In 1976, the Viking 1 Orbiter took the first photographs of the Cydonia region of Mars, showing what appeared to be a humanoid face one mile long and 1,500 feet high. UFOlogists immediately jumped on the photos as prove of a previous or present intelligence. NASA quickly bashed these theories as simply a trick of light and shadow. The Cydonia region also contained what appeared to be several pyramid-like objects, which some researchers claim are not formed by natural occurrence.
The strange loss of the Mars Observer as it made its way to the red planet in 1993 temporarily dealt a blow to any hopes of obtaining new, closer photos of this puzzling region of the planet. Some submitted that the craft was not lost, but that what it found was too controversial for public knowledge. Of course, there is no way to prove this contention. NASA was accused of knowing much more about Mars and it's extraterrestrial connection than it would admit.
The subsequent refusal of NASA to land the Sojourner near the Cydonia area only furthered the contention of many that the space administration was deliberately leading it's technology away from the controversial area. NASA's explanation was that there were other areas which were much more hospitable for a landing sight. With pressure from the general public being the main catalyst, NASA finally agreed to re-shoot the Cydonia area on a follow-up effort. Released on April 6, 1998, new pictures only added fuel to the fire. These "new" photos only deepened the mystery, leaving no "clear-cut" tag to stamp on the images. It seems that only a future manned mission, or closer, more accurate photography will clear the air. We must remember that here on our own planet there are many structures which are not clearly defined as natural, or man-made.
There was some notable information that came from the Pathfinder/Sojourner mission. Some scientists believed they saw evidence that the planet once contained large bodies of "liquid" water, a necessity for the formation of life. JPL press would state on December 4, 1997: "New information from the Pathfinder leads many scientists to now believe that Mars once contained large bodies of liquid water, a condition thought to be a prerequisite for life." A December 4, 1997 JPL press release added: "Based on the first direct measurements ever obtained of Martian rocks and terrain, scientists on NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission report in this week's Science magazine that the red planet may have once been much more like Earth, with liquid water streaming through channels and nourishing a much thicker atmosphere."
The plot thickened with the discovery of the "Martian" meteorite in Antarctica. The possibility that life existed at some previous time on the planet was now almost unquestionable. Professor Richard N. Zare, Ph.D., of Stanford University, examined the rock from early Mars. "The estimated age of the rock is anywhere from 1.4–3.6 billion years old," he stated. Dr. Zare and his colleagues concluded that it is highly probable that some form of primitive, single-celled life existed on Mars at that time. The question was then asked, "if life did exist at one time, then maybe some form of life exists now," certainly something worth researching.
Two other areas of Mars that appear to have created features are the M-15 area, and the so-called Triangle. The M-15 feature seems to show fairly uniform "streaks," which suggest a kind of division of sorts. Resembling age-old walls, or remains thereof, there is a hint of intelligent construction. This area is covered with eons of dust, and it is difficult to tell if important parts of the image are covered. What an archaeologist's dream dig. The sides of the area seem to slant upward toward a peak, making it difficult to say it was formed naturally.
The triangle or heart-shaped object suggests a UFO connection. This object, sitting on the surface of the planet, was originally discovered by Efrain Palermo. The object is about 100 meters across, and does indeed resemble a triangular-shaped craft. The top of the object seems to contain support structures, systematically laid. The original photograph shows a shadow cast across the object, motionless on a smooth surface. On Tuesday, October 23, 2001, the Odyssey spacecraft will conclude a six month venture by taking orbit around the mysterious orb we call Mars. What new secrets will be revealed? What new mysteries will be uncovered?