The Cydonian Imperative
An independent effort to assess possible extraterrestrial artifacts on Mars

by Mac Tonnies


Send email to macbot [at] yahoo dot com.

I haven’t updated this site in some time, but I’ve continued to write about the Cydonia controversy and planetary SETI on my all-purpose blog, Posthuman Blues. To visit, click here. To read only Mars-related items, click here. (For additional links to anomalous phenomena, follow me on Twitter.)

The presence of possible alien artifacts on Mars is one of the most provocative enigmas ever confronted by science. This site explores this possibility from political, social and anthropological perspectives. While the Cydonian Imperative is necessarily an exercise in speculation, it is also an ideal format in which to explore the very real possibility of discovering extraterrestrial intelligence in the near future. (For more information, please see the Cydonian Imperative FAQ.)

Mars/Cydonia must-reads–click covers to order from!cover cover cover cover cover cover
(For more titles, plus reviews, click here.)

Search for individual topics and articles.



The main portion of the Cydonian Imperative website consists of an ongoing, periodically updated journal begun shortly after the acquisition of a third, confirming photograph of the “Face” in April of 1998. The illustrations on these pages are derived from NASA data. I’ve included attributions where applicable. I extend my thanks to Kurt Jonach of The Electric Warrior, Zakas, SPSR’s Lan Fleming, and Efrain Palermo for their permission to use various images. The title banner is by Chris Joseph. All errors are my own. (Note: Posts are presented in chronological order; earliest posts come first.)

For posts 1-20, see the Cydonian Imperative Archive.

“Solar” hypothesis for “eye,” hexagonal anomaly, new poll results, geometric grid.


Biomorphic anomaly, bright “cells,” Pathfinder “sphinx,” explosive event (?), grids, SETI in the fields?


NASA’s so-called “Search for Life,” Golden Ratio overlay, Mars Odyssey in orbit.


New Martian “faces,” J.P. Levasseur’s “out-of-frame” technique, crater anomalies.


“Face-like” formation in Iran, JPL disinformation, hexagonal anomalies.


Facial symmetry, “debunker” takes aim, MOLA mishap.


Mars Odyssey to target Face, Pathfinder “sphinx,” Face and Cliff, new MGS targets.


Infrared photos, Face-like platform discovered, Cerberus anomalies.


Cerberus ellipses, Martian chlorophyll, Face and D&M Pyramid reimaged by THEMIS, Cydonia Pictogram reimaged.


D&M Pyramid, Lan Fleming commentary, five-sided anomalies, biocontamination threat, 2001 Face ancillary data.


Mound “P” anomalies, NASA responds to FACETS, new Cydonia images, “Cydonia Hilton,” “Hollow,” 1963 memo on Martian intelligence, Face-like formation, ice discovered, “God’s Black Space,” city-like grid.


PUFOIN, Face as “visual metaphor,” Norman Bergrun, Russia proposes Mars mission, THEMIS infrared image.


Enterprise Mission claims, “Zippy the Pinhead,” SETI’s new perspective, Inca City “ring,” indigenous humanoids.


THEMIS controversy, “The Forge of Mars,” new Face image, ancient “city”?, Cliff revisited, skepticism, TransOrbital.


Nighttime infrared, D&M Pyramid, illusory “eggs,” “sled trails.”


Farshores interview, Arctic formations, weblog, Columbia disaster, “The Atlantis Enigma,” the future of manned exploration.


Extinction?, Mars mission patch, “urban substrate,” Iraqi/Martian “anomalies,” Cydonia hexagon, “Old Man in the Mountain.”


Pseudoskepticism, new Face images, Earth from Mars, “Coathanger.”


Mars Express/Beagle 2, homo erectus, MER, accelerated evolution.


Phobos, Martian “spiders,” FarShores interview, “underground city” revisited, terrestrial “Tholus,” stepped mound, Peter Ness.


Malin Space Science Systems: request for targets, Hoagland’s reflective substrate, Michael Cremo’s “Human Devolution,” D&M reimaged.


“Human Devolution” reviewed, new Face image, manned Chinese launch successful, “puma” on Mars?, “Diamond” and Mound E.


Cydonia Parallelogram, Arcology Hypothesis, strange buried formation.


D&M close-up, possible Pleiades connection, Spirit rover lands successfully.


Mars’ sky: red or blue?, Van Flandern commentary, rectangular holes in Mars rocks, blue features in craters, strange rock.


Mars Express photographs Mars, “flying saucer” isn’t, Opportunity anomaly, Mud at Spirit site?


JPL plays it safe, “bunny” identified, “centipede” on Mars?, more mainstream butchery, “fossil” debate, M�ssbauer “CD,” Martian methane, “Face”-like formations, CI 2.0!, new posts to appear here.


Crater Pyramid…

Photographic Evidence

A few of the peculiarities in the Cydonia region.

Essays and Articles

The problems and surprises of planetary SETI.


The best online Cydonia resources.

The Cydonian Imperative Mars blog shortlist:

Red Colony

Recommended Reading

The best books on the Martian anomalies.

Position statement

“While face to face meetings with [extraterrestrial life] will not occur within 20 years, unless its technology is more advanced than ours, qualifying it to visit Earth, artifacts left in some point in time by these life forms might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the Moon, Mars, or Venus.”–Brookings Institution report to NASA, 1960
“The restriction of knowledge to an elite group destroys the spirit of society and leads to its intellectual impoverishment.”

–Albert Einstein

“I’m pretty convinced from some of the recent images that Mars does not just harbor life, it’s infested. We better be careful where we land.”

–Arthur C. Clarke

“Discovery commences with the awareness of anomaly.”

–Thomas Kuhn

The Cydonian Imperative doesn’t claim the features in Cydonia are necessarily artificial, although this possibility certainly has enough evidence to justify efforts to reimage the landforms at the heart of the debate. Artificiality at Cydonia is testable. We can find out in the near future if we take steps to debureaucratize NASA, which has become unwieldy, contradictory and painfully short-sighted in regards to future Mars exploration.

If the “Face” and/or other features test positively for artificiality, this discovery promises to be the most explosive we have ever encountered. The Cydonian Imperative advocates disclosure of any findings that would tend to bear out the Artificiality Hypothesis. I’m troubled by NASA’s demonstrated refusals to comply with scientific method and acknowledge the work of independent researchers.

The Cydonia inquiry is not trivial, pseudoscientific, or dismissable. On the contrary, the enigmas on the Martian surface (and perhaps elsewhere in the Solar System) challenge our conceptions of planetary and genetic selfhood. We cannot afford to miss this potentially transforming opportunity.

“On this erudite and highly informative site, Mac Tonnies presents a non-biased, even-handed view of the latest news and information on discoveries and anomalies concerning the planet Mars, whether of an orthodox or ‘alternative’ scientific nature. Mac’s keenly incisive articles and excellent supporting photographic evidence can be always be relied upon to keep one accurately and promptly informed of current happenings, discoveries and events pertaining to our mysterious neighbour in space.”
Gerry Forster

“…much speculation and some brave inference-drawing on the indications that there may be artifacts of an alien race on the red planet.”

John Shirley