A conspiracy theory fast gaining traction online makes the astounding claim that NASA’s Curiosity and Opportunity rovers never traveled to Mars and that the images of the Martian environment being uploaded to NASA websites were actually taken on a remote island called Devon Island in Canada, the largest uninhabited island on Earth.
According to the rumors making the rounds in the conspiracy theory blogosphere, the pictures being uploaded regularly to NASA’s websites and palmed off as images of the Martian environment are fake images taken on Devon Island in Canada where NASA has set up a landscape identical with the “Martian landscape” we see on photos NASA scientists upload to NASA websites.
Conspiracy theorists claim that the rovers never traveled out to space, let alone land on Mars. Rovers Opportunity and Curiosity are being kept in storage in one of NASA’s facilities. Meanwhile, the agency has deployed two smaller versions of the rovers — “baby rovers” — on Devon Island in Canada.
NASA maintains permanent bases on Devon Island where NASA personnel dressed in mock astronaut suits play around with “baby rovers” fitted with cameras. Conspiracy theorists note that the terrain of the island bears a striking resemblance to the images of the “Martian environment” that NASA uploads to its websites. This makes the island an ideal location on Earth for NASA to stage make-believe Martian environment photo shoots.
There is also evidence, according to conspiracy theorists, that NASA has bases in other remote areas used for simulating Martian environment. For instance, some conspiracy theorists believe that NASA images and videos of rover landings were faked in the Mojave Desert.
Devon Island is the site of the Haughton Mars Project (HMP). According to NASA, the project is designed to use the harsh Arctic climate of the island, its barren terrain, isolation and remoteness to simulate the type of conditions that astronauts would likely encounter on Mars.
According to NASA, “[Environmental factors], such as the Arctic day and night cycle and restricted logistics and communications capabilities, [also] offer fitting analogs for the challenges that crewmembers will likely face on long-duration space flights.”
Rumors circulating in the conspiracy theory blogosphere claim that several bits and pieces of circumstantial evidence add up to the conclusion that the NASA rovers never left Earth and that the photos uploaded to NASA’s websites were taken on Devon Island.
The video below shows the Haughton Impact crater area on Devon Island. Note the eerie similarity to an alien landscape.
There are obvious reasons why NASA would seek an environment similar to the Mars environment to simulate Mars landing and rover exploratory activity. Conspiracy theorists argue that NASA’s claim that conditions on Devon Island simulate conditions on Mars is clearly exaggerated.
For instance, the surface gravity on Mars is only about 38 percent of Earth’s, meaning that an astronaut weighing 100 pounds on Earth would weigh only 38 pounds on Mars. While Earth has a dense atmosphere, Mars has a very thin atmosphere. The surface pressure on Mars is only about one percent of Earth’s at sea level.
Differences in gravity, atmospheric composition, atmospheric density, and pressure translate into vast differences in physical conditions compared with Devon Island. Thus, similarities between the Martian environment — as suggested in NASA photos — and the Devon Island terrain are only superficial.
While such striking but superficial similarities could be effectively exploited for producing fake images of Mars landing and the Martian environment, they are far less useful for simulating Mars environment for astronaut training or rover tests.
These facts raise possibilities that NASA likely took the trouble of establishing a base on Devon Island for primary reasons different than claimed.
A second line of evidence which, according to conspiracy theorists, further strengthens the claim that NASA has a hidden agenda on Devon Island comes from the observation that NASA’s “baby rovers” barely approximate the actual rovers Opportunity and Curiosity in weight, shape, and size. They also do not carry the sophisticated equipment that the real rovers carry. Thus, it is impossible to explain how they could be used to simulate the experience of the real rovers on Mars.
The only logical explanation, according to conspiracy theorists, is that NASA officials on Devon Island have other goals besides simulation of expected Mars conditions for the rovers and future astronauts.
The most obvious use for an environment such as Devon Island with superficial similarity to Earth is to stage fake photo and video shoots that can be palmed off as photos of the Martian environment. It is impossible to imagine any practical benefit of operating the “baby rovers” on Devon Island besides fake Mars photo shoots, conspiracy theorists argue.
The videos above present the body of evidence in detail. Viewers should note that the videos mistakenly locate Devon Island in Greenland. The island is actually located in Baffin Bay, Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada.
According to conspiracy theorists, despite the fact that amateur telescope images show otherwise, NASA continues to perpetuate “the lie” that Mars is a “red planet” by using color filters in the cameras mounted on the “baby rovers.” The photos are subjected to further “color correction” before they are uploaded to NASA’s website to give Mars a fake reddish color.
Conspiracy theorists cite statements on NASA’s website where the agency admits that its technicians alter the colors of Curiosity and Opportunity rover pictures before uploading them to NASA websites.
For instance, in an article titled, “Revealing Mars’ True Colors,” NASA reports that Jim Bell, Professor of Astronomy at Cornell, who leads the team for the Panoramic Camera (Pancam), said, “Getting the colors right is not an exact science. Giving an approximate view of what we’d see if we were there involves an artistic, visionary element as well – after all, no one’s ever been there before.”
According to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Eric De Jong, who leads the agency’s Solar System Visualization Team, the rovers use color filters.
“It works a little like an inkjet color printer, which combines primary colors to create various shades on paper,” Eric De Jong said. “Then, we can tweak the color just like you can adjust the color balance on a TV screen at home.”
That is, NASA admits that it “tweaks” the colors of images of the Martian terrain we download from NASA websites. In other words, NASA is able to make the Mars environment to look like whatever “government” decides it should look like.
The color-tweaking, according to conspiracy theorists, is combined with other techniques that allow NASA to construct imaginary Martian environments and blur out areas that NASA does not want the public to see.
The video below (in the Spanish language) discusses how NASA technicians alter original photos.
NASA technicians may blur out parts of an image showing objects, plants, animals and other features that could reveal that the photos were snapped on Devon Island in Canada.
The video below also purportedly shows how NASA changes the colors of Earth landscapes to make them look Martian. It purportedly shows how a random shot of an Earth landscape with vegetation, a road and a white van travelling on it could be made to look like barren red Martian landscape by simply tweaking the colors and adding an image of a section of the Mars rover.
The video — according to conspiracy theorists — reveals how easy it is for NASA’s Photoshop experts to tweak photos of Earth landscape and make them look alien. It explains the famous NASA photo that appears to show the shadow of a man dressed in space suit tinkering with the rover (see below).
The rover photo was not taken on Mars but on Devon Island, conspiracy theorists argue.
But these conspiracy theory allegations lead to the question why the government is working to make the public believe falsely that it is running real Mars mission programs.
According to conspiracy theorists, NASA’s programs are a smokescreen for decades-old advanced secret space programs being run behind the scenes by the U.S. military for exclusively military purposes. The U.S. military is currently involved in alien “anti-gravity” propulsion systems reverse engineering research. The alien spacecrafts being used in the research were obtained by the authorities from the Roswell wreckage and other sites.
Deathbed confessions by Lockheed Martin and Area 51 scientist, Boyd Bushman in 2014, allegedly prove that the government is involved in top-secret advanced “anti-gravity” technology research, according to conspiracy theorists.
Other whistleblowers whose testimonies support Bushman’s allegedly include Randy Cramer (“Captain Kaye”), former U.S. military personnel who claimed he lived 17 years on Mars. Cramer’s story purportedly supports earlier claims by the celebrated hacker Gary McKinnon that he saw in 2001 files containing lists of “non-terrestrial” (space) military officers stationed on Mars.
Another whistleblower, Corey Good, claimed that an agency called the Interplanetary Corporate Conglomerate (ICC) “has an entire industrial infrastructure that includes bases, stations, outposts, mining operations and facilities on Mars, various moons and spread throughout the main Asteroid Belt.”
[Image via NASA/Wikimedia]