Speaking at the Freedom Forum Science, Space and Technology Panel on November 19, 1996 in New York, NASA Chief Administrator Daniel Goldin heard criticism of NASA's previously announced plan to rephotograph the controversial Martian landforms in the region called Cydonia, which some researchers believe are artificial constructions. Goldin defended NASA's plan as follows:
"There are some people who believe that there is a Face on Mars. There were pictures taken from some Viking spacecraft, and if you look at the right kind of shadows you could imagine that there is a Face on Mars. Now, there's two ways that NASA could approach this: one, we could say: 'You don't know what you're talking about; we know that there couldn't be a civilization on Mars, and therefore we'll never take a picture of that spot.' But, there are taxpayers who believe this. So one of the things we are going to do on our next mission is, when the spacecraft goes over that spot, if we have the right pointing, we'll try and take a picture, and scientifically show what we have found. And I think we have to be somewhat sensitive, especially when we're dealing with government money, to recognize some of the issues that the public has. Now in the past, NASA has been severely criticized; every time people would come with ideas, immediately we had a tendency to say no. And sometimes we have to be a little bit more open with it. Now, I'm not going into wild and crazy things; but it's very easy for scientists to dismiss out of hand things that the general public believes in, and to say: 'This is wild. This is crazy. We're not going to talk to you.' Or you could also say: 'Let me consider what you're saying, and let me give you some data so you could draw your own conclusions, and not tell you the answer.'"
CNI News comments: Apparently Mr. Goldin has belately realized that the American people actually do pay his salary, and do own his spacecraft. It's about time. His condescension is almost insufferable -- but a promise is a promise, and Goldin has promised to rephotograph Cydonia "if we have the right pointing" (Is that the technical jargon, we wonder?). Well, Dan, as we understand it, you'll have about two dozen chances to "get the right pointing," and we really do expect to see those photos. Don't disappoint us.
Original file name: CNI - Mars Face.Goldin
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