I have to confess beforehand that the image i'm going to discuss has been one of the reasons why i love ufology: so the first one to be disappointed
by the results of my investigations is me, but since truth is more important than beliefs, here we go.
Phobos 2 operated nominally throughout its cruise and Mars orbital insertion phases on January 29, 1989, gathering data on the Sun, interplanetary
medium, Mars, and Phobos. Shortly before the final phase of the mission, during which the spacecraft was to approach within 50 m of Phobos' surface
and release two landers, one a mobile "hopper", the other a stationary platform, contact with Phobos 2 was lost. The mission ended when the
spacecraft signal failed to be successfully reacquired on March 27, 1989. The cause of the failure was determined to be a malfunction of the on-board
The Phobos design was used again for the long delayed Mars 96 mission which ended in failure when the launch vehicle's fourth stage misfired.
Actually, this is an extremely shortened report about the events, but let's say that it's passable.
Anyway, this is the photo i'm going to talk about:
The photo was first made public on the November 22, 1991 Larry King Live
, when UFO research
director Don Ecker appeared in the show with
author Keith Thompson.
Estimates said that the UFO caught on camera was approx. 15 miles long.
Another article about the same photo:
Much controversy surrounds the last photo taken by Phobos 2. Seen above, the photo seems to show a long, slender object just below the moon
Phobos. Estimates of the size of the object are up to several miles long. However, critics say the object could be nothing but a camera
artifact, since many images from the same camera showed long, white streaks similar to this.
Yet, many claim that the image shows a UFO. This photograph was revealed in December 1991 by Marina Popovich, a famous Soviet test pilot
sometimes called the "Russian Chuck Yeager" due to the 17 aviation world records she holds. She claimed that the photograph was given to her by
cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who was the first man to walk in space and also a high official in the Soviet space program, and that she had "smuggled it
out" of the former USSR. According to her, the photo clearly shows a UFO hovering near the moon Phobos, and is "the first ever leaked accounts of an
alien mothership in the solar system". She says this was apparently the cause of the disappearance of the Phobos 2 probe.
and almost all the other UFOs based websites.
Both reports are characterized by some hight level of ignorance: there is NO WAY to even guess the size of some object caught on camera on some 3d
environment and depicted on some 2d image: every guess would be arbitrary and based on everything but logical basis: this is what has happened with
the image in question, only a triangulation could allow us to estabilish the size of the object.
But the point is that it was NOT an actual object.
Many years after, i finally got the chance to access the Complete Phobos 2 VSK Image Data Set : you can find it here.
As you can see, the images are divided into channels:
Channel 1 (blue)
Channel 2 (clear, high-res)
Channel 3 (infrared)
A couple of problems with the Phobos 2 cigar shaped UFO.
If we take a look to the full sequence of the images caught by the probe on infrared channel, then we'd realize that there's an issue (it could be
bad data transmission, but i don't know the details about the payload):
all in all, the glitch can be spotted on every single image.
Here's the full sequence from the infrared channel (the one in question: ):
And here's an animation composed by the frames posted above: each frame has been captioned by me with the original caption
the cigar shaped object allegedly spotted by Phobos II was a DELIBERATE HOAX based on image
from Phobos 2 VSK Image Data Set
Thank you for your attention
[edit on 16/10/2009 by internos]