The two faces of JE Brandenburg

Brandenburg is a physicist who submitted a paper to the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference a few years ago. It’s way outside my area of expertise, but it postulated an interesting scenario from the ratios of rare isotopes in the atmosphere of Mars: that there was evidence of a natural nuclear reactor, like Oklo on Earth, that had exploded over 180 million years ago. He makes a good case, at least to this biologist’s eyes, and it seems reasonable.

Natural Nuclear Reactors formed and operated on Earth, there is no reason this could not have happened on Mars. Conditions on Mars: lack of plate tectonics, and nearness to the asteroid belt, may have favored such occurrences in larger size and duration than on Earth. Changes in groundwater distribution, due to either climate change of loss of geothermal heat, may have triggered this event. The occurrence of such a large natural reactor may explain some puzzling aspects of Mars data, such as the superabundance of K and Th on the surface and the large inventory of radiogenic isotopes in the Mars atmosphere.

See? An interesting hypothesis backed by a rational analysis of the evidence. He also has some estimates of the size of the natural reactor, about 0.14 cubic kilometers, which sounds feasible, yet is sufficient to cause a planetary catastrophe. That’s how Brandenburg talked to his fellow physicists, I guess.

That was in 2011. Now, in 2014, his story has metastasized. In a presentation to the APS, he proposes now that the isotope ratios indicate that there was a nuclear war fought on Mars.

Analysis of recent Mars isotopic, gamma ray, and imaging data supports the hypothesis that perhaps two immense thermonuclear explosions occurred on Mars in the distant past and these explosions were targeted on sites of previously reported artifacts. Analysis rules out large unstable “natural nuclear reactors” [1], instead, data is consistent with mixed fusion-fission explosions [2]. Imagery at the radioactive centers of the explosions shows no craters, consistent with “airbursts.” Explosions appear correlated with the sites of reported artifacts at Cydonia Mensa and Galaxias Chaos [3], Analysis of new images from Odyssey, MRO and Mars Express orbiters now show strong evidence of eroded archeological objects at these sites. Taken together, the data requires that the hypothesis of Mars as the site of an ancient planetary nuclear massacre, must now be considered. Fermi’s Paradox, the unexpected silence of the stars, may be solved at Mars. Providentially, we are forewarned of this possible aspect of the cosmos. The author therefore advocates that a human mission to Mars is mounted immediately to maximize knowledge of what occurred.\\[4pt] [1] J. E. Brandenburg “Evidence for a large Natural, Paleo- Nuclear Reactor on Mars” 42$^{nd}$ LPSC (2011).\\[0pt] [2] J.E. Brandenburg, “Anomalous Nuclear Events on Mars in the Past”, Mars Society Meeting (2014)\\[0pt] [3] J.E. Brandenburg, Vincent DiPietro, and Gregory Molenaar, (1991) “The Cydonian Hypothesis” Jou. of Sci. Exp., 5, 1, p1-25.

“Artifacts”? “Archeological objects”? What “artifacts”? He’s talking about the Face on Mars. Seriously, it’s 2014, and a physicist is still accepting that bit of pareidolia. There’s no more talk of natural reactors. Instead, he’s claiming the Face on Mars was targeted by an alien galactic civilization for nuking. Just the fact that he’s still arguing that a lumpy eroded hill looks kinda facelike at low resolution (it doesn’t in any of the subsequent clearer photos) as evidence of a humanoid civilization on Mars tells you he’s a kook.


Brandenburg did an interview for Supreme Master TV (yeah, it’s some weird cult). It just gets crazier.

His story now is based on science fiction: he thinks there is a hostile alien civilization out there with plans to kill us all.

Given the large amount of nuclear isotopes in Mars atmosphere resembling those from hydrogen bomb tests on Earth, Mars may present an example of civilization wiped out by a nuclear attack from space, he wrote.

It is possible the Fermi Paradox means that our interstellar neighborhood contains forces hostile to young, noisy, civilizations such as ourselves, he added. Such hostile forces could range from things as alien as AI (Artificial Intelligence) ‘with a grudge’ against flesh and blood, as in the movie Terminator, all the way to things as sadly familiar to us as a mindless humanoid bureaucrat like Governor Tarkin in Star Wars, eager to destroy planet Alderann as an example to other worlds.

There. You know he’s not competent because he can’t even spell “Alderaan”.

And of course, the Daily Mail is happy to promote this crap. It’s hard to sink much lower than that. But he’s going to. He has announced that he’ll be publishing his story in the Journal of Cosmology. That’s right, this Journal of Cosmology. I don’t think you can dredge any deeper into the muck.

It’s depressing. He was a smart guy, now he’s just a screwball fruitbat.


  1. #1 Nasdaq7
    South Africa
    November 23, 2014

    I don’t know if you are religious or not, well I’m not, Noah didn’t get 500 million species into a small ark, but I might just believe this guy.

  2. #2 Tim H.
    November 23, 2014

    Until I see monumentally old weapons fragments, it’s just SF material, and the late James P. Hogan has already been there.

  3. #3 John E. Brandenburg
    Madison WI
    November 24, 2014

    Dear PZ Meyers

    why don’t you read

    You are a biologist, I am a plasma physicist who went to graduate school for 6 &1/2 years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a nuclear weapons design laboratory, doing work on the subject of controlled thermonuclear fusion both with magnetic confinement of plasmas and with inertial confinement (laser fusion), which draws heavily on nuclear weapons physics. Do you know the difference in signatures between a “fast neutron event” and a moderated “thermal neutron” event and why a lot of 129Xenon has appeared in earth’s atmosphere since 1945? Do you know why there were no craters at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    Do you know how long the ocean on Mars lasted?
    I was the first person to propose that hypothesis,
    check reference #1
    If you try to find the answers to these questions, then I will take your criticisms seriously.

    John Brandenburg .

  4. #4 S Harris
    November 24, 2014

    Dear PZ Meyers

    You’re the embodiment of science as dogmatic religion. Your arguments resume to ad-hominem attacks. Whatever exists outside your narrow field of view must be the work of a “kook” because the universe cannot possibly function outside of the rules you know. Not sure the universe got the memo, but I digress…

    Perhaps you’d care to enlighten us with your training, expertize and critical arguments instead of speculating spelling mistakes of fictional planets.

    Please allow me to use the same type of logic and arguments to critique your article:

    Instead of enlightening us with his training, expertize and critical arguments against the claims of Mr. Brandenburg, Mr. PZ Meyers chooses to speculate spelling mistakes of fictional planets and launch into personal attacks. It doesn’t take one too much to figure out this author suffers from an inferiority complex for which he compensates with arrogance and crassness. In other words: a blowhard.

    There we go. Hey, this is easy when you don’t have to come up with arguments and you can just go for character assassinations. Now I know how you fill this whole site all by yourself.

  5. #5 William Smith
    United States
    November 24, 2014

    The comments are getting interesting. Anxious to see where this goes.

  6. #6 dean
    November 24, 2014

    ” Your arguments resume to ad-hominem attacks”

    You might make sense if you knew what an ad-hominem is. This isn’t one.

  7. #7 John E. Brandenburg
    Madison WI
    November 24, 2014

    Dear PZ,

    I apologize for sounding cross. As you can imagine finding something like this and telling people is quite stressful. this is not a happy discovery.

    basically : Mars atmosphere is loaded with xenon 129, a signature of fission with fast neutrons seen in our own atmosphere due to the nuclear weapons program, both nuclear testing and plutonium production with fast neutrons

    its youngest meteorites ( 180Million years old) contain materials exposed to high energy neutrons E> 10MeV, this is not seen any other Mars meteorites

    Mars surface is covered with a layer containing 10X more radioactive Potassium , Uranium and Thorium, than are contained in the Mars meteorites-believed to be samples of the below-surface rock of Mars.

    The global map of radioactivity radiates from two small regions -one in Mars Acidalium and another in Utopia Planum and wraps around the planet to form an “antipode deposit” where the shock wave apparently collided with itself and dropped material

    The center of the radioactive areas shows no large crater which would be expected from an explosion in the ground , as from a natural nuclear reactor.

    A natural nuclear reactor, even a billion years old, requires moderation like on earth, it cannot run on fast neutrons, you need near-weapons grade material for that since the cross section for fission collapses at high energies.

    Taking this together , it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these effects were not caused by a natural nuclear reactor going unstable and exploding, it was nothing natural at all.

    This was a hydrogen bomb exploding as “airburst” like at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, neither of which had big craters, just destruction. It was wrapped in natural uranium and thorium just like out hydrogen bombs, to boost its yieldd and fallout

    Mars has corrilois driven winds like on earth that tend to blow southeast in the north. this would have carried loads of fallout downwind.

    I can read a map- Cydonia Mensa and Galaxias Chaos are directly downwind.

    What is there is there.

    This all written in Journal of Cosmology vol 24 paper 13 and posted online. Read it and check the references and image frame numbers, its all there.

    John Brandenburg

  8. #8 Kevin
    November 24, 2014

    Dr. Brandenburg, thanks for responding here to provide the public with more information.

    I don’t know enough about these disciplines to really evaluate your claims, but your casual acceptance of the existence of martian “artifacts” makes it difficult for me to take this work seriously. Given all the imagery of these locations (such as the “face”), it hardly seems parsimonious to assume that any of these features are artificial. What’s your rationale for assuming the existence of martian artifacts?

    Secondly, it’s hard very hard for me to presume that anything published in the Journal of Cosmology is credible. Given the link that PZ provided above, it doesn’t exactly appear to be an academically- or professionally-rigorous institution. Why should publication in that journal lend your work any more (instead of less) credibility?

    This *could* be very interesting research, but I’m sure I’m not the only layperson who has trouble taking it seriously, given these two issues. Can you shed some light?

  9. #9 Narad
    November 25, 2014

    I don’t know enough about these disciplines to really evaluate your claims, but your casual acceptance of the existence of martian “artifacts” makes it difficult for me to take this work seriously.

    Don’t you realize that you’re talking to someone who has formulated an unchallenged unification of gravity and electromagnetism?

    Govern yourself accordingly.

  10. #10 Chris
    November 25, 2014

    The bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were atomic, not hydrogen. Hydrogen bombs were developed years later.

  11. #11 John E. Brandenburg
    Madison WI
    November 25, 2014

    Dear Kevin,
    thank you for an opportunity to explain my views and actions

    Come now, let us reason together. Is. 1:18

    Thank you for this opportunity for a reasoned debate. You have asked me, why, I as a scientist , I speak of the presence of ‘artifacts’ on Mars at Cydonia Mensa and Galaxias Chaos and why I have chosen Journal of Cosmology , a refereed online journal to publish my research instead of Science or some other longer established journal. Let me briefly summarize my reasoning in these matters:
    First let us begin with what we agree on. The Principle of Mediocrity , which underlies all SETI, and has been a foundation of human science since the beginning of the scientific revolution. It says basically, that earth and human being are not “special” or miraculous, but part of a general physical system in the cosmos. The earth is not the center of the universe but merely part of it, the human race is on this planet not by some miracle but part of some process that could occur on any similar planet elsewhere in the universe. This means that gravity on the earths surface , causing apples to drop , also makes the Moon orbit the earth ect… This principle underlies SETI because it says that products of ET civilizations will be recognizable to us, be they radio signals, or large carved monuments like the Sphinx and the pyramids.
    Based on Mediocity we would expect we are not alone in the universe, and that other civilizations should exist elsewhere .
    We also know, based on good evidence, that the universe is approximately 13 billion years old, yet the earth is only 4.5 billion years old, and all of known or human history is but a tiny fraction of the earth’s history ~ 200, 000 years. So we would expect that other civilizations are far older than we are in the cosmos, and, like us, have achieved high technology and even space travel.
    This leads to Fermi’s Paradox: we would expect the universe to be full of vibrant and noisy civilizations, yet it is silent. This is especially true if we expected , under Mediocrity, for other cultures to behave like we do, and all other biology on this planet: expanding aggressively into new living spaces , other planets and solar systems, and being noisy while doing it. This is just a naïve view perhaps, radio broadcasts may be only a feature of civilizations for a brief period in their development for instance, but other signs should replace them. But instead, we have a great silence and sense of loneliness in the cosmos.

    Now we pass to Mars . Mars is the first earthlike planet we can explore in the cosmos. We have strong evidence that Mars had life at its beginnings ( the Mars meteorites) and that life continued , perhaps even until the Vikings landed and tested the soil for life.
    We also know that Mars used to have rivers and an ocean, meaning it had earthlike atmospheric temperatures and pressures. We know this can occur via Venus-like persistent greenhouse effect. We also know the old ocean bed ( I was the first to formally hypothesize an ocean on the northern plains of Mars , check Wikipedia “Mars ocean hypothesis” reference #1) This ocean means Mars could not only have life but a biosphere. Mars is red, indicating it had an oxygen rich atmosphere in the past. Look at pictures of Earth’s deserts from space , they are also bright red. This is due in both cases to hematite, iron in ferric oxidation state. On earth, the soil is red because of oxygen in the atmosphere, Sagan proposed the same process on Mars in the past. Mars is not just oxidized on the surface, exposed sediments in the Vallis Marineris go down 8km deep and are also bright red, indicating they were laid down in a oxidizing atmosphere. The layers in the earth’s grand canyon are only 1 kilometer thick or less and are also bright red. So Mars had an ocean and rivers , life , and probably oxygen. The only question is how long did it have these things? Before it became like it is now, cold and barren.
    So we have established the argument that earth and humanity are “mediocre”, normal in the universe. We have also established the argument , with solid evidence, that Mars was like earth for some period.
    The question is how long? If Mars was like earth for only a billion years or less, then we would expect nothing more than hardy bacteria on Mars now, since based on earth’s “mediocre” history, it took 4.5 billion years of liquid water conditions and life to produce advanced life forms. However, if Mars was like earth for billions of years, perhaps 4 billion, then all bets are off. Advanced life on earth appeared suddenly, 0.5 billion years ago , in the “pre-Cambrian explosion” and evolved quickly. We do not know what triggered the Precambrian explosion. So we do not understand what controls the evolutionary clock, impacts, supernova radiation increasing rates of mutation? But let us say, for the sake of argument, that it takes billions of years of life under earthlike conditions to allow advanced life forms to appear. So let us say 3billion or even 4billion.
    Now how long did Mars ocean persist, and with it , earthlike conditions? 1 billion years or 4 billion? On this number, this whole debate turns. Because if there was 3-4 billion years and Mars is barren and cold now , we would expect, under Mediocrity to find remains of advanced life forms, perhaps even a dead civilization. However, if Mars had an ocean only for 1 billion years, the other extreme, we would expect only bacteria on Mars , and little of that under present conditions.
    The answer is the center of debate in the Mars science community. Mars has a split personality, the Mars Dichotomy, northern regions are young with few craters, the southern highlands are very old. This reflected in the ages of the Mars meteorites, they fall in two groups, one group including ALH84001 is very old 4.5 billion years old. The other group is very young 1billion years to 0.2 billion with most of them very young. They all show signs of exposure to liquid water. This indicates the north of Mars is very young. However, the mainstream view, based on crater counting, is that the north is billions of years old and the south is 4.5 billion. The conflict between Mars meteorite people , who measure ages of rock by radioisotopes and get young ages 0.5 billion years average for the Northern plains, and the crater counters , who estimate 2-3 Billion is called the Mars Age Paradox- how can you get young meteorites from a old planet? Willim Nyquist has published extensively on this paradox. The answer to the paradox is that the crater counters are assuming rates of cratering derived from the Moon, but Mars is next to the asteroid belt. If you allow 4x Lunar cratering rates on Mars then then the Northern Plains are young 0.5 billion years. The fact that we have far more Mars meteorites in terms of numbers and mass, than Lunar meteorites (meteroites from the Moon) argues on the face of it that Mars cratering rate must be many times that of the Moon So that is where the debate in the “Age Paradox” rests at this point. Myself and several others are arguing for the cratering rate to be revised upwards so the Mars surface ages will agree with the radiometric ages . But it is a debate we are having a big meeting next year about it and I am invited! So the Mars age debate boils down to one number , the relative cratering rate between Mars and the Moon ( where we got rocks from areas of known crater counts) .
    So the duration of the ocean, how long life could evolve on Mars , everything boils down to one number, the relative cratering rate between Mars and the Moon. If its 1xlunar then Mars was like the Moon for most of its history, if its 4xLunar, the other extreme, then Mars was like earth for most of its history, with all that implies for possible evolution on Mars .
    Mars science is like all the sciences, a human activity subject to orthodoxies, passions, and personalities. It is also very conservative, like all the sciences, changing its mainstream views only after long consideration of the data and debates over it. It is especially conservative because Mars is the frontline of the ET life debate. Right now, the mainstream is fixed on 1-2 x Lunar cratering rates on Mars . However, the meteorite ages are solid and argue for 4xlunar or above. So we have a debate. People get quite passionate in these debates and even call each other “fruit-bats” occasionally.
    Now if Mars surface is young, life the Mars metorites, then the Mars ocean and all that it implies lasted most of Mars history 4 billion years. So Mars was earthlike for that long , approximately. Mars climate then changed to what it is now catastrophically. We know of all sorts of catastrophes that could do this, we see evidence of them from earth’s history.
    However, if Mars was Earthlike for 4 billion years , the period that agrees with average young meteorite ages, then we can preclude nothing on Mars as far what evolution produced.

    Therefore, under 4xLunar and Mediocrity, if I see things on Mars that look like eroded archeology, I am no different than a scientist who finds what he thinks are microfossils in Mars meteorites or a scientist who says South America and Africa fit together, the origin of plate tectonics.

    Now why did I publish in Journal of Cosmology? Because they accept papers of this type and other journals do not. Also, being online , they referee and publish quickly, meaning my data and arguments are available to the scientific community so they can read them- if they choose to. Another more respected journal I submitted this to, sat on it for close to a year, said nothing, then rejected it with a terse note.

    So this is part of the Second Copernican Revolution, the removal of earth from the center of the biological universe. No revolution is a tea party, though they sometimes begin with tea parties.

    Thank you Narad for noting my GEM unification theory. This theory has no bearing on whether i am correct about Mars, however, my simple expression for “G” the newton Gravitation constant, first published in 1987, remains the only simple and accurate expression in the literature and is good to a part per thousand- within experimental error , since the experimental measurements are so difficult.

    Thanks to you all for a opportunity to engage in reasoned and informed debate. I urge you all to search the web and verify my statements concerning the Mars Meteorite Age debate, which is central to this whole Mars matter.

  12. #12 Andrew McAtee
    San Diego
    November 26, 2014

    Dr. Brandenburg,

    Thanks for this info, I am goign to have to spend tonight reading over all of this.

    The PDF you linked is 403 Forbidding however. Could you please give us a new link and or email it to me to read?

  13. #13 Geekoid
    November 26, 2014

    You are not an expert on Mars, nor are you an expert on craters.

    The Fermi paradox is a thought experiment, nothing more.

    The Principle of Mediocrity, when applied to alien life, is fallacious becasue the sample was not draw randomly. Consider you overly long explanation of it, you manage to leave out the part the shows it’s irrelevant to the conversation, well done.

    ” if I see things on Mars that look like eroded archeology[SIC], I am no different than a scientist who finds what he thinks”
    they have actual evidence, you do not.

    I have read and heard you go on about craters on mars, and the on conclusion is you are incredibly ignorant of crater formation. Why don’t you listen to people who are experts in crater formation? people who have studied it on Mars? Because they will give you facts counter to your biased narrative on this subject.

    Mars probably had liquid water. That does not mean the planet was Earth like.

    You are applying you very narrow and specific knowledge to one aspect, then make gross assumptions based on your ignorance in the relative fields outside your one expertise.

    Expert point out you flaws, and you ignore them.
    You are becoming the Dr. Oz of physics, please stop.

    You were rejected from a quality journal for a reason.

  14. #14 John E. Brandenburg
    Madison WI
    November 27, 2014

    Dear Andrew,

    thank you for you interest in the real data and its interpretation

    the Jou. of Cosmology site has crashed due to too much traffic concerning the article, they are working to get it running again

    send me an email at and i can send you a pdf of the article preprint

    as for Geekoid, I encourage you to read
    J.E. Brandenburg (1995) “Constraints on the Martian Cratering Rate Based on the SNC Meteorites and Implications for Mars Climatic History” Earth Moon and Planets 67: p35-45.
    and the works of NYquist on the Shergotite Age Paradox

    happy thanksgiving
    John Brandenburg

  15. #15 Mike
    December 1, 2014

    Dr. Brandenburg,

    I respect your expertise in plasma physics, and your perceived need to get this information out as quickly as possible. You still didn’t address Kevin’s critique.

    “Analysis of new images from Odyssey, MRO and Mars Express orbiters now show strong evidence of eroded archeological objects at these sites.”

    Who did this archeological analysis, where is the paper, and where is the peer review (in a reputable scientific publication) of this analysis by archeological experts? Answer these three questions.

    You didn’t address Geekoid’s concerns that your chaining conclusions (I read between the lines). Most importantly, you did not address concerns of the general public (except those with an appetite for conspiracy theories) when a hypothesis of this scale (nuclear war on Mars) is proposed.

    What the general public wants to see is the peer review of your hypothesis by recognized experts in the scientific community.

    What reputable journals did you submit your paper to, and what were the responses you received? What’s been the response of the scientific community (who) to what you submitted? You got a “terse note.” From who? Let’s see it.

    I would think that if you were really concerned about an alien civilization that nuked Mars and was going to nuke Earth, you’d be jumping up and down on the desks at NASA, the Pentagon, all the major universities, and everyone in the government. you would be getting supports from your peers, you would distribute your book for FREE no matter what the cost to you. Because it’s just that important.

    While I respect your knowledge and education in specific fields, please don’t send me a link to one of your papers with the argument “in conclusion, I believe there was a nuclear war on Mars.” When the experts in the field except the evidence, I will.

    I would like to submit my hypothesis. You are using your vast knowledge, and education to prey on a gullible public that has an appetite for conspiracy theories, alien abduction, apocalyptic fiction and sound bites as facts. You are a scientist who is using psuedo-science to make a profit and/or to acquire fame. You submit links to technical data to those who are not experts in an attempt to obfuscate logical arguments.

  16. #16 John E. Brandenburg
    Madison WI
    December 1, 2014

    Dear Mike,
    I would like to see your hypothesis published in a refereed and respectable journal. Then I will comment on it.

  17. #17 Hank Roberts
    usa, left coast
    December 1, 2014

    > nuclear isotopes in Mars atmosphere resembling
    > those from hydrogen bomb tests on Earth

    Yup. All those cold war atmospheric tests we did? Those were to fool the observers out there. Nobody here, nope, both oxygen/water planets in this solar system have already been wiped clean. See? isotopes in the atmosphere? Formerly live planet. Look elsewhere, this is not the kind of upstart civilization you look for to wipe out.

  18. #18 Chris Barrell
    Norwich, UK
    December 2, 2014

    I have no expertise in this field but I must question the aggressiveness of Brandenburg’s opposition in this debate. I agree that the evidence of a civilisation is rather lacking so far, but I do not agree that he is trying to whip up conspiracy for profit. I do not believe that Brandenburg would jeopardise his respectable career simply to boost book sales. The paper, though, needs work. He has only attracted criticism by releasing a slightly messy paper that reads rather attached to belief rather than evidence. For me he has done himself no favours by likening his hypothesis to Star Wars, spelt correctly or not! As for the faces, a largely inconsequential question I know, but why point them upwards? I am, however, most interested by the pyramids. Why should these collapsed slopes be bricks and not typical (or one might say mediocre) scree slopes as are common on earth? Nevertheless, pyramids were constructed at many locations on earth by early civilisations, independent of each other, and I find it very conceivable that other intelligent life may do the same (for the record I believe this not to be an astounding coincidence but rather that a pyramid would have been an obvious basic shape to build). I find the isotopic mass spectrum evidence quite convincing, but it is a leap to try and solve the Fermi paradox. If earth is anything to go by, which it certainly is by Brandenburg’s reasoning, then what about self annihilation by the Martians? Since the development of nuclear weapons on earth there have been many moments where such a catastrophy was only the flick of a switch away! Or maybe this hyper intelligent alien race was just doing a bit of target practice… Ok maybe a more serious suggestion – would one not expect this super intelligent malicious race to not have more advanced weapons than those we have today? I am divulging. Brandenburg is obviously a clever chap with some big ideas and is brave enough to not only publicise them but to also expend a lot of effort doing serious research to substantiate his claims. And who wouldn’t get a bit carried away if they thought they had discovered evidence of an extraterrestrial nuclear battle!

  19. #19 John Brandenburg
    Madison WI USA
    December 3, 2014

    Dear Chris,
    Thank you for the considerate words. The article I published, was perhaps too broad in its outlook, I admit. However, one is dealing with the human future in the cosmos, which is a broad subject. So I decided to err on the side of a “cosmic” perspective. Several of my colleagues suggested that I should separate the nuclear isotope section and publish it as a stand -alone article, but I have been active in Mars research long enough to know that biology and SETI overshadow everything that is found on the Red Planet, so I decided to address those issues head-on.
    We have that “infernal Brit” H.G. Wells ,and his nephew Orson, to thank for this situation in Mars science.

    The explosion sites appear correlated in effect with the two sites of possible eroded archeology. This correlation is obvious to anyone who can read a map, a scarce talent in the age of GPS, but still useful. Therefore, I discussed the correlation and its meaning. This hypothesis is very much in keeping with the warnings of Steven Hawking concerning extraterrestrial intelligence.
    As for problems of style or presentation, I shall fire my entire editorial staff. Perhaps, if I had alluded to the Daleks ( “Exterminate!” )from Dr. Who, this would have gotten my idea across in more dignified matter? ( spelling is less of a problem, given a greater body of literature). I think, sometimes, we are all playing roles in science fiction movie. Happier than most, in my opinion.

    The faces “face up” BTW because it is impossible to construct a face of kilometer scale facing in any other direction. Some of my colleagues have also suggested the faces direction and their expressions also suggest “ a certain animus with somebody in the heavens” suggesting a long standing quarrel with “exta-Arian” intelligences. If I am correct in my working hypothesis, evidence of such a long standing quarrel between Mars and somebody else, may be buried in the ruins of Cydonia and Galaxias.

    Vitrified soil, etched with acid, has been found at the sites of both hypothetical explosions, but nowhere else on Mars. This mineral resembles “trinitite” , the melt glass found at the site of nuclear explosions. So I consider my hypothesis is being supported by new data. However, everything found on Mars, a large diverse planet, can be explained with several possible mechanisms. As a scientist, I have simply chosen what I thought was the simplest hypothesis given the totality of phenomena I am aware of. This data and its interpretation was reported to the Department of Defense in the US when it was discovered, and they, after mulling over it for 6 months, suggested that I publish it. It is they, rather than NASA , whose desks” I jumped up and down on” , figuratively, and they cleared me to raise this issue publicly.
    In any case, thank you for actually reading the article and commenting on its actual content.
    John Brandenburg

  20. #20 Nils
    Saint-Etienne, FRANCE
    December 4, 2014

    Dr. Brandenburg,

    You said : “[…] As a scientist, I have simply chosen what I thought was the simplest hypothesis given the totality of phenomena I am aware of.”
    I find this approach both rational and honestly subjective. Could you share with us the other hypotheses that you or others have considered or brought forth before you came to that conclusion?

    Thanks again for engaging in this discussion and for quickly sending me your paper,


  21. #21 John Brandenburg
    Madison WI
    December 4, 2014

    Dear Nils,

    As I have said , I chose the “simplest hypothesis to explain the totality of the data, given the phenomena I am aware of.” In this analysis I have included phenomena created by intelligent life because I do not think we are alone in the universe, and I do not think we are the only species to have developed space travel. With that said I will briefly discuss alternative hypotheses I considered, and even for a while, embraced.
    The xenon 129 anomaly was where the investigation began. It is unique to Mars, The Solar wind, Jupiter, Earth and the average of gases extracted from the most primitive meteorites the carbonaceous chondrites, whose overall composition matches the Solar element composition closely, all give nearly the same distribution of xenon isotopes with xenon 129 and xenon 132 nearly equal. This is believed to be part of the original consignment of elements and isotopes of the solar nebula, itself created from the mixed remains of supernovas that preceded the formation of our Solar system. Why would Mars have so much xenon 129 versus Xe 132, 2.5 times? This is planet, not some isolated meteorite. Xenon 129 can come from decay of Iodine 129, with a half of 16 million years or so. Once could imagine then that Mars somehow received a large amount of iodine 129 at its formation and this decayed and outgassed. In other words Mars was perhaps simply a peculiar case in the Solar system. However , Mars also has an extraordinarily large amount of Argon 40 , the product of decay of Potassium 40 which has a much longer half-life of 1.3 billion years. But Mars rocks ( the meteorites) show Mars has much less potassium than Earth, and also thorium and uranium . So to account for the excess Argon 40 over primordial Ar 36 they assumed Mars early atmosphere was lost in a big impact, so Ar 40, which outgassed later due to the difference in half-lives between K 40 and I 129, could dominate. This is a fine idea, however, all the xenon 129 would then have been part of the early atmosphere and would have then been lost also. So the double anomaly of Ar 40 and Xe 129 , which vastly different times scales of outgassing, means loss of early atmosphere scenarios do not work. The xenon and argon anomalies have to be due to the same event, an irradiation of Mars by neutrons form a vast fission event, for instance. The same goes for the global debris pattern of thorium and potassium , it is a surface layer , since Mars surface shows 10x more of these elements than its rocks ( Mars meteorites) . So perhaps a massive natural nuclear reactor of Mars operated, then went unstable and exploded. Such reactors operated on earth. I loved this hypothesis.
    However, the xenon 129 excess is a signature of fast-neutron fission, not a water-moderated nuclear reactor as all the natural ones on earth were. Also, if such a reactor exploded , it would have left a massive crater like an asteroid impact. So, natural nuclear reactors simply do not fit the facts.
    In the words of Sherlock Holmes, “ once you have eliminated the impossible, what remains, however seemingly improbable , must be the answer” A massive hydrogen bomb, wrapped in uranium and thorium to boost its yield and radioactive fallout and detonated as an airburst over Mare Acidalium to maximize blast and global fallout accounts for everything that is seen. A smaller one detonated over Utopia Planum accounts for the remaining data.
    Why? If these were intelligently constructed devices, the Acidalium device as big as the Empire State Building, why would anyone do such a thing? The answer is another question : what lies downwind of the prevailing winds and therefore received the largest dose of fallout and blast effect? The answer is Cydonia Mensa and Galaxias Chaos. And what is there is there.
    So this was first reported to the Pentagon and then published once they cleared it. Thus, you are all now aware of the possible behavior of intelligent life towards other intelligent life in this cosmos. This happened in the distant past, fortunately.
    In a silent cosmos, however, we are now making a lot of noise. Perhaps we should investigate Mars more urgently and become spacefaring in the process, so we will know in as much detail as humanly possible, exactly what happened at Mars, and be more prepared to deal with whatever the cosmos presently requires.
    So that, briefly, is how I arrived at this “working hypothesis”.
    Write NASA and your Congressional delegation if you think this should be investigated further.
    Sincerely Yours
    John Brandenburg

  22. #22 dean
    December 5, 2014

    “Write NASA and your Congressional delegation if you think this should be investigated further.”

    Congress’ tea baggers are able to come up with profoundly stupid ideas on their own – there is no need to add another profoundly stupid one (yours) into the mix.

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