MSL CURIOSITY WIND BOOMS AND DISINFORMATION

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Without wind speed measurement ability, the movement of sands across Mars cannot be understood. Without accurate pressure measurement, the power of the winds cannot be understood. Without an accurate portrait of pressure, the truth about Mars is obscured. (Updated 3/24/2017)

This article will discuss (1) the REMS wind boom design, (2) at least partial malfunction on landing, (3) wind reports issued to the public, (4) history of wind measurement problems on Mars, (5) implication in terms of correct analysis of Martian air pressure, and (6) ultimately the credibility of NASA/JPL with respect to its overall portrayal of Mars and its history. Let it it be noted upfront here that on May 11, 2013 Ashima caved in to agree with our daylight calculations, and with our demand that wind be listed as N/A rather than 2 m/s from the east. All their daylight calculations were revised to be within a minute or two of our math.

Figures 1 and 2 above- The Remote Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) weather booms on MSL Curiosity. Figure 3 below - REMS weather reports between August 29 and September 6 featured bizzarre pressure swings likely due to failure to make the right conversions between hPa and Pa pressure units, the wrong month on Mars, no relative humidity and never changing winds. The latter 2 problems persisted until May, 2013. As is discussed elsewhere, Ashima Research added to the problems by posting never changing sunrise and sunset times (always sunrise at 6 AM, sunset at 5 PM), but they also backed our calculations in 2013.

 

1. Design of the REMS Booms. This section is lifted directly from NASA/JPL. Comments by Barry S. Roffman are shown in red or blue. Figure 1 is taken from  the paper entitled REMS: The Environmental Senor Suite for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover by J. Gómez-Elvira et al. (2012)

PI: Javier Gómez-Elvira, Centro de Astrobiología, Spain

 

REMS has been designed to record six atmospheric parameters: wind speed/direction, pressure, relative humidity, air temperature, ground temperature, and ultraviolet radiation. All sensors are located around three elements: two booms attached to the rover Remote Sensing Mast (RSM), the Ultraviolet Sensor (UVS) assembly located on the rover top deck, and the Instrument Control Unit (ICU) inside the rover body.

       The booms are approximately 1.5 m above ground level. Boom length is similar to the RSM diameter, and therefore the wind flow perturbation by the RSM may reach the boom tip where the wind sensor is located. The two booms are separated in azimuth by 120 degrees to help insure that at least one of them will record clean wind data for any given wind direction. The figure below shows the booms’ relative position. There is a 50 mm height difference to minimize mutual wind perturbation.

      Boom 2, which points in the driving direction of the rover, has wind sensors and the relative humidity sensor.

       Boom 1, which looks to the side and slightly to the rear of the rover, hosts another set of wind sensors and the ground temperature sensor. Both booms have an air temperature sensor. See Figures 1 and 2 above.

      Wind speed and direction will be derived based on information provided by three two-dimensional wind sensors on each of the booms. The three sensors are located 120 degrees apart around the boom axis. Each of them will record local speed and direction in the plane of the sensor. The convolution of the 12 data points will be enough to determine wind speed as well as pitch and yaw angle of each boom relative to the flow direction. The requirement is to determine horizontal wind speed with 1 m/sec accuracy in the range of 0 to 70 m/sec, with a resolution of 0.5 m/sec. The directional accuracy is expected to be better than 30 degrees. For vertical wind the range is 0 to 10 m/sec, and the accuracy and resolution are the same as for horizontal wind.

       As mentioned previously, the wind field at the booms will be perturbed by the RSM and by the rover itself. Calibration will be done via a variety of wind tunnel tests under Mars conditions as well as numerical analysis. Simulations will be used to obtain results where tests conditions cannot be reproduced on Earth.

 

2. The Partial (or total) Malfunction on Landing. This section is lifted directly from Spaceflight 101. Our comments are shown in blue.

 

"During REMS checkouts, it was found that the boom looking to the side was sending saturated data at either high or low levels which was not valid."

 

The broken boom that looks to the side is Boom 1. In Section 1 above it was claimed that it hosts another set of wind sensors and (only) the ground temperature sensor. However, on Figure 1 above it is seen that Boom 1 houses both ground and air temperature sensors. Boom 2 only has an air temperature sensor (plus the relative humidity sensor) leading to questions about whether any ground temperatures published are correct.  Click HERE to see MSL ground (and air) temperatures published by NASA.

 

The article on Spaceflight 101 continues: "The issue was traced back to the exposed circuit boards and it was determined that two of three boards on the boom in question had damaged wiring. Teams assessed the situation and came to the conclusion that this type of damage was permanent without a chance of recovery. The REMS instrument and its wind sensors were successfully checked during cruise so that instrument health following launch and ascent aboard the Atlas V rocket back in November 2011 was confirmed. With the instruments starting to send bad data after landing while functioning during cruise has led to teams assuming that the instrument's circuit boards were damaged during Entry, Descent and Landing. Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity deputy project scientist, has stressed that there is now way of finding out what exactly happened to the hardware, but that teams have developed the hypothesis of small rocks damaging the tiny wires of the circuit boards during the propulsive landing. Following landing, images have shown small pebbles on the Rover Deck that were picked up by the Mars Landing Engines while the Descent Stage was hovering above Curiosity during landing.

       Possibly, these pebbles could have hit the fragile hardware on the mast which was in its stowed position with the REMS booms facing outward, leading to the damage teams are seeing.

       With one damaged wind sensor, teams will have to learn how to put the one remaining sensor to best use to provide wind speed and direction data to support the science goals of REMS." Note on August 13, 2016: Again, in fact, they never succeeded. Every single weather report by the REMS Team had listed the wind at 2 m/s from the east. They were all replaced by Value Not Available. Ashima Research, who drew its information from REMS, and used the metric equivalent of 7.2 km/h every day first withdrew its wind and daylength values, then pulled its website completely down.  The REMS Team  also list the relative humidity as -- or not available.

3. Wind reports issued to the public. Figure 3 shows the REMS Team weather reports issued to the publix between August 29 and September 6, 2012. They showed the same stuck wind speed until May, 2013 when they negated all wind speeds measured by MSL. Until then their 2 m/s figure from the east figure was nothing more than a (bad) guess.

 

Figure 4 - Phoenix telltale waving in Martian wind. Out-of-phase image may indicate a dust devil occurrence. Images taken before & after the event have west winds estimated at 7 m/s. During the event south winds are estimated at 11 m/s. Adapted from Taylor et al., 2008.

4.  History of wind measurement problems on Mars.

Until Phoenix landed in 2008, the only landers carrying dedicated meteorology instruments were Vikings 1, 2 and Pathfinder. There was little wind speed data for Mars after the Vikings due to calibration problems with the wind sensors for Pathfinder (Schofield et al., 1997).  Winds were too light (largely <5 m/s), but wrong assumptions about air pressure on Mars might have also caused calibration problems as wind speed u is related to pressure through Equation 1 from a NASA article about the Mars Pathfinder Windsock:

EQUATION 1: u = sqrt{[2 R(1) M g tan (theta)]/ [R(2) A(d) rho]}

In Equation1 R(1) = distance between pivot and center of mass, M =  non-counter-balanced mass, g = acceleration of gravity, R(2) =  distance between pivot and center of aerodynamic pressure,  A(d) =  effective aerodynamic cross-section, and rho = atmospheric  density (a function of pressure, temperature, and molecular weight).

    An MPF hot-wire anemometer also had calibration problems. Such technology is sensitive to pressure, gas composition, air temperature, and their own overheating which may induce systematic errors (Pedrero, Jaime, 2010).

Schofield et al. (1997) indicate that while Pathfinder was operational from July 4 to September 27, 1997, it had no pressure data for the most crucial sol – its first operational day on Mars. The reason given by the above reference is there were “various spacecraft software reset and downlink problems.” If the problems only occurred after the first day and if the first day’s pressure data was consistent with the Vikings, then Pathfinder’s data could be used to refute the claims made in our report. However, that is not the case. We are still dealing with a Tavis transducer with no way to keep the dust out of its pressure tube on or in the seconds before landing, and no way to change a clogged dust filter. The critical time is in the final landing process. So when the spacecraft has to reset the software and correct downlink problems then, the issue of exactly what is entailed in these corrections becomes one of extreme importance.

       J. Gómez-Elvira et al. (2012) claim that hot wire anemometry was used in the Viking mission and from then on, has been a reference in the design of wind sensors for Mars due mainly to its simplicity. Frankly, an old fashion anemometer with spinning cups (and varying pressure-related thresholds for movement) and a wind sock would seem a lot simpler. In support of this as mentioned above NASA never succeeded in calibrating the anemometer on Pathfinder. REMS follows the Viking design and uses thermal anemometry to record the wind speed also. Now we face a situation on MSL where one boom is out of service. Even had both booms survived the landing REMS, unlike previous landers with an arm or mast that isolated the wind sensor from the lander body, wind data would have been be strongly influenced by the rover body and some of its appendages (e.g. masthead, RTG, robotic arm).

      As for how the Viking landers compared to MSL, the Vikings wind sensor assemblies each consisted of two hot wires oriented at right angles to each other. A reference air temperature was measured using an identical hot wire located between the two wind sensors. For REMS the hot wire anemometry is based on recording either the amount of power required to heat a wire so that it maintains a constant temperature difference with the ambient (CTA) or to record the temperature of the wire when supplied with a constant amount of power (CPA). The convective power is then calculated, which in turn is used to obtain the wind speed. The REMS wind sensors use a thin film instead of a wire: titanium thin film resistors patterned on the surface of a silicon chip (Domínguez et al. 2008).

4.1 Anemometer/Telltale Wind Speed Issues. 

Understanding Martian wind is crucial in preparing for future manned missions to Mars.  As such, one of the first instruments chosen for Phoenix should have been an anemometer, but Taylor et al. (2008) refer to the failure to do so.  Their paper states, “We had hoped to include an anemometer in the MET package.  Faced with a lack of resources to achieve this, and the real desire to have some wind information we decided to make use of the SSI camera and have a novel Telltale to achieve this.”  See Figure 4.

The above Taylor paper rated the Telltale as capable of measuring wind speed in two orthogonal directions normal to gravity in the range of 2 to 5 m/s with an accuracy of 1 m/s or 20%, whichever is greater; and in the range of 5 to 10 m/s with only 40% accuracy. What happens when wind speed exceeded 10 m/s?  The Telltale reaches maximum deflection, goes horizontal, and “loses its wind speed/deflection correlation ability.”  This means that it is worthless in determining how strong winds are that exceed 22.4 miles per hour. Again, Stanzel et al. (2008) report dust devil velocities as high as 59 m/s (132 mph) seen by Mars Express Orbiter.

       The MPF IMP windsock was ineffective because light wind (< 5m/s) dominated the mission. Calibration for this windsock was only at 1,015 mbar and ~15 mbar of terrestrial air – see Annex H of our report.  Higher surface pressures for Mars were apparently not considered. The 15 mbar figure factored  in the difference between our air and CO2.

4.2. Martian Bedforms – Too Much Movement of Sand Dunes and Ripples for 6.1 mbar. 

       On November 17, 2011 an article was published by Dwayne Brown of NASA Headquarters and Priscilla Vega at JPL entitled NASA Orbiter Catches Mars Sand Dunes In Motion. The first startling confession was that:

 

 “Mars either has more gusts of wind than we knew about before, or the winds are capable of transporting more sand, said Nathan Bridges, planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., and lead author of a paper on the finding published online in the journal Geology. We used to think of the sand on Mars as relatively immobile, so these new observations are changing our whole perspective."

 

        The article makes clear that the HiRISE has documented movements of a few yards or meters per year in dozens of locations across the planet. It then states that wind-tunnel experiments have shown that a patch of sand would require winds of about 80 mph (35.76 m/s) to move on Mars compared with only 10 mph on Earth. It also makes the understatement that measurements from the Viking landers, in addition to climate models, showed such winds should be rare on Mars. The word rare was too generous.

How does the above required 80 mph compare with winds observed on Mars? The set of graphs on Figure 5 below show how wind speed varied at Viking 1 between its sols 1 and 350 (with the exception of sols 116 to 133 because data was missing then). Every sol (Martian day) was divided into 25 time bins, with wind readings provided for each one. During sols 1 to 199 the maximum wind recorded was 36.7 mph. Between sols 200 and 350 there was one incident where winds reached 57.9 mph, but at no measured point over 8,331 measurements, did the wind ever reach 80 mph. Average winds for Viking 1 were about 6.12 mph during sols 1 to 199, and 11.86 mph during its sols 200 to 350. All wind data was obtained from the Viking Project Group headed by Professor James Tillman.

       For Viking 2 during sols 1 to 199 the maximum wind recorded was 22.1 mph. From sols 200 and 399 it was a good bit windier, but the maximum winds at 51.9 mph – were still short of the 80 mph figure required to move the sands as was actually seen. Average wind for Viking 2 was about 7.54 mph from sols 1 to 199; and 13.33 mph from sols 200 to 399.        

       To witness sand moving under MSL on 02.27.2017 click Sand Moving Under Curiosity, One Day to Next.

4.3. Issues Raised by the paper on Planet-wide sand motion on Mars by Nathan T. Bridges (et al., 2012).

The Bridges et al. paper states that, “prior to Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data, images of Mars showed no direct evidence for dune and ripple motion. This was consistent with climate models and lander measurements indicating that winds of sufficient intensity to mobilize sand were rare in the low-density atmosphere.” It then reveals new findings that show that many sand ripples and dunes across Mars exhibit movement of as much as a few meters per year, demonstrating that Martian sand migrates under current conditions in diverse areas of the planet. However, in an effort to explain it, they speculate that “most motion is probably driven by wind gusts that are not resolved in global circulation models.”

A response to the resolution suggestion is that, as is noted before in conjunction with the 8,331 wind velocity measurements recorded at Viking 1 and Viking 2, in no case was a gust ever caught that hit 80 mph. The windiest day seen was with Viking 1 with a 57.9 mph gust during its sol 214.78 when the planet was at Ls 210.872 (Martian fall in the northern hemisphere).  Did this gust come out of a sudden event like a dust devil? No, obviously it was a storm of some sort, because the winds began to rise in the morning that day at sol fragment 214.38, then the fell off toward Martian midnight. Based on data from Professor Tillman's Viking Project Site, the incident is shown growing and subsiding on the Table below (on Figure 5) which is a profile of the windiest day Viking day on Mars with the greatest wind gust recorded at VL-2 sol 214.78.

 

Figure 5. Viking 1 wind speeds (sols 1 to 350) and the windiest day on Mars.

Bridges et al. state, “Below the resolution of HiRISE as seen by the MER rovers, the evidence for motion of fine sand is compelling, with indications of sand blowing out of Victoria Crater that erases rover tracks (Geissler et al., 2010), craters superposed on the ripples being filled with sand (Golombek et al., 2010), ripples from winds funneled along the troughs, and one observation of small sand ripple migration (Sullivan et al., 2008)."

An example of tracks being erased is shown in Figure 6 where Spirit’s tracks vanished during the 2007 global dust storm. Spirit landed at about 1.9 km below areoid. If the average pressure at areoid is about 6.1 mbar, with a scale height of 10.8 km, the average pressure at -1.9 km should only be about 7.27 mbar – quite low if wind is expected to move the sand.  Unfortunately the rover carried no meteorological instruments. This means that it could not measure pressure or wind. However we can compare the time that it felt the dust storm to the time that Viking 1 experienced its two global dust storms in 1977 (see Figure 26 from our Basic Report HERE). We could also look at what happened to Viking 2 then, but both MER Spirit and Viking 1 were in the Martian tropics while Viking 2 was at almost 48° North. As such, it is appropriate to examine the winds experienced by Viking 1 during dust storm 1977a, which began at Ls ~205, and dust storm 1977b which started at ~Ls 275. Note – both Vikings landed at an altitude about 3.5 km below the areoid. Identical winds at Spirit, about 1.6 km higher, would be less able to move sand.

We reviewed the hourly winds for 20 sols after each of these Ls (Solar Longitude) positions in the Martian orbit, where Ls 0 = the start of spring (in the northern hemisphere where Viking 1 landed), Ls 90 = the start of summer, Ls 180 = the start of fall, and Ls 270 = the start of winter. In skimming through the data it appears that in the 20 sols that begin at Ls 205, the maximum wind at Viking 1 was 25.9 m/s (57.93 mph - see Figure 5 above), but this velocity did not occur until Ls 210.872.  For the second dust storm the maximum wind was 18.3 m/s (40.9 mph). Note: For Global Dust Storm 1977a the first hourly wind for Viking 1, Ls 205 was reached by coincidence at its Sol 205. The initial hourly wind examined was at Ls 205.017 at Sol 205.38. Hourly winds were then tracked through its Sol 224.98. This occurred at Ls 217.301. For Global Dust Storm 1977b the first hourly wind examined for Viking 1 was at Ls 275.005 at its Sol 314.14. Hourly winds were then tracked through its Sol 333.98. This occurred at Ls 287.385.

So, again, even during Global Dust Storms 1977a and 1977b, there were no winds recorded sufficient to move sand at the accepted pressure.



Figure 6. Spiritís tracks vanished during the 2007 global dust storm.

5. NASA'S MSL Dust Devil Assertions/Fantasies. NASA published the chart and assertions made on Figure 7 in reference to whirlwind detection by at Gale Crater HERE. The issue is whether their interpretation is warranted or not. The first thing noticed is that the winds are shown as being largely from the north, whereas every single REMS and Ashima report from August 22, 2012 to January 7, 2013 shows an average wind at 2 m/s from the East - with no variation whatsoever. In fact, as noted earlier, NASA/JPL had to retract ALL wind directions and speeds because their instrumentation broke on landing.  So Figure 7 is nothing more than Government disinformation. Still, let's look at it further.
        Next observe that the overall drop in pressure from 11 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. (about 2 Pa) is more than the drop in pressure at about 11:02 a.m. (about 1 Pa) that is supposed to be associated with the first dust devil. Also, the wildest gyrations in wind direction at 11:10 is not associated with any kind of significant pressure drop that minute. At a few seconds before 11:11 a.m. there is another almost as large change in wind direction that is associated with a pressure drop from about 779.6 Pa (7.796 mbar) to about 777.25 Pa (7.7725 mbar).

How do the pressure fluctuations seen at Gale Crater compare with dust devil pressure variations seen on Earth and with hourly pressure variations seen with the Viking landers on Mars? Roy E. Wyatt (1954) of the Weather Bureau Regional Office in Salt Lake City, Utah reported that a small, approximately 50-foot high, 50 to 60 foot wide dust devil had its center pass within 8-10 feet of a microbarograph on August 12, 1953 in St. George, Utah (Figure 2) at an altitude of 2,951 feet above sea level. A drop from 26.98 inches of mercury (913.644 mbar) to 26.94 inches of mercury (912.289 mbar) was recorded.  This 1.355 mbar drop in pressure equals 133.5 Pa (compared to a 2 Pa drop with the alleged dust devil at Gale Crater). However, most telling is that Viking 1 and 2 almost always saw much larger pressure increases each sol about 7:30 AM local time with increases up to 0.62 mbar (62 Pa) from the previous hour at that time. This is discussed by us in more detail in Section 1.1.8 (Core Pressure Excursions) of our Basic Report. So, in summary here, the wind directions offered by NASA match nothing seen in their daily reports over the first 10 months of MSL operation, the pressure drops are not there for all the wind gyrations seen, and of course the amount of pressure drops neither match what is seen on Earth with dust devils, nor do they approach what is seen in hourly pressure fluctuations reported by the Viking landers. Finally, no dust devil was photographed in asssociation with these pressure drops at Gale Crater. In short, the entire effort that went into Figure 7 was based on pure fiction and (temporary) coverup of nonfunctioning wind instrumentation.

Figure 7 - NASA asserts the presence of dust devils at Gale Crater.

6. Implication in terms of correct analysis of Martian air pressure. Figure 6 is useful in understanding the main problems at hand. Sand moves on Mars much more than it should at the NASA-advertised pressures. Dust devils are abundant on Mars despite the fact that NASA could not replicate them at 10 mbar in a wind tunnel at Ames unless it used winds higher than any ever seen on Mars and more than 11 times higher than Martian winds typically seen. JPL's latest attempt to explain the failure of its chosen wind sensor relates to rocks that were kicked up by the rocket engines hitting Boom 1. On Phoenix NASA couldn't afford an anemometer even though the MET package cost $37,000,000. On Pathfinder they couldn't calibrate the anemometers (to do that it really helps to have the air pressure measured correctly), and NASA had a computer problem and couldn't do that on the all-critical first day on Mars. So, after the 1976 and 1977 landings on Mars, when no movement of sand was reported seen at Viking 1 or 2, all we really have for measured wind speeds are from Viking 1 and 2.

        If someone wanted to sabotage the truth about the real nature of Mars, they would do well to allow the wind booms on MSL to be destroyed. Why were they not shielded? The first picture ever taken from Mars showed rocks kicked up and sitting on top a lander footpad. The paper REMS: The Environmental Senor Suite for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover by J. Gómez-Elvira et al. (2012) lists one of its authors as Kahanpää. He was a designer of the FMI's Vaisala pressure transducer. When we wrote to him about his complaints about not being given critical information about heat sources during the design phase of the Vaisala (used again on MSL) due to ITAR, and about not knowing about air access tubes to the dust filter for his sensor, he indicated that the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a $2 billion (actually. $2.5 billion) cornerstone mission and it is therefore handled in a different way than the $454 million dollar scout mission Phoenix. But apparently not different enough to fund boom protection.

        MSL is a mission that's mostly about geology. There is already preliminary approval for another geology mission to Mars. But the really important questions about Mars focus on climate/weather. If Mars once had an ocean and abundant water elsewhere, where did all that water go? In September, 2013 Curiosity found that at Gale Crater there were 2 pints of water in every cubic foot of sand, and that this was expected to be true for the rest of the planet.

       If Mars is red because of all the iron oxide there, where did the oxygen come from? On Earth it came from life via photosynthesis. Is the same true for Mars? NASA's emphasis, long after it wrongly shot down the signs of life detected on the Vikings, has been on the possibility of finding bacteria there. But Mars may have once had life far more significant than that.

       In the end if the moving sands (and weather) of Mars point to higher pressures than advertised by NASA, the question must be asked, "Did NASA get Mars wrong due to incompetence, or did it choose to hide the truth for fear of cultural impact?" The REMS Team has published weather reports that contain numerous goofy mistakes. This is shown on Figure 3 above. But it's hard to believe that the people on the REMS Team can all be incompetent. What organizations are they associated with? A partial list includes the Centro de Astrobiologia in Madrid, Spain. They had oversight over REMS and publish the daily weather reports. I discuss Ashima Research in conjunction with their flawed Ashima/MIT Mars Generation Circulation Model (GCM) elsewhere on this site. I was only motivated to check on their GCM when I noticed a pattern of sloppy reports that are discussed in my article about them. One of their members was from MIT. JPL, the FMI (who created the pressure sensors), NASA Ames, Michigan University and three Spanish universities had authors on the paper. While incompetence is possible, disinformation cannot be ruled out. This will be discussed in Section 7 below.

7. Statement by Barry Roffman on credibility of NASA/JPL with respect to its overall portrayal of Mars.

       Almost eight years ago my son (David) was just was just beginning his B.S. in space physics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Now he has a PhD in physics from at the University of Florida. David had an assignment to write a paper for a 1-credit Introduction to Space Science course. He asked if I had any ideas for a topic. I suggested that he look at the issue of how dust devils could form on Mars with an average pressure of 6.1 mbar at areoid. I've long viewed dust devils as the Achilles ' Heel of accepted Martian pressure.

       The initial reaction of his professors was one of certainty that accepted pressures were correct, but as David brought in more contradictory evidence, we saw them in private begin to express the possibility that we might be on to something. The more we checked out the details, the more we suspected that our Government might be giving us a snow job about Martian air pressure. In fact, we even discovered that snow was seen falling at the Phoenix lander, although this was supposedly not unexpected.

      When I suggested the topic to David, it wasn't out of simple Curiosity (for which the MSL rover is named). It was because I suspected that truth about Mars was part of a larger truth that has been covered up since 1947. In the Basic Report, as has been discussed somewhat above, we provide the results of interviews with Professor James Tillman, Director of the Viking Computer Facility; Henriq Kahanpää who designed the Phoenix and MSL Vaisala pressure transducers, a sales representative for Tavis who gave us the CADs for the Vikings and Pathfinder; and the historian at the NASA Ames facility. Elsewhere on my son's site we present the debate results between us and Dr. Andrew Ingersoll at Cal Tech/JPL. He is shown on a history of Martian pressure chart as having professed a surface pressure on Mars of under 10 mbar back in 1969. Twice in 2011 we spoke with Dr. Ashwin Vasavada, Deputy Project Scientist for MSL.

       We have read countless papers, and I feel almost like I’ve lived on Mars after reviewing each of the hourly pressures, temperatures and winds on the two Viking landers for many hundreds of days. I can assure you that the same effort made to interview everyone alive who played a major role in establishing accepted pressure on Mars, was also made by me to interview people with personal, technical and professional knowledge of what I will only refer to here tangentially as the larger truth. I have many friends who have shared sensitive information with me. Much of it can't be published because of the effects it would have on careers, or more. But all of it points to a pattern of deliberate disinformation.

       Some of the deception is, at times, removed. We now know that the color of the Martian sky, as seen by MSL, is indeed blue although originally when people like Dr. Ron Levin saw that blue sky on their monitors at JPL, it was manually altered to a redder color. He fought that act for over 30 years; with his last paper about it at http://www.gillevin.com/Mars/5555-29.PDF. His father, Dr. Gil Levin, was told by NASA that there were no organic chemicals on Mars, but that has recently been proven false. We think that Dr. Gil Levin should have won the Nobel Peace Prize for proving via his labelled-release experiments on Vikings 1 and 2 that there is life on Mars now. My article about Dr. Levin is at http://marscorrect.com/photo2_25.html. Obviously, now that we know there is running water on the surface of Mars, our belief that there is life there is even stronger.

       We were told after Viking that there is no movement of sand on Mars, and that too (as was discussed above) has been proven false. But the pace of these recantations is so slow, that I find myself growing old now, with no manned landing seen on Mars, and none in sight for the foreseeable future.

       Based on nearly eight years of intense Mars research, and a huge number of interviews, it is my judgment that the first act of deception with respect to wrongly portraying the color of the Martian sky was part of an overall attempt to keep us from sending people to Mars. Here I digress briefly. If I were naïve, I would call for a Congressional inquiry into how data from Mars has been handled. But we live in an age when people are deceived by our Government over matters as simple as whether the attack against our consulate in Benghazi was linked to a cheap film about Mohammed, or whether it was an attack by Al Qaida which could cause political damage to the Obama Administration (Note: in October 22, 2015 hearings in the House of Representatives Congressman Jim Jordan (R- Ohio) used the e-mail record of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to prove that she lied to the America people on this subject). We live in an age of political spin, intimidation, and news networks that spout the Government line. This web site (and my son's site too) are read by NASA and NASA-related offices on a near daily basis. Other space agencies (especially the Russians and the European Space Agency) also read our work on a very regular basis. We maintain logs of NASA and Russian IP addresses for such readers. But except for one phone call from Professor James Tillman, who was Director the Viking Computer Facility in which, seemingly out of the blue, Tillman apologized to my son for earlier opposition to our work; and an e-mail by JPL spokesman Guy Webster thanking us for correcting obvious JPL/REMS Team mistakes, we never receive anything from midlevel NASA or ESA personnel either critique or comment on our findings, however, ESA was reading this article earlier today. (Note: Because of my military background, unless directed to do so by the United States Government, I will not respond to the Russians if they try to contact us. However so far no such communication has occurred.).

        In the end I must concede that I am only a retired Coast Guard officer, a retired high school science (including astronomy) teacher, and an author with an axe to grind against those who sabotaged the magnificent space program that brought 12 Americans to the surface of the moon four decades ago. My son has realized the futility of fighting for the truth in reference to Mars, and he has thus moved on to an apparent future in condensed matter therory physics. While I would be thrilled to be proven wrong about this, memories of the Apollo program are mine and not his. I am more of a fighter than my son. And so I choose to fight this fight, and to do all in my power to bring forward the facts here by way of this web site and our constantly updated reports. I can hope that personnel associated with REMS, JPL, or NASA will come forward with appropriate confessions, but I will not hold my breath waiting for it to happen although Ashima Research did pull down all of their Mars data taken from REMS. Perhaps one day, long after I’m gone, there will be people colonizing Mars, and they will know the truth. If there are, I hope they look back at our findings here and remember the efforts that we have made to open a new world for them.
 
UPDATE OF MARCH 2, 2017 BY BARRY S. ROFFMAN: President Donald Trump's vision for America may include landing astronauts on the moon or Mars by the mid-2020s, if his first address to a joint session of Congress is any guide. "American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream," the president said during his Tuesday night (Feb. 28) speech. I note a large and significant increase of Department of Defense (DoD) traffic to this site (and this page) after those remarks were made. Whether by a private SpaceX rocket or by the U.S. Space Launch System, let me assure my DoD and SpaceX readers that I am ready to offer whatever assistance is useful to making these missions a success. I do not require a salary if the work can be done near or where I live in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  As for my son, David, currently serving in a postdoc position at Yale, his preference is that if employment is offered in conjunction with such a mission it be near our home in Cape Canaveral.  We all look forward to the upcoming launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy which is supposed to take two tourists around the moon by the end of 2018. And we are thrilled that we may get to witness from our front door not only the return of Americans to the moon and possibly Mars in my lifetime (I'll be 70 on May, 2017), but also the revelation of the truth. When NASA is ready to reveal the truth, we are ready to help explain it.