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Mars:

Debate on the color of the Martian sky - Part 3:

I had not expected that my discussion that the sky of Mars is not red, or that the photographs of Mars are exaggeratedly colored in red by a majority of media would receive as many answers, some being praises, others being much more critical. Here an example and my answer.

Of course you must have initially read my page about this question.

Sujet: What is Mars' true color?
Date: 20.10.2002
From: xxx@hotmail.com

I was pointed to your article on Martian photographs and picture editing by a friend. I dont care if you use my first name but Id rather not have the email posted online. If you wish to reply to me personally you may do so.

I have some points to make on them and have some answers you might find usefull.

First question you had is about why edit the photos in the first place? Well you will find, especially in text on Voyager's exploration of the outer planets, that NASA often creates false color images to enhance contrast or change the wavelength being viewed in photographs. This allows them in many cases to find features or view certain attributes of a feature that true color doesnt allow. A wonderful case and point is Saturn from the Voyager Grand tour. In looking a true color images of Saturns ring system you find colors bland and much of the ring detail is absent because the color variations blend. However, if you make false color prints, the contrast is enhanced enough for the human eye to see the color differences, and in doing this, NASA could map out the various rings within the main ring system. Another use was to find moons that had subtle color changes with the backround cause of lack of luminoscity. What happens is not a falsifacation really. All the shades and colors maintain proportionality to eachother so the change allows details to be seen by the human eye. In fact, the other colors go so way out of whack because in changing in proportion they must jump several levels of detail or contrast while the faint object only changes a small amount. So therefore, the only falsehood is that the new pic is not neccicarily the color the human eye percieves, although details are the same. Now, as far as mars, NASA may be testing contrast and details for certain analysis or investigations that they could give you more insight to.

Next question I believe is how can NASA, after changing these settings, be sure that some photos are in the correct setting. This is simple. NASA actually puts color codes (very similar to paint sampling strips you pick up at the hardware store) on the spacecraft where the camera can turn and see it if need be. What NASA does is pan the camera to it and play with the settings till the colors on the camera or video image of that color "strip" match an identical one on earth. The values and attributes for those colors are predetermined and used to calibrate the cam whenever neccicary. Ive seen the plate for voyager and other probes. In fact, on the manned lunar missions of apollo, the surface crewmembers carried a small tripod that had one of these cards on it, for photographs where color changes would be made, the astronauts actually put this card in the foreground of the shot so the developer back on earth could play with the prints and correct so that the tripod color sheet matched an identical article. In fact, id be curious if nasa could now do this digitally which they might be able to do. It would be easy now, to tell the computer to set focus and whatever settings so that if it was viewing a color of a certain hue it should show up like this....whatever it appears to be on an earth test. Then the cam makes the adjustments. Once again, ask nasa what the current state of the art is there.

Next, as far as published photos. Ive seen similar mars photos with the blue atmosphere and captions that have NASA admiting that the true color is blue. So NASA is keeping no secret. In fact many times there have been misprints where NASA has released an "enhanced" photo for some investigation like I mentioned above, then the press assumes its true color, when nasa never said either way. There is a popular "rainbow" pic of saturn from voyager that is false color, nasa even says it is false color, but it has been used in misnomer fashion as truecolor. I believe my physics textbook, or one in my schools book storage had its cover based on such a falsehood. As far as photos from NASA websites, how can you expect an underpaid government website programmer, who doesnt neccicarily have the credentials to work at JPL(i even believe one of your examples was from the KSC website, hehe) get it right. NASA doesnt have as much money as it could use so an obvious choice for cuts is PR and website upkeep. Editing and typos and publication errors have occured before. Still, ive seen NASA publish the blue hue photos and labled them as true. NASA never intended to hide the true color as blue and has said that is the true color in many photos ive seen growning up reading about this stuff.

Another point is when the photos were taken. It appears that many of your photos came from the first pan taken on both Viking and Pathfinder. If you look at one of you pathfinder examples (with the rover and pedals visible) you see the spacecraft hasnt even deployed the rover ramp, much less the rover itself. I recognize it easy as an initial camera pan of the surface. NASA always takes an initial pan after basic deployment and landing to make sure all is normal. This means the first or earliest pans dont always have the time to have the calibration finished. Let me quote quote Dr. Pietro:

"They also knew that they would need computer software programs to transform the raw data efficiently into an accurate color..."

here he confirms early photos are raw and that they needed time to get better quality through processing.

Also, because the media takes the first pictures it can get, it usually means the first pan photos are the most published cause they come out the soonest. This means that the pictures without calibration are usually gonna be widespread. It can take NASA many weeks to first calibrate(not so long), then take scientifically usefull photos and print them, analize them, then finally release them. The media doesnt wish to wait for these, and usually loses interest by the time the nicer photos come out. So youre gonna find a ton of "amateur" (really just uncalibrated) photos. Once again, this applies to the websites NASA runs. The taxpayers wanna see whats going on first (because were impatient) so NASA publishes the first dirty photos early to appease its funding base.

Lastly, id like to comment on the photo with the uncolorized cable at the bottom. Its a viking photo so i can easily tell you why this is. Vikings cameras were 1970s digital vintage (digital because the photos had to be transmited through space). It is also no secret that state of the art digital in the seventies is equivalent pocket calculator (or abacus in some cases, lol) now. This means that the images were taken pixel line by pixel line and that the photos appeared on the JPL monitors line by line over several seconds or even minutes like old web browsers used to load pics. It was also done in stages some times, where the photo loaded line by line, then color line by line, then focus or enhancement line by line. Since this was time consuming (the data rates of photo data was slow with 70s tech and millions of miles transmission distance). Therefore, to save time why not colorize the part of the photo only showing the spacecraft. All we wanted was to see the surface, the "frame" of the spacecraft wasnt important in that shot, so if I had been waiting in JPL i probably would have accepted the photo and stopped the "download" at that point because id been impatient waiting for the first surface images of mars. All it is simply is that that photo was accepted before the old computers finished colorizing those lines of pixels at the bottom. No biggie...

Also dont forget, dustorms arent permanent like you said, but since they do occur it should mean some should have a red sky. Thus the presence of different images with different colors is justified. The ones you show of the same with differeing colors are poor editing or a published falsecolor image.

If your argument is a conspiracy of somesort, I hope this answers it. If not, and I did read your point of just a public misconception existing, then yes one does. Ive seen NASA show the red ones as "true" by mistake, ive seen many of NASA saying look, the true color is bluish. Its a combination of many things that have created a controversy, but a guarantee you viking is on mars.

As far as why would nasa falsify a color image, I hope my analysis of false color image investigations and thier use to NASA helps. As far as how can NASA know the real color if changed after launch, I hope my analysis of NASA camera calibration helps.

I enjoyed reading your article and found it very engaging. I would hope my commentary adds to the constructive. I cant line by line answer your questions of your printed "explanations" if youd like to challenge me on a specific point ive dropped, bring it to my attention, ill try to answer it.

For the clarifactaion of space exploration's findings-
John

My answer to John, November 27, 2002:

John,

I am most thankful that you took the time to comment on this topic. I have found your comment a thousand times more useful than the usual, and overall, I agree to your basics. I have tried to raise more questions and solve some possible misunderstanding and express some generally minor disagreements underneath.

At the end, I have added some overall personal ideas about NASA and some elaborated conspiracy theories that involve NASA.

I was pointed to your article on Martian photographs and picture editing by a friend. I dont care if you use my first name but Id rather not have the email posted online. If you wish to reply to me personally you may do so.

I will never, ever, make use of any personal information provided by people nice enough to contact me, unless they clearly want me to.

I have some points to make on them and have some answers you might find useful.

First question you had is about why edit the photos in the first place? Well you will find, especially in text on Voyager's exploration of the outer planets, that NASA often creates false color images to enhance contrast or change the wavelength being viewed in photographs. This allows them in many cases to find features or view certain attributes of a feature that true color doesnt allow. A wonderful case and point is Saturn from the Voyager Grand tour. In looking a true color images of Saturns ring system you find colors bland and much of the ring detail is absent because the color variations blend. However, if you make false color prints, the contrast is enhanced enough for the human eye to see the color differences, and in doing this, NASA could map out the various rings within the main ring system. Another use was to find moons that had subtle color changes with the backround cause of lack of luminoscity. What happens is not a falsifacation really. All the shades and colors maintain proportionality to eachother so the change allows details to be seen by the human eye. In fact, the other colors go so way out of whack because in changing in proportion they must jump several levels of detail or contrast while the faint object only changes a small amount. So therefore, the only falsehood is that the new pic is not neccicarily the color the human eye percieves, although details are the same.

Absolutely. Great benefit is found through scientific imaging when enhancing, filtering, false colorization is used so that things not normally visible get visible. There would indeed be only poor scientific benefit if, say, Hubble would look at the deep space only in the part of the visible light that the human eye can see, and we would know very little things on Europa if the Europa images would not have been enhanced using false color imaging. Same applies to medical imagery, biological microscopy imagery and so forth.

However, I do not feel that the color issue I am referring to can be explain by use of false colors for scientific purposes. To illustrate my point, allow me to provide the following pictures:

Here is an image of the Martian surface (reduced):

This image obviously shows the surface of Mars in colors that represent something else than any type of light. The purpose of the colorization here is to provide a clear understanding of the temperatures at the surface of the planet. None of the color is the real color, but the intention is in no way dubious. The image is not an image created by visible light, but rather an artificially composed image where the color indicates the temperature. This is clearly indicated, and I submit that not a single soul will ever claim that the colors here are improper alteration of the color balance of a visible light picture of Mars. Certainly I have not and certainly I would never.

Here is another image of the Martian surface from the Mars Pathfinder lander (cropped and reduced):

The image is from http://www.biospherics.com/mars/color/color.htm
"Color and Feature Changes at Mars Viking Lander Site," Gilbert V. Levin and Patricia Straat, and William D. Benton, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103, U.S.A., in J. Theor. Biol. (1978) 75, 381-390.

The image uses false colors, and it is clearly indicated in the paper from which this image comes. The intention is to check for possible traces of life forms. The intention was never to deceive the viewer so that he believes the Martian soil would be blue.

Here is another image of the Martian surface, in false colors. The intention is to display the altitudes of the surface in sharp false colors in order to indicate to the viewer the presence of a meteorite impact crater:

But on the other end, if you look at the following pictures, you will probably agree with me that the colors they show are not intended to represent anything of particular scientific interest. You will probably agree that they are not in explicit false color for some scientific purpose but that they may or may not be incorrectly balanced. These are the images I am concerned with.

Now, as far as Mars, NASA may be testing contrast and details for certain analysis or investigations that they could give you more insight to.

I will ask NASA about possible benefit of possible false colorization of the Mars pictures I deal with, but I don't really think I deal with pictures that have wrong colors for research reasons. At this time, I have ordered the full collection of the Viking and Pathfinder Martian surface pictures from NASA, they indicate that there may be a delivery delay of several weeks. When I get these CDs, I hope to be able to evaluate more thoroughly whether the color issue I discuss manifests itself in many original pictures or just a few widely publicized pictures.

Here is a further example that has made me think that amateurism (and the reason you cite later) and not science is at work in many Mars pictures. The first image is located on a presentation on Mars intended to be read by the general public, from the CNES web site. CNES is not NASA, so we spare any consideration on any NASA conspiracy here. CNES (Centre National des Etudes Spatiales, National Center for Space Studies) is our own small French counterpart of NASA.

On their Mars information page, they publish this picture:

Mars

And their caption reads: "The yellow - orange color is due to the presence of iron oxides."

It seems to me that it takes a lot of imagination to believe that CNES used any enhancing techniques here to indicate the presence of iron-oxides that would be revealed by this yellowish hue, when so many pictures are not yellowish but reddish with comments such as "Mars is red because of iron oxides." It seems that one day some third party may just as well issue a greenish Mars picture and caption it "The green color is due to the presence of iron oxides." If they would caption the picture as "the [exaggerated color] is due to our editing to indicate the presence of iron oxide, I would have no angry comment to do. Actually, the reddishness of Martian soil in true color is enough to indicate iron oxides, and editing the image so that it has a yellow hue is useless to make that point. And if the Martian soil was yellow in true color, it would indicate not iron oxides but sulfur (as on Io in true colors).

The NASA version of this picture is on http://www.solarviews.com/cap/mars/vlpan11.htm and has no yellow. It has a blue sky/green. This validates your point cited later that third parties crop and alter the colors, even when there is no urgent need for releasing the picture, and that NASA does publish pictures of the blue sky and the not-so-red rocks.

Another non-NASA example of ill-inspired colorizations is, still at the CNES web site:

Mars, burned out

With that caption: "Planet Mars is surrounded by a very thin atmosphere. Its color reddish - brownish color comes from the presence of small particles of dust in suspension. © NASA."

Again, I claim there is no inspired false colorization here: the only color that is left is the red color, and removing all other colors does not add any scientific value to the image.

(The CNES original page in English is at http://www.cnes.fr/WEB_UK/activites/connaissance/html/Mars/Mars.html )

But I am taking too much advance in the argumentation here: later, you mention poor web authoring as a cause for such ill-colored picture, and actually I quite agree. And we certainly both agree that poor web authoring does not qualify neither are proof of conspiracy nor as good science.

Next question I believe is how can NASA, after changing these settings, be sure that some photos are in the correct setting. This is simple. NASA actually puts color codes (very similar to paint sampling strips you pick up at the hardware store) on the spacecraft where the camera can turn and see it if need be. What NASA does is pan the camera to it and play with the settings till the colors on the camera or video image of that color "strip" match an identical one on earth. The values and attributes for those colors are predetermined and used to calibrate the cam whenever neccicary. Ive seen the plate for voyager and other probes. In fact, on the manned lunar missions of apollo, the surface crewmembers carried a small tripod that had one of these cards on it, for photographs where color changes would be made, the astronauts actually put this card in the foreground of the shot so the developer back on earth could play with the prints and correct so that the tripod color sheet matched an identical article. In fact, id be curious if nasa could now do this digitally which they might be able to do. It would be easy now, to tell the computer to set focus and whatever settings so that if it was viewing a color of a certain hue it should show up like this....whatever it appears to be on an earth test. Then the cam makes the adjustments. Once again, ask nasa what the current state of the art is there.

The color codes are precisely one of the evidence that the colors are changed. I just realized I have not given any examples, so here are some:

On http://history.nasa.gov/SP-425/cover.htm which is the cover of "The Martian Landscape" by the NASA History Center, you can get this picture, included here through an external link to the original:

The color code is not visible but the American flag is, and it seems that its blue turned purple. This occurs of course when too much red hue is applied.

On http://history.nasa.gov/SP-425/p136a.htm which is still a web page from the NASA history web site, I found this color palette picture:

This picture is highly interesting: you see both the American flag and the color palette. The palette shows purple where the blue color sample should be. The flag has no blue color, it appears purple. Indeed, adding a red hue to a picture makes the blue color appear purple. Moreover, this image somehow validates that the US flag can be used as blue color balance control palette also.

But I am also puzzled by this other picture from the same source:

The authors indicate that because there was no accompanying IR image, it is not possible to compensate for irregularities in the camera color filters.

This seems to suggest that the color balance control by using the control palette has been ignored or rejected. As for the reason, I guess I will ask NASA.

They add in http://history.nasa.gov/SP-425/ch39.htm :

[132] As we have already discussed in the introductory text, the problems in reconstructing the colors of the Martian surface and atmosphere are formidable. It would be nice to present a folio of color pictures with the unqualified comment that these are the colors of Mars. But, after more than a year of analysis, it becomes clear that the situation will never become so simple.

Agreed. We cannot be sure of any accuracy of the Martian colors. Hence, the argument that I sometimes heard from readers of my Mars pages that NASA photograph prove that the sky on Mars is not blue cannot be accepted. On the contrary, this is evidence that this NASA team was unsure of the correct color balance for both the surface and the sky. Again, in my opinion this does not mean that they intentionally colorized the pictures with some hidden agenda in mind, it just means that they did not exactly know what to do with the RGB balance, despite the reference palette method you mentioned.

Next, as far as published photos. I've seen similar mars photos with the blue atmosphere and captions that have NASA admiting that the true color is blue. So NASA is keeping no secret.

Agreed. Actually, one of my strongest arguments for the blue sky on Mars was that NASA scientists and other scientists also say that the Martian sky is blue in the middle of the day when there is no dust storm. The argument for the blue sky is an argument based on the atmospheric optical system, which does not need any consideration involving the pictures colors.

And in my previous paragraph, I have this reference that clearly indicates that NASA is sorry not to be able to clearly state what the actual colors of Mars are. No conspiracy, just difficulties, and no arguments against the blue sky idea from NASA.

Another of my arguments was that I found Martian blue sky photographs also on NASA sponsored web sites. Certainly, NASA has kept no secret about that, but unfortunately a much higher number of pictures on NASA web sites and other web sites have innundated the public with so many "red sky red planet" pictures. This has created a situation in which if one claims something about the sky being blue on Mars, one gets ...some kind of a reaction.

Just do this, let's say, "sociology" experiment (I did it): tell your friends or relatives or people in the street that the sky on Mars is of a light blue and not red in the middle of the day when there is no dust storm. Ouch.

In fact many times there have been misprints where NASA has released an "enhanced" photo for some investigation like I mentioned above, then the press assumes its true color, when nasa never said either way. There is a popular "rainbow" pic of saturn from voyager that is false color, nasa even says it is false color, but it has been used in misnomer fashion as truecolor. I believe my physics textbook, or one in my schools book storage had its cover based on such a falsehood. As far as photos from NASA websites, how can you expect an underpaid government website programmer, who doesnt neccicarily have the credentials to work at JPL(i even believe one of your examples was from the KSC website, hehe) get it right. NASA doesnt have as much money as it could use so an obvious choice for cuts is PR and website upkeep. Editing and typos and publication errors have occured before. Still, ive seen NASA publish the blue hue photos and labled them as true. NASA never intended to hide the true color as blue and has said that is the true color in many photos ive seen growning up reading about this stuff.

Agreed. This is indeed an interesting example. My concern is that there are so many "red Mars" pictures around that people including scientists have constructed a false mental image of Mars. We discuss later why there are so many "red Mars" image, my concern is whether NASA has some responsibility into this.

Another point you could have mentioned is that NASA released images are then reprinted and rescanned by third careless third parties, and I suspect that this is one cause of the utter silly redishness of many pictures printed in magazines and books. I see no conspiracy here, but I strongly feel that those responsible for the poor handling of the red balance do not see the problem because in their mind, Mars is supposed to be overall reddish, soil and atmosphere, just because this is the tradition.

Another point is when the photos were taken. It appears that many of your photos came from the first pan taken on both Viking and Pathfinder. If you look at one of you pathfinder examples (with the rover and pedals visible) you see the spacecraft hasnt even deployed the rover ramp, much less the rover itself. I recognize it easy as an initial camera pan of the surface. NASA always takes an initial pan after basic deployment and landing to make sure all is normal. This means the first or earliest pans dont always have the time to have the calibration finished. Let me quote quote Dr. Pietro:

"They also knew that they would need computer software programs to transform the raw data efficiently into an accurate color..."

here he confirms early photos are raw and that they needed time to get better quality through processing.

Mutch acknowledges that his team was "unprepared to reconstruct and analyze the first color picture," the difficulty in this reference is that no color is mentioned; we do not know if the sky was blue or pinkish in the first transmitted image before the balance readjustments. It is a bit unfortunate that this reference does not clearly state that. Di Pietro and Levin seem to say that the first picture did show a blue sky and green patches on the rocks, and that Mutch's team changed the settings until the sky was reddish/pinkish and the green patches were not green anymore, and that the edited image went to the press.

You seem to suggest that the sky color was wrongly pinkish, and that the picture was released to the impatient press with the wrong pinkish color, which would have turned out to have a blue sky if the Viking team had had the time to do the correction.

I have received several emails from readers of my Mars web pages that told me that indeed they remember seeing the first color pictures of Mars on TV, and that the sky was blue. When they read my pages, they say, they realized that it is indeed disturbing that Mars is now only shown with a reddish sky. Sometimes they have the feeling that this may be some sort of conspiracy.

In any case, everyone here indeed seems to agree that the sky should have been some light blue in broad daylight when no duststorm is at work and I agree with that.

To my readers: the story can be read in the free NASA book on http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4212/ch11.html

Also, because the media takes the first pictures it can get, it usually means the first pan photos are the most published cause they come out the soonest. This means that the pictures without calibration are usually gonna be widespread. It can take NASA many weeks to first calibrate (not so long), then take scientifically usefull photos and print them, analize them, then finally release them. The media doesnt wish to wait for these, and usually loses interest by the time the nicer photos come out. So youre gonna find a ton of "amateur" (really just uncalibrated) photos. Once again, this applies to the websites NASA runs. The taxpayers wanna see whats going on first (because were impatient) so NASA publishes the first dirty photos early to appease its funding base.

I think that is a very good point. Indeed, I am convinced that every time NASA hold back exciting new picture to make sure that they are accurately edited, they actually feed conspiracy theories.

But on the other I would have loved if NASA had now, decades later, browse through their image collections on their sponsored web sites and replaced those pictures that are so blatantly colored in an ill inspired manner, so that the general public becomes aware that Mars is not exactly that completely rusty looking red planet most people now have in mind. Again, I am not claiming conspiracy, I am rather claiming laziness and poor scientific communication towards the general public.

I am even convinced that if NASA was not so discreet about the difficulties of accurate color restitution, if they would present more "blue sky" pictures and less yellow/red/purple and mainly orange images, Mars would appear in the public's eye as something more interesting and worth of efforts than the uninteresting desolate rusty world they have now seen for decades. I believe this would even help NASA raise funds.

(I must say that a person I know (unrelated to any space research) told me otherwise: he supposed that if "blue sky Mars" pictures were largely disseminated instead of the "red Mars" pictures, the general public would be under the impression that Mars is not "exotic" and looks pretty much like a desertic Sahara looking planet and that would create a total los of public interest, especially when funds must be used for Mars exploration. "Why would people pay taxes to explore an uninteresting Earth lookalike?" he says. Some other kind of conspiracy, I guess. I am unconvinced.)

Lastly, id like to comment on the photo with the uncolorized cable at the bottom. Its a viking photo so i can easily tell you why this is. Vikings cameras were 1970s digital vintage (digital because the photos had to be transmited through space). It is also no secret that state of the art digital in the seventies is equivalent pocket calculator (or abacus in some cases, lol) now. This means that the images were taken pixel line by pixel line and that the photos appeared on the JPL monitors line by line over several seconds or even minutes like old web browsers used to load pics. It was also done in stages some times, where the photo loaded line by line, then color line by line, then focus or enhancement line by line. Since this was time consuming (the data rates of photo data was slow with 70s tech and millions of miles transmission distance). Therefore, to save time why not colorize the part of the photo only showing the spacecraft. All we wanted was to see the surface, the "frame" of the spacecraft wasnt important in that shot, so if I had been waiting in JPL i probably would have accepted the photo and stopped the "download" at that point because id been impatient waiting for the first surface images of mars. All it is simply is that that photo was accepted before the old computers finished colorizing those lines of pixels at the bottom. No biggie...

Although this is a mere detail without conspiracy flavor, I'm not completely convinced that your explanation, which I find accurate in itself, applies exactly to the "red cable" issue. The red cable appears over black and white sections, those where the color information download was not completed, possibly interrupted to save resources as you suggest. So I believe they airbrushed that part. Probably I did not correctly introduce this in the first place. What I had in mind is that NASA did colorize parts of the spacecraft in that picture, so that the picture looks nicer for the media. They airbushed the cables so that they look nicely red. I agree that this is just "public relation" airbrushing, but I strongly feel that NASA should never airbrush anything. When they do, they create a suspicion that they may willingly change other characteristics in their images. Elsewhere, you propose that one of the reason for color balance inaccuracies is the lack of care when "PR" oriented handling of the image is done. Here we have an example that sometimes, great care is given to small details of a picture, however irrelevant and useless the correction actually is.

I do not really buy any conspiracy theories, but I am opened minded and as we are plunged into claims of NASA doing strange picture editing for some hidden agenda, I expect not not see any editing, even "cosmetics" in any picture released by NASA, unless a caption clearly states the reason for the editing, which may be some scientific purpose as you suggested.

On the other end, I agree that there is not one pixel of reason to think that airbrushing the cable red serves any foul agenda. Rather, I was annoyed that the naive viewer of that picture may logically think that the greenish/yellowish ground and sky of that picture are the true colors of Mars, since the red parts on the spacecraft are clearly red. Mixing original colors and edited colors in the same picture makes it looks nice but is also misleading.

Also dont forget, dustorms arent permanent like you said, but since they do occur it should mean some should have a red sky. Thus the presence of different images with different colors is justified. The ones you show of the same with differeing colors are poor editing or a published falsecolor image.

Agreed, and I remember that, although I see more poor editing than false coloring for scientific purpose, in general.

If your argument is a conspiracy of somesort, I hope this answers it. If not, and I did read your point of just a public misconception existing, then yes one does. Ive seen NASA show the red ones as "true" by mistake, i've seen many of NASA saying look, the true color is bluish. Its a combination of many things that have created a controversy, but a guarantee you viking is on mars.

Oh I am totally convinced that Viking 1 and 2 really were on Mars, I do not have the single doubt about that. It is good that you mention that, and I will add some paragraph that clearly state that I do not at any time support the notion that the pictures would have been faked in some studio on the Earth.

I have presented numerous arguments in response to a "moon landing hoax" theorist (amateur) in my web site, I do not "buy" at all the "moon landing hoax" theory for that reason: I looked at their arguments, and none of them is correct in my opinion. (Unfortunately I have not translated my response to the "moon landing hoax" theory, I only published a French version as for now).

The use of the word conspiracy in my opinion does not apply when dealing with the Mars colors issues. I do not think that some group of people has deliberately acted to change the colors to run some hidden and foul agenda. But I do maintain that many people add too much red in general simply because they have the mental image of the "red planet" just like the alleged extraterrestrials are supposed to be little green men although those allegedly seen were almost never described as of green color. A bad tradition in my opinion.

As far as why would nasa falsify a color image, I hope my analysis of false color image investigations and thier use to NASA helps. As far as how can NASA know the real color if changed after launch, I hope my analysis of NASA camera calibration helps.

I enjoyed reading your article and found it very engaging. I would hope my commentary adds to the constructive. I cant line by line answer your questions of your printed "explanations" if youd like to challenge me on a specific point ive dropped, bring it to my attention, ill try to answer it.

For the clarifactaion of space exploration's findings-
John

Many thanks to you for taking the time to read my pages and comment it.

For the pursuit of the exploration of Mars and the exploration in general -

Patrick

Note:

My readers will find references, quotations, and photographs corresponding to this issue in the pages dealing with this question, and also, the opinions of other readers.

BEFORE writing to me about this, please read all the pages, please also read what other have already written, please read my answers.

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This page was last updated on November 27, 2002