Prescript: oddly, research I did ~3 years after writing this page did in fact show that Mars probably did have at least one more moon in the past ! Just of a more conventional kind than I imagined below . . . .

The Face on Mars and Mars' 3rd Moon

        Back in 1976, when the Viking 1 Orbiter spacecraft was orbitting and imaging Mars it took an image of a feature in a region called Cydonia Planitia that certain people have taken to be an artificial "face" on Mars:

Presumably this is the face of some great Martian. But if Mars has a face,where are the rest of it's body parts? This question once interested me enoughthat I decided to take a look at the latest imagery of the area of Mars that is antipodal (on exactly the opposite side) to the face, and guess what I saw!? That's right, Elvis! No, actually what I found was Mars' third Moon:

Yep, these are the butt cheeks on Mars! They are located north of a region called Chronium Planum. As you can see Mars almost got it's butt kicked by an impact. My theory for this feature is that it is an atmosphere generator (like in that movie, "Total Recall") and that the ancient Martians activated it by depositing large quantities of martian sauerkraut into the Face's mouth. Thus activated, the butt could account for Mars' once-thicker atmosphere, and maybe even some of its flow features! This work resulted in a poster presentation at a scientific conference at UAF on 1April2003.

        Well, actually the "face" on Mars turns out to be just topography. Here is a Mars Global Surveyor image taken specifically to put the face to rest. The

image shows the face for what it really is: an odd, craggy mesa standing above very flat terrain; interesting, geologically, but still just a mesa. Unfortunately, one side effect of this effort has been to show, once again, that mere facts can't hinder true believers; the internet is still full of "face on Mars" fanatics.

"Gee, it doesn't look like a face to me . . . (cartoon by Duane Hilton)