Just the Facts Mam

What would it take to prove to science and to our culture that intelligent life exists on another world?  Mind you:  the issue isn’t whether the world in question circles a faraway star or is a mere moon orbiting a nearby planet.  The matter is whether any remote heavenly body hosts life of the intelligent kind.

The Red Planet
The Red Planet

Goodness knows, many readers would assert that UFOs should have done the trick.  After all, the substantiation of unidentified flying objects goes well beyond hearsay.  With thousands of photographs published, tens of thousands of witnessed sightings down through the ages, and too many blood-curdling stories of alien abductions in modern times to mention, a disinterested party would be led to conclude something real must be at the root of all of this commotion.  Despite the fact this body of evidence is frequently compromised with hoaxes and exaggeration, the evidence remains compelling to most.   On the other hand, for the scientific community UFOs, Bigfoot sightings, and ghost stories are all grouped into the same dishonorable category.  No matter how many photos are taken, the number of simultaneous sightings by qualified observers, or physical evidence of alien abduction, when it comes to scientists and academics, UFO accounts fall on deaf ears.

Indeed, despite the vast numbers of accounts chockfull of convincing detail coming from every country on the globe, the vast majority of top scientists still refuse to believe that spacecraft from another world (manned with intelligent pilots) actually exist. The distance between star systems is just too great.  There is too much space and not enough time to allow physical creatures to make the trip.

Not to be thwarted, believers in UFOs resort to another explanation for “how they get here.”  They postulate our visitors come from another dimension entirely.   However, this cosmic sleight of hand only helps to complicate the debate.  If anything, it solves one problem by introducing more challenging complexities.  Exactly how do you traverse dimensions?   Isn’t it a case of “Now you see them, now you don’t?”  Doesn’t this remove any possibility that the UFO claim can be proven true?  In philosophy this is called making as assertion “immune to disproof.”  It is intellectual cheating.  For
in the scientific methodology, you can only prove something to be true, if it can be shown to be false.  Consequently, it doesn’t help the argument to assert our visitors travel here from afar by moving “dimensionally.”  It is as believable as wizards who can dance between the raindrops.

As it turns out, the chance to prove the theory that intelligent life exists isn’t really that remote.  In fact, the proof we are looking for may exist in our own “backyard” so to speak – our own solar system – specifically, the nearby celestial spheres we call our Moon and Mars.  The essential evidence convincing to most scientists is, in a word, the artifact.

The word artifact comes from a Latin word artificium, meaning either ‘made by craft’ (e.g., a work of art) or “craftiness” which is similar to the word artifice (meaning “a clever deception”).  Upon consideration, it is clear artificial and artifact stem from the same root word, art. In essence, art is involved in making or creating the artifact.  Likewise, if something is artificial, it isn’t natural.  It is “man made.”  Hence, we should rightly conclude it requires art – creative intelligence – to make an artifact.   Another way to put it: artifacts aren’t random objects; they are created with a purpose in mind.

Thus, the discovery of artifacts somewhere other than earth – bits and pieces of objects made by humans (or more broadly, intelligent life of some sort) – would prove decisively we are (or at least once were, past tense) not alone.

Ruins at Gobekli Tepe
The Ruins at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey

Artifacts comprise the objects at the root of archeology (the study of ancient cultures) and anthropology (the study of humankind, especially its cultural development).  Artifacts are the substance of both science (direct observation and testing) as well as speculation as to their use and place in the culture of which they were a part.  In other words, because these studies focus on empirical data (the actual objects which can be examined by various measuring tools to disclose the substance and dating) artifacts yield “facts” acceptable to science.  They are literally “art facts.”  Despite sounding like an oxymoron, facts of art are the proof in the pudding.

However, the game isn’t as straightforward as it may seem.  The sciences built on artifacts aren’t free from conjecture.  There is still detective work to do. Those who study artifacts are compelled to pass judgment on their purpose.  Why such implements were created in the first place is not always that obvious.

Artifacts call for speculation from the experts.  It takes a professional accomplished in archeology or anthropology to determine what the artifacts mean.  Questions asked might include:  “What is the purpose the creator of the object had in mind when he made it?  Was it a tool to simplify or mechanize a repetitive activity?  For instance, was it a pot to hold water or some other important substance?  Could it have been a container for food?  Was it is canister used in warfare?”

Finding Artifacts Elsewhere in Our Solar System

Of course, there is a big difference evident to this author (and I assume the reader appreciates the issue as well), when comparing artifacts on earth to artifacts on the moon or Mars.  On earth, ancient artifacts are studied to understand human culture in the recent or distant past.  It goes without saying that we aren’t surprised to find them – we expect the historical residue of human activity to be everywhere.  According to accepted academic science, we know humankind (Homo sapiens sapiens) has been here for tens of thousands of years, and the forebears of our species (Homo sapiens) a hundred thousand years before that.[1]

Additionally, we might be surprised to learn the material composition of the artifacts we discover here on earth – how they were created, or how old they are.  Such findings during the past century by archeologists at Puma Punku in Peru or Göbekli Tepe in Turkey are stunning in the complexity of the structure, their apparent “machined megalithic composition”, and the fact they often testify to the ancients’ sophisticated understanding of astronomy.  After thorough analysis by the experts, such artifacts have stretched our understanding of “pre-history” – demonstrating advanced intelligence (presumably) of Homo sapiens and ancient cultures of our world.

Our history books routinely tell us civilization is barely more than 6,000 years old and that it began in “the fertile crescent” – that is, Sumer and Babylon (today’s Iraq).  But structures like Puma Punku may be proving our history books wrong.  Experts familiar with these finds suggest they date to at least 10,000 to 12,000 years before the present (YBP).  Additionally, in some cases they are at locations far distant from the “plains of Shinar” where according to the Bible Nimrod built the Tower of Babel commencing post-flood civilization 300 to 400 years after the flood of Noah.[2]

Proof of an advanced civilization on earth 10,000 YBP would shake up both secular as well as biblically-based history.  The idea of life elsewhere in our universe isn’t really that new – it’s been discussed for centuries. But in the age of space exploration the notion we could actually stumble across concrete evidence surely makes the heart beat faster.   While we would be fascinated with a discovery of ancient objects on earth, merely finding any artifact on another world is a horse of a completely different color.

Just the presence of any object with straight lines, an explicit geometrical shape, or a manufactured extensive shiny surface would be a true game changer. If we can observe these objects “with our own eyes” (or through cameras mounted on space probes that give us a close-up look – in effect extending our eyes to another world), we have demonstrated intelligent life exists beyond planet earth and beyond a shadow of a doubt.  This discovery could agitate the foundations of human culture, our self-perception, and have consequences that we can barely begin to fathom.[3]   As the lead character Dr. Heywood R. Floyd commented upon discovering the black monolith on the Moon in 2001: A Space Odyssey, “I’m sure you’re aware of the extremely grave potential for cultural shock and social disorientation contained in this present situation, if the facts were prematurely and suddenly made public without adequate preparation and conditioning.”   Artifacts on another planet – even if there is no life present accompanying the “mementoes” then discovered – alters the question of origins immediately and forever.[4]

Family Ties

Assume for a moment that we have established such objects exist on our moon or Mars.  Then take the hypothetical discovery a bit further.  What if these objects resemble artifacts on earth?  What if the same shapes are common to what we see on our world?  What does it say about life elsewhere?  Would it mean that life here and there is related?  Is it just intelligence that we have in common?  Or is it more?  Could certain artifacts infer that these intelligent creatures were bipedal like us, perhaps having two eyes like we do, and are “carbon-based life forms” like human beings?  Any questions might present themselves:  perhaps the civilization evident on the moon or Mars worshiped the stars as our ancestors did.  What would that imply?  Furthermore, what if these intelligent beings have a face that resembles ours?  Would it mean that we have common parentage?  Would we be related?  Going one step further still, what if fossilized remains were located and the DNA of these other-worldly creatures was isolated and we found it was highly similar to our own?  What if it was virtually identical?  To discover that we have close relatives from another planet would be astounding.

As it turns out, as far-fetched as this scenario seems as first blush, it is exactly what many outspoken authors (and a few placid scientists) are postulating awaits us when we go kicking over rocks in our own solar system.

Richard Hoagland is arguably the most noteworthy public enthusiast if not spokesperson in our day for the quest to confirm the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life through the search for hard facts – artifacts to be specific.  A former consultant to NASA, Hoagland frequently appears on both television and radio shows in addition to “regular” appearances on the speaker circuit.   He claims that his search is not just the work of an odd collection of “wanna-be” astrophysicists or sensationalist authors trying to peddle books.  It is foundational to over sixty years of space exploration by the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.

With Mike Bara, Hoagland wrote Dark Mission:  The Secret History of NASA.  In their book, authors Hoagland and Bara argue that NASA has a deeper and in not-so-subtle ways much more mystical mission than what the public has been led to believe.  In essence, NASA’s leadership is deeply infatuated with Freemason philosophy, itself heavily influenced by the ancient religion of Egypt.  As even the casual observer would note, the colossal monuments we call “the pyramids” figure prominently in this ancient humankind’s worship of the sun and stars.  The mysticism of ancient mythology, unexpectedly, is at the heart of the technical exploits of our most capable and farsighted rocket scientists.

According to Hoagland and Bara, it is no accident that launches and landings of NASA spacecraft occur at key points in time in which the relationship of certain stars in the sky are at particular angles as seen from our world (at the center of this mythology is the belt of Orion in the constellation by the same name pointing in one direction to Sirius – the “dog star” – the brightest star in the sky, while in the other direction the line extending from Orion’s belt leads to Alderbaran another bright star 65 million light years from earth).   Orion is the more commonly known name for Osiris while Sirius represents Isis in the Egyptian pantheon, the sister and later wife of Osiris.[5]

In his earlier book, The Monuments of Mars (1987), Hoagland puts forth the hypothesis than Cydonia Mensa on Mars (the famous face with both leonine and simian characteristics), along with other pyramidal shaped mountains in various structures (one of which he calls, The City), provide a compelling case that artificial structures exist there.  Because the shapes are pyramids (although typically tetrahedral – three-sided rather the four-sided pyramids at Giza), and because the “face” at Cydonia looks human, Hoagland has long postulated that there is a profound connection between civilization on Mars and on earth.  But Hoagland goes much further.

A Tetrahedral Pyramid
A Tetrahedral Pyramid

The Martians weren’t just country bumpkins – they were highly advanced.  To be specific, he discusses “hyperdimensional physics” and a time-space worm hole formed by angular momentum on massive celestial objects (such as the “red circle on Jupiter”).   It is his position that the structures of Mars “encode” the key to understanding hyperdimensionality.  In effect, the citizens of Mars were building a monumental (no pun intended) truth about the nature of nature into the monuments of Mars.  It is as if they had cornered the truth and they couldn’t stand to keep it to themselves.

Hyperdimensionality implies the ability to “warp” space-time – if mass and speed are organized in the proper way. While beyond the scope of this paper, suffice it to say a civilization which understands hyperdimensionality knows the secret of “free energy” (draining energy from space-itself without fission or fusion of matter) and may understand how to complete interstellar travel safely as well as possibly move backwards and forwards through time.  No mean feats to be sure.

How Mars Shapes Up

The consequence is staggering because it would mean that intelligent life (if not superior intelligent life) does exist, or more likely, used to exist there.  Furthermore, since the shapes are “tetrahedral” (four triangularly-shaped surfaces that connect at six points or vertices), not only do these shapes prove intelligence (i.e., art) in their creation, they relate to similar shapes on earth, suggesting that life there (whether extinct or not) is in some way connected to life on earth!

No less than Sir Arthur C. Clarke commented (mostly based on Hoagland’s conjecture as supported by his inventive interpretation of innumerable photographs):  “I’m fairly convinced that we have discovered life on Mars. There are some incredible photographs [from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory], which to me are pretty convincing proof of the existence of large forms of life on Mars!  Have a look at them. I don’t see any other interpretation.”  Likewise, Robert A. Roe, former Chairman, Congressional House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology stated (in the accolades for Hoagland’s book) asserted, “I’ve seen the studies and I’ve seen the photographs—and there do appear to be formations of a ‘face’ and ‘pyramids’ [on Mars] that do not appear to be of natural or normal existence.  It looks like they had to be fashioned by some intelligent beings.  For this reason, I have asked NASA to provide assurances that the Mars Observer mission includes this [set of targets] as one of its imaging objectives.”  Ironically, that spacecraft was lost in flight adding to the Mars mystery in the decade of the 1990s.[6]

Gale Crater - Site of the Curiosity Mission
Gale Crater – Site of the Curiosity Mission

Hoagland has been frustrated for decades, eager to get a better glimpse of the planet’s surface.  He has been the cheerleader for other flights to Mars and especially to focus our reconnaissance on the areas he believes have the greatest promise to confirm life once existed there.  The latest expedition, Curiosity or the Mars Space Laboratory, landing on the Red Planet in August, 2012, has nearly made Hoagland giddy with anticipation.  Curiosity has multiple high-definition cameras and it has touched down in the Gale Crater, near a rectangular shaped mountain, Mount Sharp.  The prominence is staggering in size:  100 miles long and 3 miles high.  Like the other structures on Mars, Hoagland speculates that it too is an artifact.

Does Curiosity have the potential to find artifacts and prove Hoagland’s theories true?  According to Hoagland’s creative review of many photographs, it already has.

In our next article, we will explore the surface of Mars through the eyes of Richard Hoagland and Curiosity and discuss more of his suggestions about the meaning of Mars to humanity.


[1] Here I am speaking as if evolutionary theory regarding the origins of humankind is true.  My view is actually based upon the so-called “Gap Theory” that postulates the world is old but the Adamic race is recently new (perhaps less than 8,000 years old) and is a special creation of God, directly created (not evolving from lower forms of Homo sapiens)

[2] The dating of the Flood of Noah (not to mention whether or not it occurred at all) is controversial.  The dating computed by Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656) dated to the great deluge to roughly 2,400 BC.  Some scientific geological studies suggest this flood may have occurred 600 to 1,000 years earlier than Ussher allowed.  Dates derived at the city of Ur (of Chaldea) propose this population center went through several stages from 3,100 BC to 3,600 BC.

[3] In the 1960 report by the Brookings Institute, the authors argue that such a discovery could destroy society as we know it.  Hence, this so-called Brookings Report provided a strong sociological argument that may have energized a government program of hiding the truth about encounters with extraterrestrials along with taking a cautionary path to exploring the moon, Mars, and other planets.  It has always been assumed that the public couldn’t handle the truth.

[4] As I will argue, this does not mean the Bible’s narrative is incorrect, just that it may have been misunderstood.

[5] In ancient Egypt, when Sirius appeared first arose in the sky it marked the beginning of the new year and the flooding of the Nile, essential in the cycle of growing crops.

[6] “The Mars Observer spacecraft, also known as the Mars Geoscience/Climatology Orbiter, was a 1,018-kilogram (2,244 lbrobotic space probe launched by NASA on September 25, 1992 to study the Martian surface, atmosphere, climate and magnetic field. During the interplanetary cruise phase, communication with the spacecraft was lost on August 21, 1993, 3 days prior to orbital insertion. Attempts to re-establish communication with the spacecraft were unsuccessful.”

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