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A visit to a crater near the non-face on Mars

Glacial erosion features inside crater
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on March 12, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It looks down at small six-mile-wide Apt crater in the northern lowland plains of Mars located at about 40 degrees north latitude. The image’s focus were the layers on the crater interior rim as well as the eroded glacial features on the crater’s floor. The color strip suggests [pdf] that the bluish material on the north-facing south interior rim and floor are likely icy, while the tan-colored material seen in the crater’s north half are likely dusty.

While the suggestion of glacial material on the crater’s interior is very typical for many craters in the mid-latitudes, what makes this crater of interest is its location, only a short few miles south of that mesa on Mars that for decades the shallow-minded insisted was a face and proof of an alien Martian civilization.

overview map

On the overview map to the right the black dot marks the location of that non-face on Mars, which has been imaged now at high resolution numerous times, and shown unequivocally to be nothing more than an ordinary mesa. The white dot just below it, only a few miles away, is the subject crater above.

The region the crater is in is dubbed Cydonia, the unusual geography of which helped encourage the many wild theories about Martian civilizations during the past few decades. As I noted in a post about Cydonia in March 2021,

Cydonia sits mostly in the northern lowlands. Though the region has many knobs and mesas that resemble the chaos terrain like the glacier country in Deuteronilus Mensae to the east, much of its chaos appears to be in its final stages of erosion, so that it is more a plain of small knobs and mesas than a region of cross-cutting canyons with large mesas in-between. Thus if there is buried ice here, rather than finding it in glaciers flowing off mesas it is more probably locked in underground ice sheets, as suggested in the lower right of today’s cool image.

Apparently, based on the image above, the craters in Cydonia do have glacial features.

The non-face on Mars
Click for full image.

Now for Mars’ nearby non-face, shown in the image to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, and taken on April 5, 2007 by MRO’s high resolution camera. As one of the first images of the “face” taken by MRO, it confirmed what Mars Global Surveyor had already proven years before, that this is nothing more than a mesa.

However, looking at the mesa with the knowledge we now have of the large amount of glacial material found in the mid-latitudes, the features on it now make some sense. Notice for example the broken layers on the mesa’s north side. These suggest glacial material, as if a corroding glacier is resting against that slope. Anyone who has been to Glacial National Park will recognize the features.

The color strip also reinforces this conclusion. Like the crater above, the tan colors on the mesa’s top suggest dust and dirt, while those glacial-like slope features have bluish tones that suggest the presence of ice.

The face on Mars was not a face, but it now reveals something about Mars that for future colonists that is quite significant. There is water here, accessible for the future human Martians to drink.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Shallow Minded Reader

    This shallow minded reader would appreciate a 3rd party not associated with NASA or Malin doing a proper re-image of the face and releasing the unaltered data to the public.

    Also, I guess I’m too shallow to contribute to Behind the Black again.

  • Chris Lopes

    Yes, because everyone who has sent probes to Mars (USA,USSR/Russia, China, India, Japan, UAE, and ESA) is lying about what’s at Cydonia. The entire space industrial complex has decided it’s in their best interests to hide the truth from us. Yada, yada, yada.

  • George C

    I see a bulldog; a rabbit and the head of a bear.

  • Jeff Wright

    I see an opportunity for Musk here. Have Coast-to-Coast AM raise funds for a big rover atop a Falcon Heavy…. and have it go where Hoagland wants…JPL gets a side feed for a change.

    Cydonia may not be of much interest to the planetary scientists-but it is one additional asset they can inherit once the Face-believers are bored…declared ‘victory’ or whatever…. and Musk gets rid of end of life cores he wouldn’t sell to a legit customer, especially after Starship is in service. Not all cores can go to museums…but if they can-fine. This could start a trend. Everybody wins.

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