Cydonia Quest

Mars. Where this story began.

Updated May 2021

Annotated Menu for the Mars Research

This menu page has been annotated with explanations so that complete newcomers to this subject can proceed with a better understanding.

First, let's start with a little background......


The Purpose of this Research

The purpose of this research is to provide evidence for one of the solutions to the Fermi Paradox. (The physicist Enrico Fermi was the father of artificial nuclear fission and the nuclear reactor). In 1950, during a discussion about alien spacefaring civilisations, Fermi expressed surprise that humans hadn't encountered one - or at least discovered evidence left behind by galactic civilisations that had perished. The galaxy was so big and so old, and the opportunities for intelligent life elsewhere so good, that it seemed a paradox. (See µµµ).

Many ingenious explanations have been forwarded for why we aren't in contact with any existing spacefaring civilisations. The Cydonia Quest approach is to look for the ruins of previous waves of galactic colonisation that settled in the Solar System in the deep past and then perished. Mars and its Cydonia region seem particularly fruitful in this regard - and so the focus will be mostly on Mars.


A Position Statement

It is only fair that I state my own attitudes towards the question of possible artificial structures on Mars. Firstly, I would be very pleased if the artificiality hypothesis were to be proven - so I have an emotional bias in favour of artificiality. Secondly, I don't yet believe that there is overwhelming evidence for ruins on Mars or elsewhere in the Solar System. However, I do believe that there is overwhelming evidence of things that look like ruins. Therefore, the analysis in these Mars pages will explain why these ruin-like anomalies may actually be the real thing.

Menu of Articles

Just click on the hyperlinked "stargates" to read the articles.

µ Image of the Day Archive - Updated during 2021

This is an archive of all the captions and images that have appeared in the "Image of the Day" section of the Cydonia Quest front page. This page allows readers to catch-up with any Images of the Day they've missed, or to review past ones that intrigued them. Perusing the archive gives readers a quick way to review the evidence for ruins on Mars and elsewhere.

µ Context and Inter-active Maps for Cydonia

Currently this page only contains context maps for the Cydonia anomalies. It will eventually also have "inter-active" maps that will give readers another way to explore articles about the anomalies, whilst understanding their geographical relationships.

µ The Strange Case of Cydonian Geometry - Updated 1st June 2005

This section of Cydonia Quest deals with the issue of apparent geometry in the layout of the anomalies in the "Monuments" area of Cydonia. Many researchers have seen this as strong evidence of artificiality in the region. Over time the author will set out their own work and that of others about this fascinating subject.

µ The Cydonia Quest Occasional Journal - Updated 29th October 2015

This section is a place for articles that don't easily fit into the structure of the website, and which also allows the author to comment upon interesting news & developments.

µ The Cydonia Quest Opinion Polls Page - Updated July 2013

A page that allows readers to vote about the subject matter of this website and to give feedback through the comments facility of the automated polling service.

µ Cydonia Quest Links Page - Updated July 2013

A selection of external space exploration resources and websites that are similar in content to Cydonia Quest.


Image Analysis - Updated 12th July 2017

This section contains the major part of the Mars research. It covers the Cydonia Quest analysis of images sent back to Earth by the various missions to Mars. The articles are arranged according to geographic location and type of anomaly. New articles will appear as new ruin-like anomalies are discovered and known ones are re-imaged in better detail by the Mars Reconnaissance Observer (MRO).



Cydonia is a small region of Mars located in the northern hemisphere on the edge of what scientists think was once the planet's great northern ocean. Attention was drawn to Cydonia in 1976 when the Viking spacecraft imaged what appeared to be a monument of a huge upturned face there. It was assumed to be a freak of nature or "a trick of light and shadow".

At the beginning of the 1980's NASA imaging technicians Vince Di'Pietro and Greg Molenaar applied a new image enhancement technique they had developed to the Viking imagery of the "Face on Mars". The results increased suspicion in some that the "Face" might be artificial and not natural.

Di'Pietro and Molenaar also discovered a bi-symmetrical five sided pyramid close to the "Face", which drew in more researchers. These discovered other possible artificial anomalies and some evidence of geometric relationships between them. In 1989 Richard Hoagland published the first edition of a best selling book on the subject, The Monuments of Mars that popularised the hypothesis of ruins at Cydonia.


The "Face"

As interest in Cydonia began with the mile long "Face" it is only right that the image analysis of Cydonia begins with it. Higher resolution imagery shows details on the "Face" that can be interpreted as structural features.

µµµ The Face's Unusual Brightness - October 2013

µµµ MRO's First Image of the Face - April 2007


A History of the "Face" from 1976 to 2001

This series of articles was written between 2000 and 2001. During that time we went from having poor imagery of the "Face" to the release of the revealing 2000 and 2001 images taken by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft. The articles thus capture how our understanding of the "Face" was rapidly transformed by the arrival of better information as it happened.

µµµ Part 1

µµµ Part 2

µµµ Part 3

µµµ Part 4

µµµ Part 5



Arcologies are massive (self contained) habitations that can house substantial populations. They are effectively a town or a city contained in a single building and were first proposed by the architect Paolo Soleri. An arcology can be created either by building the structure "from scratch" - or by tunnelling out a natural feature like a mountain. They are particularly suitable habitations for harsher planetary surfaces than Earth. In his 1989 book "The Monuments of Mars" Richard Hoagland proposed that enigmatic martian features imaged by the Viking Orbiter were the ruins of incredibly ancient arcologies. The Cydonia region is filled with unusual mounds that hint at being ruined arcologies.

µµµ Arcologies: What are they? How would we identify them on Mars?


The D&M Pyramid

The two mile long, bi-symmetrical, five sided D&M Pyramid is named after its discoverers, Di'Pietro and Molenaar. It is located less than 10 miles south of the "Face". It is one of the largest arcology candidates identified at Cydonia. At the end of 2015 we finally got two clear MRO spacecraft images of the D&M that captured the whole pyramid in stereo. These were much better than the three partial and fuzzy image strips of the D&M that the MGS spacecraft had taken in 2004. The five sided geometry of the D&M, evident at lower resolution, is covered in the Cydonia Geometry section, (see µµµ).

Analysis of Mars Reconnaisance Observer (MRO) imagery of the D&M Pyramid

µµµ Seeing the D&M Pyramid's "Girders" : Part 1 - December 2016

µµµ Seeing the D&M Pyramid's "Girders" : Part 2 - December 2016

µµµ Seeing the D&M Pyramid's "Girders" : Part 3 - June 2017

µµµ Seeing the D&M Pyramid's "Girders" : Part 4 - July 2017

µµµ Seeing the D&M Pyramid's "Girders" : Part 5 - July 2017

Analysis of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) imagery of the D&M Pyramid

µµµ The First hi-resolution images of the D&M Pyramid : Part 1 - January 2004

µµµ The First hi-resolution images of the D&M Pyramid : Part 2 - January 2004

µµµ The First hi-resolution images of the D&M Pyramid : Part 3 - January 2004


The City "Arcologies"

The City is a collection of faceted/pyramidal mounds that forms one corner of an "equilateral" triangle, with the D&M Pyramid and the "Face" at the other corners. Richard Hoagland was the first to suggest that they might be a city of arcologies. Most of the City has been imaged at quite high resolution by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft in the early 2000's. Although the images were rather fuzzy, they did identify structural looking details on the City mounds. Comprehensive coverage of the City by the camera of the Mars Reconnaissance Observer spacecraft is eagerly awaited.

µµµ The East or City Mound - September 2000

µµµ The North Mound or Collapsed Pyramid - September 2000

µµµ The West Complex - October 2000

µµµ The "Fort" - October 2000

µµµ Surface features on the "Fort" - December 2000

µµµ The Main or "Starfish" Pyramid - October 2000

µµµ The "Ruler" Mound - May 2002


The SuperBowl City "Arcologies"

Twenty five miles to the north of the City is another closely arranged collection of possible arcologies, which Cydonia Quest has named SuperBowl City.

µµµ The Arcology Model Confirmed? - May 2001

µµµ "SuperBowl City" - October 2003

µµµ The West Mound in "SuperBowl City" - February 2005


Other Cydonia "Arcologies"

µµµ The Island Fort - October 2002

µµµ The Island Fort at higher resolution - October 2003

µµµ The "Collapsed Mesa" - February 2003

µµµ The Tholus - October 2000


The Suburbs

The "Suburbs" were an unexpected discovery made by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) when it first began higher resolution imagery of Cydonia in 1998. They are associated with Cydonia's possible arcologies and cover several square miles. In the MGS images they look like the criss-crossing walls of a dense ruined city. The Suburb walls are actually due to dense arrays of deep subsidence pits separated by thin partitions. These walls enclose areas ranging in size between large buildings and city blocks. The pattern of subsidence over some of the Suburbs is noticeably geometrical with rectangular subsidence pits showing purposeful looking arrangements. There are analogues for such landscapes on Earth caused by artificial subsidence. It is proposed that the Suburbs may be caused by roof collapses in an underground city.

µµµ The Cydonia Suburbs imaged by the MRO - April 2008

µµµ The D&M Pyramid Suburbs - January 2004

µµµ The Suburbs : Part 1 - February 2001

µµµ The Suburbs : Part 2 - February 2001

µµµ The "Cydonia Grill" - November 2000


Other Cydonia Features

The "Cliff"

The misnamed "Cliff" is a one and a half mile long straight wall in eastern Cydonia. It forms an important part (with the Tholus and the D&M Pyramid) of Hoagland and Torun's General Geometrical Model of Cydonia, (see µµµ). The MGS imagery of the "Cliff" was towards the lower end of its camera resolution. It is hoped that it will be imaged clearly by the better camera of the MRO spacecraft.

µµµ Part 1 - February 2001

µµµ Part 2 - February 2001

µµµ Part 3 - February 2001


Buried Rectilinear Features in Cydonia

µµµ Large scale buried rectilinear features in the "Grill" area - October 2002


The Bright Mounds

The Bright Mounds are smaller faceted mounds equivalent in size from one to two times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. They are interspersed between the proposed "arcologies" of the City and the D&M Pyramid. They are arranged in an apparently sophisticated grid that refers in many different ways to tetrahedral geometry.

µµµ Bright Mounds "D" & "E" - November 2000


Other Features of Interest in Cydonia

µµµ The Hexagon & Dome - February 2001

µµµ The Rotunda & Doughnut - November 2000


Infrared Image Analysis for Cydonia

Back in 2002 the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft took some thermal infrared images of Cydonia. Back on Earth archaeologists have been using hi-resolution infrared images from satellites to "see" ruins buried under Egypt's desert sands, (see µµµ). The Mars Odyssey images are at a very low resolution of about 100 yards/metres per image pixel. So they wouldn't be able to "see" any fine structural detail of anything that may be buried beneath Cydonia's sand and rubble. However, Cydonia Quest analysed the infrared images to see if any buried geometrical patterns from larger scale landscape alteration were discernible.

µµµ An experimental analysis of the first infra-red image of Cydonia - July 2002

µµµ Further analysis of the Cydonia infra-red images : Part 1 - November 2002

µµµ Further analysis of the Cydonia infra-red images : Part 2 - December 2002

µµµ Further analysis of the Cydonia infra-red images : Part 3 - December 2002

µµµ Further analysis of the Cydonia infra-red images : Part 4 - January 2003


Other Parts of Mars

There are anomalous looking landscapes on other parts of Mars that could be the long gone traces of one or more galactic civilisations that were once in our Solar System. Cydonia Quest will try to cover these in more detail in the future.


Ariadnes Colles

Ariadnes Colles lies in Mars' southern hemisphere close to Cydonia's antipodes.

µµµ "Fossil" Arcologies in Adrianes Colles? : Part 1 - March 2014

µµµ "Fossil" Arcologies in Adrianes Colles? : Part 2 - March 2014

µµµ "Fossil" Arcologies in Adrianes Colles? : Part 3 - April 2014

µµµ "Fossil" Arcologies in Adrianes Colles? : Part 4 - May 2015


Western Argyre

Argyre also lies in the southern hemisphere far away from Cydonia. It is greatly hoped that the MRO will image it.

µµµ The "Parrotopia" Complex - October 2013


Gale Crater

The interior of Gale Crater is very interesting because NASA's Curiosity Rover is currently roaming there. There is therefore the opportunity for comparing what the MRO in orbit can see from above with what Curiosity can see from the ground for the same locations. Mount Sharp in Gale Crater has the potential to be an "eye opener" in regards to the artificiality hypothesis for martian anomalies. However, Curiosity's slow progress means that this "eye opening" might not happen any time soon.

µµµ The Grid Structures of Mount Sharp - October 2013


Gustav Crater

Gustav Crater is where NASA's late lamented Spirit Rover roamed. Spirit and the MRO orbiting above imaged many anomalous things there. Cydonia Quest's "to do" list includes going back over the imagery and doing more articles about this ground breaking mission.

µµµ Spirit's Weird Rocks - January 2004


The Rest of our Solar System


µµµ Pluto: Trantor planet? Part 1 - October 2015

µµµ Pluto: Trantor planet? Part 2 - October 2015



µµµ The mystery of the Ceres "Lights" - September 2015

µµµ The mysterious Ceres "Pyramid - August 2015



µµµ Phobos: the mysterious moon of Mars - August 2014


Our Moon

µµµ Commentary discussing TEM's Moon domes theory - May 2014


Thinking the Unthinkable: Do we live in a Designer Solar System?

µµµ Do we live in a Designer Solar System : Part 1 - February 2006

µµµ Do we live in a Designer Solar System : Part 2 - March 2006

How the Author Became Involved with this Subject

Oddly my own interest in artificial looking Martian anomalies was not sparked by Richard Hoagland, but by Dr. Carl Sagan. In 1981 my brother bought the British hardback version of Sagan's book Cosmos. Whilst browsing through this book I came across a small picture of the Martian surface imaged by the Mariner 9 spacecraft that stunned me.

Needless to say the image was rather fuzzy, but sitting nonchalantly side-by-side on the Martian plain were two equally sized, similarly aligned, tetrahedral pyramids with identical "design" features. Moreover, the "front" of each pyramid seemed to have a tall, dark, peaked entrance way. These "entrances" were set slightly below ground level with ramps sloping down into them. The impression they gave was of military aircraft bunkers on an airfield. Adjacent to one of the pyramids was a large hexagonal depression with four dark spots, arranged like the hot plates on an oven, visible on its floor. The text suggested that these mile wide formations were possible candidates for artificiality.

As a fan of Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey I jokingly called Sagan's pyramids TMA's (for Tetrahedral Martian Anomalies instead of for Tycho Magnetic Anomaly) little realising how important the humble tetrahedron was to figure in Hoagland's The Monuments of Mars.

The pictures below show the original Cosmos illustration of the Elysium "pyramids" (on left), a Viking Orbiter image of a nearby "pyramid" (bottom left), a Mars Global Surveyor image of a more modest pyramidal formation just north of the Elysium volcano Hecate Tholus (right), and the five sided D&M Pyramid in Cydonia (bottom right). I'm less impressed by Carl Sagan's pyramids now than I was in 1981. After seeing the original source image, the way it was presented in Cosmos now seems misleading. In light of Sagan's early work Intelligent Life in the Universe (click "stargate" µµµ), I wonder whether he was pushing some secret agenda of his own.

A special thanks to Holger Isenburg who has done more than anyone else on the internet to dig out imagery of Carl Sagan's Elysium Pyramids. Click this "stargate" for details µµµ.


As the years went by I began to notice pictures of the "Face" appearing in astronomy books - but the original NASA processed version, which does not reveal the surprisingly symmetrical base on which it sits. This original picture did not strike me as particularly artificial looking. Sometime around 1990 I read that the Face was located next to some pyramid shaped hills and I became more interested. I assumed (wrongly) that these "pyramids" were the same ones in the Elysium region of Mars that Cosmos had introduced me to in 1981. The mystery of Sagan's pyramids continued to gnaw away and I looked forward to the arrival of the Mars Observer spacecraft around Mars in 1993, only to see my hopes dashed by its disappearance. Then in 1996 I came across a copy of Richard Hoagland's The Monuments of Mars in a bookshop and discovered the three decades old investigation of the Cydonia region of Mars......and I was hooked. :)


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