Mars has two tiny natural moons, Phobos and Deimos (right), which orbit very close to the planet and are thought to be captured asteroids. Both satellites were discovered in 1877 by Asaph Hall, and are named after the characters Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread) who, in Greek mythology, accompanied their father Ares, god of war, into battle. Ares was known as Mars to the Romans. From the surface of Mars, the motions of Phobos and Deimos appear very different from that of our own moon. Phobos rises in the west, sets in the east, and rises again in just 11 hours. Deimos, being only just outside synchronous orbit—where the orbital period would match the planet's period of rotation — rises as expected in the east but very slowly. Despite the 30 hour orbit of Deimos, it takes 2.7 days to set in the west as it slowly falls behind the rotation of Mars, then just as long again to rise. Because Phobos' orbit is below synchronous altitude, the tidal forces from the planet Mars are gradually lowering its orbit. In about 50 million years it will either crash into Mars’ surface or break up into a ring structure around the planet.It is not well understood how or when Mars came to capture its two moons. Both have circular orbits, very near the equator, which is very unusual in itself for captured objects. Phobos's unstable orbit would seem to point towards a relatively recent capture. There is no known mechanism for an airless Mars to capture a lone asteroid, so it is likely that a third body was involved — however, asteroids as large as Phobos and Deimos are rare, and binaries rarer still, outside the asteroid belt.
Dozens of spacecraft, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have been sent to Mars by the Soviet Union, the United States, Europe, and Japan to study the planet's surface, climate, and geology. The current price of transporting material from the surface of Earth to the surface of Mars is approximately 309000 USD/kg.  Roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars have failed in one manner or another before completing or even beginning their missions. While this high failure rate can be ascribed to technical problems, enough have either failed or lost communications for causes unknown for some to search for other explanations. Examples include an Earth-Mars "Bermuda Triangle", a Mars Curse, or even the long-standing NASA in-joke, the "Great Galactic Ghoul" that feeds on Martian spacecraft.
The first successful fly-by mission to Mars was NASA's Mariner 4, launched in 1964. On November 14, 1971 Mariner 9 became the first space probe to orbit another planet when it entered into orbit around Mars. The first successful objects to land on the surface were two Soviet probes, Mars 2 and Mars 3 from the Mars probe program, launched in 1971, but both lost contact within seconds of landing. Then came the 1975 NASA launches of the Viking program, which consisted of two orbiters, each having a lander; both landers successfully touched down in 1976. Viking 1 remained operational for six years, Viking 2 for three. The Viking landers relayed the first color pictures of Mars and also mapped the surface of Mars so well that the images are still sometimes used to this day. The Soviet probes Phobos 1 and 2 were sent to Mars in 1988 to study Mars and its two moons. Phobos 1 lost contact on the way to Mars. Phobos 2, while successfully photographing Mars and Phobos, failed just before it was set to release two landers on Phobos's surface.(Wikipedia)
Mars is a world of mysteries. And on February 14, 2001, a new mystery surfaced on the Red Planet - almost quite literally.
Valley of the Boulders
On that date, an international group of nine 10- 15-year-old boys and girls, known as the Red Rover Goes to Mars Team, were invited by NASA to direct the camera aboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). The MGS probe has been orbiting Mars since March, 1998 and has sent back many spectacular images of the planet's surface in stunning detail. But when these kids took the controls of the camera, they picked up an image of an anomaly that has scientists puzzled. It's the latest in a long list of pictures from Mars that keeps scientists, amateur astronomers and explorers of the unknown scratching their heads. The picture, seen below, shows a scattering of large, dark boulders in the middle of a relatively flat, light-colored plain. The puzzle is: Where did they come from? There are no mountains or large hills that the boulders could have broken off from. And their color is in sharp contrast to anything in the surrounding area. "It's puzzling," said Michael Carr of the US Geological Survey. "I looked at a few pictures around [the area] and couldn't find anything to explain it. Very puzzling! These are huge boulders. There are no indications of any outcrops that could shed such boulders."
How huge are they? It is estimated that they are between 50 and 80 feet in diameter! Those are big rocks! "Wow! These have me totally stumped," commented Ron Greeley of Arizona State University. "Not only is the dark color of the boulders a surprise, but they appear totally out of context in the surrounding terrain. There is nothing in the rest of the image to suggest a source for such large boulders, nor their arrangement on the surface."
One proposed theory is that the boulders are the remains of a meteor that shattered on impact. Yet there is no impact crater; the meteor would have had to have been moving quite slowly to make no crater and keep its fragments in such a close grouping. The meteor theory is highly unlikely. Planetary scientists have yet to come up with a plausible, satisfactory explanation for the boulders.
The Cydonia region of Mars seems to be chock full of weird anomalous structures. Southwest of the infamous "face" is a group of features that have been called "pyramids." With their relatively smooth, triangular sides, they bear a striking resemblance from the air to the pyramids at Giza, Egypt.One of the most closely studied is the so-called D&M pyramid. According to researcher Mark Carlotto, "the three illuminated faces of the D&M appear to be relatively flat with well defined edges in between. Buttress like structures at the base of several edges are also evident. In the MGS image the edge between the northeast and northwest faces resembles a spine running from the apex of the D&M down to the ground. At the base of the spine lies a circular depression, possibly an opening. A dark feature seems to emanate northward from this depression or opening, which then leads into a sinuous channel off to the right." Carlotto also has examined "the City Pyramid," a five-sided structure whose spines "resemble the five pointed Egyptian symbol for a star." In the most high-resolution photos of these structures taken by MGS, the pyramids look somewhat less pyramid-like, but their geometric shapes are still intriguing.
(Wikipedia) Cydonia is a region of Mars. The name originally referred to an albedo feature (distinctively coloured area) that was visible from earthbound telescopes. Today, the name covers three named regions on Mars: "Cydonia Mensae", an area of flat-topped mesa-like features, "Cydonia Colles", a region of small hills or knobs, and "Cydonia Labyrinthus", a complex of intersecting valleys. As with other regions on Mars, the name Cydonia was drawn from classical antiquity, in this case from Kydonia, a historic citystate on the island of Crete.A group of Cydonian hills has attracted notoriety because one of them looks like a face under certain lighting conditions, while others resemble pyramids; the phenomena have attracted both scientific and popular interest.
Cydonia was first imaged in detail by the Viking 1 and Viking 2 orbiters. Eighteen images of the Cydonia region were taken by the Vikings, of which seven have resolutions better than 250 m/pixel (820 ft/pixel). The other eleven images have resolutions worse than 550 m/pixel (1800 ft/pixel) and are virtually useless for studying surface features. Of the seven good images, the lighting and time at which two pairs of images were taken are so close as to reduce the number to five distinct images.
In one of the images taken by Viking 1 on July 25, 1976, one of the Cydonian mesas, situated at 40.75° north latitude and 9.46° west longitude, had the appearance of a humanoid "Face on Mars". When the image was originally acquired, Viking chief scientist Gerry Soffen dismissed the "face" in image 35A72 as a "[trick] of light and shadow".However, a second image, 70A13, also shows the "Face" and was acquired 35 Viking orbits later at a different "sun-angle" than the 35A72 image. This latter discovery was made independently by two computer engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar, who discovered the two misfiled images, Viking frames 35A72 and 70A13, while searching through NASA archives.
More than 20 years after the Viking 1 images were taken, a succession of spacecraft visited Mars and collected new data from the Cydonia region. These spacecraft have included NASA's Mars Global Surveyor (1997-2006) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2006-),and the European Space Agency's Mars Express probe (2003-).
In contrast to the relatively low resolution of the Viking images of Cydonia, these new platforms afford much improved resolution. For instance, the Mars Express images are at a resolution of 14 m/pixel (46 ft/pixel) or better. By combining data from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the Mars Express probe and the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on board NASA's Mars Global Surveyor it has been possible to create a 3D representation of the "Face on Mars":
Today, the "Face" is generally accepted to be an optical illusion, an example of pareidolia. After analysis of the higher resolution Mars Global Surveyor data NASA stated that "a detailed analysis of multiple images of this feature reveals a natural looking Martian hill whose illusory face-like appearance depends on the viewing angle and angle of illumination"
The ‘Face’ therefore emerges as an optical illusion (exactly as its discoverers in 1976 had claimed), known technically as pareidolia. This is the phenomenon that allows believers to see an image of Mother Theresa in a cinnamon bun or the Arabic name of Allah in a sliced aubergine. The basis of the illusion is the human brain’s tendency to make understandable and detailed patterns from vague stimuli; the same ability allows us to recognise melodies from short or distorted fragments and to see numbers in patterns of dots used for tests of colour blindness. Faces are one of the first patterns the infant human learns to recognise, so it is unsurprising that a face-like mesa on Mars should be 'read'; by so many as an actual representation of a human (or closely humanoid) face.
On July 12, 1988 the USSR launched Phobos II, an unmanned satellite to Mars. It arrived in January 1989 and entered an orbit around Mars as the first phase towards its real destination, a small Martian moon called Phobos.
"Phobos II failed to communicate with Earth as scheduled after completing an operation yesterday around the Martian moon Phobos. Scientists at mission control have been unable to establish stable radio contact." But the next day a top official of the Soviet Space Agency (Glavkosmos) said: "Phobos II is 99% lost for good." It is important to note that he stated the entire satellite was gone and not just contact with it.
Scientists described the UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT as a thin ellipse 20 KILOMETERS LONG! It was further stated that the photos could not be an illusion because it was captured by 2 different color cameras as well as cameras taking infrared shots.One controller at the Kaliningrad control center concluded that the probe was now spinning out of control. It would seem that something struck or shot the Phobos II Probe. In the October 19, 1989 issue of Nature Magazine, Soviet scientists concluded that the craft could be spinning because it was impacted. It has long been rumored that Mars and its moon Phobos are alien colonies. The surface of Mars is covered with strange shapes/buildings that do not appear to be natural such as the pyramids, square buildings, runways, etc.
source & references: Tass News Agency
Life on Mars?
FROM: UFO Phenomenon at Close Sight
It took 25 years to the scientific community to recognize it. It was explained on my site 2 years ago. There is life on Mars, now.
For those who are not familiar with the context explained in my site, here is the explanation, again, in a simplified manner:
In 1976, the Viking probe landed on Mars, carrying a set of experiments devised to detect if there is or if there isn't life on Mars. The main experiment (the LR experiment) detected life. Another experiment wrongly detected that there cannot be life on Mars because it detected no organic matter on Mars - a scientific joke in itself.
Since 1976, Dr. Gilbert Levin who devised the LR experiment has tried to convince the rest of the scientific community that his experiment detected life, and that the experiment that could not detect organic matter on Mars simply was a faulty experiment, which, reproduced on Earth, could not even detect organic matter on Earth.
Dr. Gilbert Levin also addressed correctly all the other "reasons" that were put forth to claim that there is no life on Mars.
I have become aware of Dr. Gilbert Levin's claims through a TV interview 3 years ago, and later by reading his papers and studies from the web site of his company, and reported about it over in my web site, which generated a flow of email correspondence of people of all kinds of background, who had read it, and were in general impressed with my presentation, and sometimes also dubious, without being really able to tell in what aspect my presentation could be wrong.
Today, several newswires have titled "Scientists Say Mars Viking Mission Found Life."
Several scientists have found compelling evidence that Viking Mars landers did indeed discover life on Mars in 1976. They agree that a re-examination of findings relayed to Earth by the probes some 25 years ago show the tell-tale signs of microbes lurking within the Martian soil.
The researchers will unveil their views Sunday, July 29, at a session on astrobiology, held during the SPIE's 46th annual International Society for Optical Engineering meeting in San Diego, California.
Today, my feeling is a feeling of great joy. These last two years, I have acquired the certainty that there is indeed life on Mars, today, not just in the past, but I have noted that this certainty was generally not shared by the scientific community as a whole, and absolutely not share by the general public, as a result of media ignorance. I have always felt that it is of no importance, because it will only be a matter of one or two years to become common knowledge that there is life on Mars.
What I want to tell my visitors now is: read again my pages on Mars. They need no update today. They tell the story. They tell the story correctly since the beginning.
And read the rest of the information I publish in the site. Because, with a little more time ...
In the late 1800's astronomers were focusing their telescopes and attention to Mars. What the astronomers of the late 1800's were discovering was canals on Mars, first called canali by Rev. Secchi in 1858 and Giovanni Schiaparelli in 1877. Many of these astronomers verified the canals and also noted seasonal changes on the surface that corresponded with the melting of the polar ice.
It seems at the end of 1800's early 1900's astronomers were recording canals, seasonal surface changes, theorized to be changes in possible plant growth and water dispersion. "In 1888...Perrotin described having observed dramatic changes in a feature, named "Libya" by Schiaparelli, and assumed to be a continental land mass. "Clearly visible two years ago, it no longer exists today," and "By 1892, Perrotin5 had switched his attention to watching for "bright projections" on Mars, reporting three in the summer of that year". By 1909 no signs of the canals existed according to Antoniadi.
In 1894 Percival Lowell noted a tawny colored cloud of dust that extended over 300 miles and Percival Lowell from his research estimated the temperature on the surface of Mars to be an average of 48°F noted from the MOLA Science, NASA. Percival Lowell's temperature was later verified by the Russian Mars 3 lander.
In 1954 National Geographic sponsored a Mars observation project at Lamount-Hussey Obervator, Bloemfontein, South Africa on Naval Hill an altitude of 4888 feet. From this National Geographic sponsored expedition 20,000 pictures were taken of Mars. The pictures themselves stand as their own interpretation. The National Geographic article resulting from this project was called "New Light on the Changing Face of Mars, A Huge Green Area Almost the Size of Texas Appears in Photographs Made by National Geographic Society-Lowell Observatory Mars Expedition to South Africa", September 1955.
The picture in the National Geographic article reveals the areas mentioned as blue-green seasonal change. September 1954, two years before the 1956 planet wide dust storm.
Various observers over those earlier years with differences in equipment, varying observation periods but still these anomalies on Mars were verified by other researchers.