Letter in Phoenix New Times, December 9-15, 1987, p. 3


Regarding Dewey Webb's "When Worlds Collude" (November 25):

The idea that there are manmade (or alien-made) structures on Mars is not new. Percival Lowell wrote three books about the canals on Mars, which existed only in his mind. A similar phenomenon occurred in 1953, when H. Percy Wilkins discovered what he thought was a bridge on the moon. Moon photos taken in 1966 showed what appeared to be mysterious spires. It later turned out that these "spires" were ordinary boulders, casting long shadows by light hitting them at extremely low angles.

In 1976, George H. Leonard published a book titled Somebody Else Is on the Moon, in which he claimed that the moon's surface is covered with tracks of huge vehicles and the results of massive mining operations. All, of course, are simply natural features of the moonscape.

Now, people like Richard Hoagland, Vincent DiPietro, Gregory Molenaar, and Emil Gaverluk are telling us that there are pyramids and giant sculptures on the surface of Mars. They fail to point out, however, that the "pyramids" on Mars are much cruder than many pyramid-shaped natural rock formations which may be found in our own state. Travelers to Monument Valley, the rock in Hawaii which looks like John F. Kennedy's profile, or the "Great Stone Face" in New Hampshire know that such natural formations may be easily found on this planet.

These promoters of intelligent life on Mars also fail to point out some other interesting formations on the Martian surface. For example, there is a five-mile-wide crater which looks like a happy face. Workers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory jokingly refer to it as the "largest known happy face in the solar system." Another feature of Mars formed by flowing lava and a meteorite impact looks very much like Kermit the Frog. (These photographs may be seen in "The Great Stone Face and Other Nonmysteries" by Martin Gardner in the fall 1985 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer and in the "Skeptical Eye" column of the April, 1985, issue of Discover magazine.)

When all the facts are examined, it is quite clear that the Phoenix Earth Light proposal to make the Martian "city" of Cydonia a sister city of Phoenix is completely absurd.

Jim Lippard
Phoenix Skeptics