Who Was There First?
Who was there first? Is this a chicken and egg riddle? No, it’s a valid question raised by those who have studied what appear to be artificial structures on various bodies in our solar system.
We like to think that humankind is at the peak of its evolutionary scale. We have never been so advanced and our technology is the most complex in history. Is this really true? Can we be certain that our race, which has existed in this form for over 200,000 years, has only just made the transition to interplanetary flight in the last fifty years? What if civilisations, lost in the mists of time, also achieved that tremendous leap and have left evidence for their existence elsewhere in the cosmos.
Does this sound impossible? Perhaps, but there are relics right here on Earth that suggest man’s ingenuity was evident in our ancient history.
In 1900, a lump of rusty metal was hauled out of the sea off the Greek island of Antikythera. When analysed, it was found to be some sort of mechanism, consisting of over 30 gears, although more than 70 may have been present originally. It appeared to date from around 150BC and it has been suggested that it was a form of astronomical computer. The level of complexity and miniaturisation of the gears was not seen in the Western world until the 18th Century, almost 2,000 years after the device’s construction.
The magnificent pyramids of Giza, in Egypt, were constructed by a Bronze Age civilisation that had yet to utilise the wheel. Despite this, they managed to construct an edifice, the Great Pyramid of Khufu, which remained the tallest building in the world until the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889, over 4,000 years after they were raised. Not only were the three pyramids on the Giza plateau astonishing feats of physical engineering, but they were also aligned to the cardinal points so accurately that so-called modern science could not match it until very recently. The internal structure of the Great Pyramid also displays remarkable technological skill. Four shafts rise up from two chambers called the King’s Chamber and Queen’s Chamber, although there is no evidence that anybody was interred here, let alone Khufu’s queen, who got her own pyramid beside her husband’s. The shafts, once described as air shafts, since completely debunked, are aligned to specific areas of the sky that were incredibly important to Ancient Egyptian religion. These shafts were not simply cut into the stone, they were carefully-planned, integral structures within the pyramid. They were included as the pyramid rose and it must have been incredibly difficult to keep them aligned to their astral targets as work around them continued.
It has been suggested that extraterrestrials came to Earth in antiquity and helped our ancestors in many ways. Books by the likes of Erich Von Däniken and Zecharia Sitchin have sold in the millions espousing this theory. The Ancient Astronaut Theory (AAT) should not be completely disregarded, as there is evidence as to its veracity, despite what academia might tell us.
Ancient carvings depict flying beings or gods coming to teach man. Often these beings are seen wearing garb that would compliment a modern astronaut. Their ‘chariots’ often appear technological in nature, rather than supernatural. Were these gods really aliens or was there an ancient human civilisation that was much more advanced than our Stone Age ancestors or even than we are today? While Däniken and Sitchin fight for the AAT, authors, such as Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, believe that humanity once achieved great heights of learning, only for this knowledge to be lost in a great cataclysm some 12,000 years ago. Did the lost cultures of Atlantis or Mu really exist?
Whatever your beliefs in this regard, it seems that whoever came before us left their mark not only on Earth, but all around our solar system. We will begin on our closest neighbour, the Moon. Many ‘anomalies’ can be found on that barren world.
The recent, best-selling book by Richard C Hoagland and Mike Bara, Dark Mission, reignited the anomalist community. Did the Apollo astronauts really photograph the remnants of vast, glass domes, rectilinear, artificial structures and robot-like heads? That is for the reader to decide.
It has been mooted that the Apollo 10 image, AS10-30-4421, shows a glass dome in the Mare Crisium. Indeed, if you look closely, it appears that the hill behind the feature can be seen through the translucent, dome-shaped structure. This appears to be an intact dome, but Hoagland and Bara claim that there are many shattered domes that arch over 50,000 feet above the lunar surface, their supporting members being captured by Apollo cameras (see ‘Mitchell Under Glass’ boxout).
Perhaps the most famous lunar anomaly is ‘The Shard’. Captured by the Lunar Orbiter III probe in 1967, this appears to be a colossal, tower-like structure reaching thousands of feet into the sky. The shadow cast by the object seems to confirm that it is real and not a photographic defect. Is it a huge, solid structure or something more transient, such as an outgassing of some kind from below the Moon’s surface? Either explanation is fantastic on this supposedly dead world.
Dark Mission’s ‘smoking gun’ evidence was the artefact they have called ‘Data’s Head’, after the android in Star Trek: The Next Generation. During the Apollo 17 mission, astronauts Schmitt and Cernan were exploring a small crater called Shorty. Found in frame AS17-137-21005HR, Hoagland and Bara enhanced the skull-like object and firmly believe it is the remnants of an android, left behind aeons ago by some advanced, as yet unknown, civilisation. Could it be retrieved and, perhaps, reactivated by future astronauts?
Heading away from the Moon, man’s next port of call will be the planet Mars. But were we the first to land there when the Viking probes set down in 1976? Mars is a favourite for anomaly hunters and there are literally thousands of images that allege to contain artificial structures.
The first probes to reach the Red Planet were the Mariners. Mariner 4 arrived in 1965 with Mariners 6 and 7 getting there in 1969. Mariner 9 entered orbit in 1971.
It was Mariner 9 that first photographed the ‘Pyramids of Elysium’ and the so-called ‘Inca City’. Were these remnants of a lost, Martian civilisation? Another feature snapped by Mariner 9 was dubbed ‘The Airport Terminal’.
When Viking arrived 5 years later, the two landers found evidence of life, but this was dismissed by NASA, even though the experiment that found the evidence had been sanctioned and included in the mission! Besides, why include a flawed experiment in a mission that cost $1 billion? The Labelled Release Experiment’s originator, Dr Gilbert Levin, stands by the findings to this day.
There was also controversy about the first images received by the Viking landers. They appeared to show a blue sky on Mars. These were later tweaked to appear more reddish. Why was this done? If the sky is blue, why not show it as such?
The Viking orbiters circled around the planet, relaying data from the landers and taking photographs of the surface. One of these images has become probably the most famous space photograph in history, the ‘Cydonia Face’. Not only was a peculiar, humanoid face captured, staring enigmatically into space, but nearby, there was a veritable city of pyramids and mounds. These were given names, such as ‘The D & M Pyramid’, ‘The City Square’ and ‘The Fort’. Researchers concluded that all of the structures in the region were connected by geometry, proving that they were artificial and not just ‘tricks of light and shadow’ playing with our imaginations.
Dr Tom Van Flandern calculated that the Face once sat on the old Martian equator and was perfectly aligned to true north (remember the Giza pyramids?). He concluded that the odds of the Face being natural were 1,000 billion to one.
When Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) arrived at the Red Planet in 1997, it was hoped that the controversy about the Face would be put to rest. When the first image was released, it was a huge disappointment. Dubbed ‘The Catbox’, it showed the Face as an almost flat, hardly discernible feature. Later enhancements improved the quality, but it wasn’t until MGS took more images that science could proudly proclaim that it was ‘just a mesa’. This did not satisfy anomalists, who maintained that it resembled no natural mesa on Earth and still displayed evidence of artificiality. The debate rages on.
Shortly before MGS arrived in Mars orbit, a lander called Pathfinder set down in the Ares Vallis in July, 1997. It deployed a small rover, called Sojourner, and took many photographs of the area. Immediately something appeared to be wrong. The images from Pathfinder appeared even redder than those obtained by Viking. Had the boffins at NASA been tweaking the images again? Curiously, an image released from Pathfinder’s planned final day of the mission appears to show the Sojourner in a distinctly blue light. Ultimately, Pathfinder continued long after the planned 30 days had elapsed.
Whatever the colour of Mars’ sky, the Pathfinder mission revealed some intriguing anomalies. Within range of the probe’s cameras, there appeared to be many regularly-shaped boulders, some rectangular, some other geometric shapes.
On the horizon lies a pair of hills, dubbed the Twin Peaks, which appear to have terracing on their slopes. In front of the left-hand hill sits what some have described as a Sphinx!
Mars has become a favourite location for those studying so-called ‘planetary artforms’. Van Flandern’s MetaResearch website (www.metaresearch.org) features images of many of these huge works of art, only viewable from space. Are these random patterns on the planet’s surface, conjured into recognisable forms by our imaginations, or actual pictograms scratched onto the Martian surface, much like the Nazca Lines in Peru?
No doubt Mars will reveal many more anomalies before humans set foot there. How many will our astronauts find to be genuine, artificial creations?
© Steve Johnson - 2008
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Updated 16th August, 2012