremost point of regret in all this is that we, the people of the Earth will forever be denied knowledge that could forever change our lives for the better. If we learn that Mars met an end that could also befall us given our present status quo, then those changes will be filtered if not outrightly prevented, by those in power, with "our best interests at heart."

My second saddest point in all of this is that a lot of good careers are being trashed at NASA for no other reason than to serve as fodder for a Machiavellian smoke screen. To these dedicated men and women, I say "I know that we seldom agree, but I also know how hard it is to watch a lifetime of work be trashed for no good reason, other than giving Jay Leno a few more rating points. Please don't loose faith in your abilities, and dreams. We are depending upon you."

My third point of regret is the Fourth Estate. I can remember a time when the average newspaper man was a grizzled codger with a stogie clenched between his lips and the guts to buck the establishment on behalf of the common man. We knew these guys were on our side.

Today's journalists, however, live more like wealthy middle-aged men in the midst of a boy toy mid-life crisis. They laugh at Clinton's press club jokes and E-Trade spoof videos with childish delight. How sad it is to see that our noble gentlemen and ladies of the press now perform like trained seals for their corporate masters as well as for those whom they have the responsibility of monitoring.

What we've paid for and deserve is straight honest information from our government. If we do nothing we know for certain that we'll never get it, and our future will be the worse for it. But, if we keep raising these flags of discontentment there is odd chance that we may just get lucky.

Marshall Masters

The Millennium Group Mars Exploration Propositions:

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UPI vs. the NASA Spinmeisters
Why Was Spin Necessary In The First Place?

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Mars and July 2000 -- Chain of Events
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March 20, 2000

Mars and July 2000 -- Life or Death?
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Mission to Mars? Is Mars Facing A Comet Hit In May?
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Purchase the book referenced in the article:

Dead Mars, Dying Earth
by John E., Dr Brandenberg, Monica Rix Paxson, John E. Brandenburg, Steve Corrick (Editor)

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