April 12, 1998
Editor: Joseph Trainor
On Sunday, April 5, 1998, at 12:39 a.m. Pacific time, the Mars Global Surveyor, beginning its 220th orbit, aimed its camera at the surface and took a new photograph of the mysterious "Face" on Mars.
The "Face" is located at 40.8 degrees North and 9.6 degrees West on Mars. It was late morning in Cydonia at the time, with the sun in the southeast.
Controlled from the Malin Space Sciences System (MSSS) facility in San Diego, California, the spacecraft's Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) shot a high resolution photo of 14.1 feet (4.3 meters) per pixel. This was about ten times better resolution than the Viking photo of September 1976.
The new MOC photo encompasses an area measuring 25.7 miles (41.5 kilometers) long and 2.7 miles (4.4 kilometers) wide.
The photo was processed at the MSSS facility following its arrival on Monday, April 6, at 9:15 a.m. It was then downloaded to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Cal.
"The famous 'Face on Mars' thought by some to be the work of an alien civilization, appears to be nothing more than natural ridges and craters."
The photo "shows the features to be simply 'erosional remnants' of rock shaped either by wind or water, said Alden Albee, project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory." (See USA Today for April 7, 1998, page A-3, "NASA: Mars 'face" just a pile or rocks.")
Release of the new Cydonia photo touched off a fierce debate among scientists.
"The formation in the image beamed back to Earth from the Mars Global Surveyor and released Monday looks like everything from a sandal print to a stuffed chili pepper--everything, that is, but a face."
"'It's a mesa, a butte, a knob,' said Michael Ravine, advanced projects manager at Malin Space Sciences Systems..."It's a natural formation. I hope this has scotched this thing for good." (NASA news release for April 8, 1997)
But Richard C. Hoagland of the Enterprise Mission, a space research group based in New Mexico, "said too much data had been stripped from the picture in enhancing it and the result was too poor in quality to draw conclusions." (see USA Today, April 7, 1998)
"It's like looking at a TV with a bunch of snow on it," Hoagland said.
Michael Carr, a geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Cal., said, "The area photographed is in a transition zone between an old cratered area and newer low-lying northerly plains. Knobs of rock from the old formation poke up in the plains, and this is one of them."
The debate over the Face has raged on the Internet all week, with no sign of letting up anytime soon.
(Editor's Comment: I saw the new photo at the Malin site, and I tend to agree with the geologist. The Face is clearly an uplift feature. However, the extreme weathering of the butte/mesa was clearly caused by water, not wind, erosion. Also, that type of weathering shows that the Face mesa consists of sedimentary, not igneous, rock. All of which deepens the mystery of Mars. What happened to the oceans/seas/lakes in which the Cydonia sedimentary formations were laid down millions of years ago?)
According to an article in the Spanish language magazine Enigmas, by author Iker Jimenez, the famous Spanish ufologist Antonio Ribera claims to have made contact with an alien back in 1930.
According to Spanish ufologist Pedro P. Canto, "Ribera, 78 years old," claimed that the incident "happened in 1930 when (he was) in his room in Barcelona."
"There appeared a very potent green light" without any visible source, Canto reported. Ten-year-old Antonio then saw "a short-statured being, corpulent and quadruped." The boy could not "distinguish arms, thorax or legs...Ribera did not feel any fear but rather amazement and curiosity."
The alien reportedly told Ribera that space- traveling species such as his had begun an era of "quiet contact" with selected humans.
In the article, Ribera, the author of 40 books on UFOs in Spanish, is quoted as saying, "It was as if someone had extended to me the knowledge--to speak up for the people's right to know that this exists."
Barcelona is the largest city in Spain's Catalonia region, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, located about 425 kilometers (255 miles) east of Madrid. (Muchas gracias a Pedro P. Canto para esas noticias.)
(Editor's Note: I consulted that "Prince of Saucerers," Charles Fort, and came up with two UFO-related incidents for 1930. Here they are:
April 28, 1930 - During an eclipse of the sun, Dr. H.M. Jeffries at Lick Obervatory spotted an anomalous shadow "five miles broad" on the moon. See the Los Angeles Evening Herald for April 28, 1930.
December 25, 1930 - Tremendous "meteor" seen and heard in southern Idaho. "The crash, heard for miles, was described as 'like an earthquake.'" See the Idaho Statesman of Pocatello, Idaho for December 26, 1930.
See also THE COMPLETE BOOKS OF CHARLES FORT, Dover Press, 1974, pages 725 and 832.)
On Friday, March 27, 1998, at 2:40 a.m. Honolulu time, a mysterious explosion of bluish-white light, accompanied by a roaring sound, lit up the night sky west of the Hawaiian Islands.
On Oahu, the explosion was seen by dozens of people at Waimea, Waialua and Kawailoa Beach.
On Maui, police received reports from witnesses in Lahaina, Honokowai, Puukolu and Honokahua.
On Hawaii, or the "Big Island," as locals call it, the flash was seen by witnesses from Upolu Point south to Kailua Kona.
A pilot for Aloha Airlines "witnessed the object while in the sky. He was obviously very excited and very moved by the experience. He said the object came within two miles of his (cargo) plane and lit up the entire sky...He said it created an increase in temperature that was felt by everyone in the cabin."
On the Big Island, Lana Kirkwood "was awake, sitting in her living room, reading a book" at 2:40 a.m. "when suddenly 'the whole sky lit up--a big flash of white light that lasted about three seconds' and was then followed 'by a big sound like a thunderbolt but there was no storm.'" The explosive roar lasted for an estimated four to five seconds.
Ms. Kirkwood "thought it was an earthquake or a volcano about to explode."
"Big Island police said the light, which was seen in all districts of the island, made the night sky as bright as day."
The U.S. Coast Guard identified the object as "a big meteor" and said it had "determined the source of the light after an investigation." (See the newspaper West Hawaii Today for March 29, 1998. Many thanks to Joan Ocean for forwarding the news story.)
On Sunday, April 5, 1998, Ms. Kathy D. and her stepdaughter were driving south on Highway 9 in Louisiana, from Junction City (population 749) on the Arkansas state line to Homer, La. (population 4,152) when they spotted something unusual in the sky.
"We noticed a strange reflection in the sky," Kathy reported. "At first I thought this was the sun reflecting off an aircraft. But after looking at the object I could tell it was no airplane. It was a sphere, that I at first believed was a weather balloon. But when it began to move randomly, I knew that it was not a weather balloon."
"I pointed it out to my step-daughter, and we both watched it disappear."
"In a matter of ten to fifteen seconds, the object reappeared ahead of us...It moved away from us, turning toward the left and traveling at what seemed to be great speed. It then disappeared again, and we didn't see it again...I have never witnessed anything like this before." (Many thanks to Tim Hagemeister of NACOMM for this report.)
On Tuesday, March 31, 1998, at 7:10 p.m., a 17-year-old boy was playing baseball with his friends in LaGrange, Georgia (population 25,597) when he witnessed the sudden flyby of a large saucer.
According to investigator John Thompson of MUFON, the witness "was facing northeast and saw a large white disc-shaped UFO fly by very fast. The UFO climbed at a steep 70-degree angle and disappeared behind a large cloud at blinding speed. The egg- or plate-shaped UFO was about a mile away and an apparent size (at that distance--J.T.) of three inches. It shot across the sky to the north in a second or less. The other boys did not see the UFO."
Thompson said he believes this saucer to be the same UFO seen in July 1997 and by LaGrange High School students camping out in September 1997.
"I believe this giant UFO is regularly penetrating airspace over the Troup/Heard (County) corridor in western Georgia," Thompson said. "Before darting away, it creates a large flash, as it breaks into light speed. When loitering, it flies well below the 2,500-foot radar ceiling so that the FAA in Atlanta and Columbus can't 'track' it."
LaGrange is 64 miles (106 kilometers) southwest of Atlanta. (See Filer's Files #14 for 1998. Many thanks to John Thompson and George A. Filer of MUFON for this report.)
On Monday, April 6, 1998, investigator Clint Stone of Kentucky MUFON spotted a UFO while skywatching in Henderson (population 25,945), a small city on the Ohio River about 144 miles (230 kilometers) west of Louisville.
"I observed an UFO that had a color of white light and and a flashing red one," Clint reported, having scanned the night sky from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. "It was coming from the south with a light in the middle and two more white ones on the right side. It was heading northwest (towards Indiana--J.T.) when it suddenly changed course to due east. It was almost as if it made a right-angle (90 degree) turn to fly over my head."
The UFO's lights made "erratic motions...chasing each other like Christmas lights," he reported. "The colored lights were followed by a very fast bluish-white light that only flashed every ten seconds. The white/red light soon sped out in front of the bluish-white light as it headed off in the distance. Soon after a total of three lights were seen heading in the same direction. All had no sound." (See Filer's Files #14 for 1998. Many thanks to Clint Stone and George A. Filer of MUFON for this report.)
(Editor's Note: Henderson, Kentucky is right across the Ohio River from Evansville, Indiana, the center of the big UFO flap two weeks ago.)
On Friday afternoon, April 3, 1998, salesman James Rickert, 26, was having lunch with about a dozen colleagues at a restaurant in downtown Fairfax, Virginia (population 17,622) when they suddenly spotted a UFO.
Fairfax is ten miles (16 kilometers) southwest of Washington, D.C., near the Capitol's Beltway.
"I was eating outside on a porch at the restaurant with 12 co-workers," Rickert reported. "Three of us at one table and many others eating at the restaurant saw a green orb in the sky. It moved along quickly and steadily for about ten seconds, going across the sky, then disappeared. Forty people outside also saw it. A few dismissed it as a shooting star. Those of us who saw it longer know that it was not. It glowed green and was cigar-shaped." (See Filer's Files #14 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer of MUFON for this news story.)
Two UFO sightings were reported near Adelaide, South Australia (S.A.) last week.
On Thursday, April 2, 1998, at 11 p.m., residents of Mallala, S.A., located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Adelaide, "reported sighting a flashing light in the northern sky. The illumination flashed each time for about 21 seconds, and it was about 70 degrees above the horizon."
On Saturday, April 4, 1998, at 4 a.m., witnesses near Durrem, S.A. reported seeing "a large white illumination 'in a holding pattern' (hovering) above a paddock" located "25 kilometers (15 miles) from the nearest township." While the UFO hovered over the paddock, "small red lights came out of the ground and rose up into the larger illumination." (Many thanks to Ross Dowe and the Australia-New Zealand 24-Hour UFO Hotline for these reports.)
On Saturday, March 14, 1998, several students at Taman Orkid, near Mingguan in the Southeast Asian county of Malaysia "saw an object like a saucer."
The boys, ranging in age from 11 to 14, said the UFO "was at a distance of 100 meters (330 feet) and about the size of two cars."
Mohd Firdaus Rashid, age 12, said, "The saucer seemed to have a light on its rear...The saucer beamed its light at us a few times, and when all its lights flashed, it flew away into the sky."
Rashid and six companions were playing near the mosque when they sighted the saucer hovering nearby.
Mohd Nazrin Ozali, age 11, said "the color of the craft was grey. The saucer did not rotate, and we saw four wings and a light beam onto a field."
Ihsan Ibrahim, age 12, said they lost sight of the UFO when it retreated behind a hill. (See the newspaper Alor Star of Kedah, Malaysia for March 15, 1998. Many thanks to Steve Wilson and Skywatch International for this report.)
Black helicopters were sighted recently at two UFO sites on either side of the Atlantic.
On Tuesday, March 24, 1998, at 7:30 p.m., Peter Gann was "approaching the last mini-roundabout on Strathaven county road" in East Kilbride, Scotland when he sighted one. "The chopper was visibly black and hovering over the fields and factories in the area. It had the shape of a--don't laugh--Airwolf chopper on TV and was either dark grey or black in colour."
East Kilbride, located 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Glasgow, has been the center of a UFO flap since December 1997.
On January 25, 1998, a Greenhills man reported, "My sighting is of a large black helicopter, and it was only a hundred yards from my window. I could see the rotor blade quite clearly...It was big, it was black, and it did have unusual lighting." (Many thanks to Dave Ledger for this report.)
Here in the USA, two black helicopter sightings were reported in mid-March near Salisbury, North Carolina (population 23,087), a town on Highway 29 about 115 miles (184 kilometers) west of Raleigh.
On Friday, March 13, 1998, witnesses on Bringle Ferry Road spotted a black helicopter hovering over the area where local resident Thomas Moon saw a triangular UFO the night of January 30th.
On Saturday, March 14, 1998, ufologists Stefan Duncan and Jamie Maness spotted a black helicopter flying over High Rock Lake, east of Salisbury. Their sighting took place at 11 p.m. Duncan, who is the editor of American UFO Newsletter (AUFON), was on a routine skywatch at the time. (See AUFON #4 for 1998, Many thanks to Stefan Duncan for letting UFO ROUNDUP quote from his report.)
On April 5, 1976, Gholam Reza Barzagani, 19, took a walk in the woods near his hometown of Chalus, near the Caspian Sea in northern Iran.
"According to Barzagani, while he was walking along in the deep forest on Friday, he suddenly saw a UFO emerge from the sky, fly straight towards him and stop directly above him. He said he was unable to move as he watched four 'beings' come out of the spaceship and take him inside it."
"He claims that he spent some time under the scrutiny of the 'beings' before passing out. 'The next thing I remember is that I woke up back on Earth early in the morning, not in the lush Caspian forests, but surrounded by barren lands.'"
Barzagani wandered all morning until he found a dirt road and followed it into the town of Isfahan. The UFO had dropped him off in the desert a good 480 kilometers (300 miles) south of Chalus.
Barzagani was examined by doctors at the Red Lion and Sun Society Hospital in Isfahan. They pronounced him physically and psychologically fit. The head physician said, "This young man firmly believes that he has been aboard a flying saucer."
SAVAK, then Iran's national police, investigated the case and learned that "a number of people from these villages" around Isfahan "reported seeing what they described as a 'flying saucer.'"
The Barzagani case was the first in a series of UFO incidents that culminated in the pursuit of a UFO by fighter jets of the Iranian Air Force in September 1976. (See the Tehran Journal for April 7, 1976. See also UNSOLVED UFO SIGHTINGS, volume 3, number 3, Autumn 1995 issue, "UFOs and the Persian Gulf War" by Timothy Green Beckley, page 41.)
Cydonia is the word this week! Check out the new Face photo at the Malin Space Science Systems website. You'll find it at http://www.msss.com/mars/global_surveyor/camera/images/4_6_face_release/index.html
The Face can also be seen at this URL: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/target/CYD1/index.html
And at http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/marsurv.html
Mark Haywood's Cosmic Horizons website is up and online. Drop in at http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~mark.haywood/homepage.html
Another new site is Paul McTaggart's Abduction Phenomena webpage. You can reach it at this URL: http://www.abductee.net
Don't miss our parent site, UFOINFO. John Hayes is in the processing of adding new info sources to the site. You'll find them at http://www.ufoinfo.com
Back issues of UFO ROUNDUP can be accessed and downloaded at http://www.ufoinfo.com/roundup/
Thirty-seven years ago, on April 12, 1961, Major Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin blasted off aboard the Russian spacecraft Vostok 1, becoming the first human to reach outer space. Traveling at an estimated speed of 17,400 miles per hour, Vostok attained an altitude of 325 kilometers (203 miles) and went into orbit around the Earth. Gagarin died in a plane crash in 1968 at the age of 33.
And we'll be back next weekend with more saucer news from "the paper that goes home-- UFO ROUNDUP." See you then.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1998 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO ROUNDUP on their websites or in news groups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.