Conspiracy Theory - NASA Hiding Alien Life?
    By Hank Campbell | October 8th 2010 03:31 PM | 8 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    Conspiracy theorists love photo effects.   If you want to see a man on Mars, you will eventually find it.  But if NASA cleans up an image and then posts it, and then a high-contrast photo makes the rather weak lighting look like some anthropomorphized UFO, well, it's a conspiracy.

    Face on Mars. Viking mission 1976
    Man on Mars.   Credit: NASA

    man on Mars
    Another man on Mars.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University

    The latest conspiracy involves a photo of  Saturn's moons Dione and Titan taken by NASA's Cassini orbiter.  Like most NASA photos, it was cleaned up before posting for the public.

    The Internet went ... well, not crazy, but a little deep into the make-believe woods.  Here is what they are talking about:

    NASA Saturn moons Titan and Dione conspiracy theory photoshop
    UFO, if you want to believe it.  Credit: NASA

    See for Emily Lakdawalla's account of why the editing made sense.
    "Cassini takes color pictures by snapping three sequential photos through red, green and blue filters," she said. "In the time that separated the three frames, Dione moved, so if I did a simple color composite I would be able to make Titan look right, but not Dione; or Dione look right, but not Titan."

    "So I aligned Dione, cut it out, and then aligned Titan," Lakdwalla explained, "and then had to account for the missing bits of shadow where the bits of Dione had been in two of the three channels."


    It's much more fun to think that literal Titans or Klingons or whatever are perched out there in a Death Star-sized ship and NASA doesn't want to set off a worldwide panic but some oppressed underdog will reveal the truth and then a group of heroes will have to go fight them.

    Bruce Willis is getting a little old for that sort of movie role, but I am totally available.


    yeeeah. I will NOT be following you idiots on fb anymore because this is not a scientific blog, go back to school.

    Hank, you are hitting spot on genuine astronomers sense of humor. (ref the comment above ;-)). At the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics we had bundles of fun taking 'serious' the various beliefs among what we called 'nuts' - and the institutes like ours tend to be like magnets on nuts.

    Conclusion. Science2.0 is a real science blog in every aspects. :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Nice, Hank

    When Bruce Willis moves over, you'll be added to the list ;-)

    I am reminded of a few of the more eccentric views held by some of the people I met when an environment activist - many were drawn simply because it was in opposition to mainstream, and brought their suitcases full of conspiracies with them...I actually found it quite enlightening, if only for the paradigm shift in perspective it demanded to try to see things from other people's perspectives.....something, on occasions Science fails to do

    I like seeing the humorous side of science though, it reminds me that you're still human....and not a fantasy world film star after all

    The whole issue of possible causes of conspiracies/fear suspicion of government, seems rooted in language, and maybe follows on from Patrick's post here

    and Gerhard's here

    Just a thought.....

    One of the more intriguing aspects to the conspiracy is that movies and television shows (according to the conspiracists) are "setting us up" so that we won't have a global panic when they reveal true alien life.  They ignore the fact that people have been writing about extraterrestrial beings since at least the time of Cyrano de Bergerac (the real one, born 1619) and with the exception of Wells' "War of the Worlds", nobody has shown any inclination to panic.  Nor has there been, after 400 years, any further proof of life elsewhere.

    I do believe there IS life elsewhere.  I just don't believe it visits us and is in contact with our government and leaves massive monuments and cities on Mars.
    Sure, any knowledge of math says there are probably other lifeforms out there but they may not have found us any more than we have found them ... and anyone spending time listening to radio waves, like they do now, is just stupid.    In order for them to be transmitting from a distance we won't have detected them, they had to have sent the radio transmissions 500 years ago ... but since we wouldn't have radios for 400 years until after they sent them, they wouldn't have bothered.

    Basically, it's a load of rubbish.   Other life may not even be in a form we can understand, or that can understand us, so assuming every photo is a UFO just like in movies is paranoid wishful thinking on their part.
    Warren Davies
    Yeah, sure, because the first thing NASA do when they take a photo of aliens is to photoshop them out and release the photo anyway!

    Top people at NASA called into an urgent meeting at NASA HQ (classified location):
    Scientist 1: Crap guys, it's happened again.  We wanted a shot of Saturn but those damn quantum-inter-dimensional forms got in the photo image again.  They can't resist a camera lens.  What do we do?
    Scientist 2: I know, let's photoshop the UFO out and release it to the public.
    Scientist 1: Sounds reasonable to me.
    Scientist 3: Hang on.  You're a pair of bloody idiots.  You want to take an image with proof of alien life, which, by the way, the masses aren't even ready for - they need at least 20 more years of alien movies for that - then you want to photoshop the aliens out, and RELEASE it?  How about this - why don't we just NOT RELEASE THE PICTURE OF THE ALIENS???!!!?
    Scientist 1: Don't be stupid.  It'll be fine, no one will notice.
    Scientist 2: Yeah man, lighten up (what's with this guy?)
    Nasa has been told by my people that at the very moment they reveal our true identity. We will have to destroy your planet, and strip mine all of its very valuable natural resources. We have an outpost on the dark side of the moon. And we will be able to cripple your planet within a Galactic day, which in your time frame is really 15 minutes. LMAO if anyone actually ever believes this post to be true. Keep on sniffing that glue people

    every1 has there own theories but i beleive that they are here and the government does have sumthin to do with it.u look at how similar all alien sightings are there all very similar stories and they seem to be able to sort of shape shift as if from another dimension or sumthin.and think of the technology that the government (apparently) has.i think instead of looking up for aliens we should try looking in the least expected places like underground for example.when u think about it u hear storys of area 51 having underground bases etc.why would they do that cant just be hiding sumthin why would they go to all this effort to hide sumthin.its more like there not hiding sumthin from us but hiding us from sumthin.if that makes sense