The Mars Mission: A Billion-Dollar Moondoggle? – Are the Rodents on Mars, or at NASA, JPL, Caltech? – Is Mars Made of Red Cheese? – Maybe the Movie Set Needs a Few Felines?
Are There Chinchillas on Mars?
By Christopher Bollyn
Updated June 3, 2013
Your “Chinchilla on Mars” posting is a needless, pointless, frivolous distraction that will damage your credibility… The “chinchilla” is a rock that has features somewhat reminiscent of a chinchilla… Please remove the posting, or at least mitigate it by saying that it is probably a rock. – Robert D. Pickar, San Pedro, California
(NB!: Pickar’s father, Kenneth A. Pickar, is a professor at Caltech, the private institution that runs the Mars mission, and is on the President’s Advisory Board for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the agency which is managing the mission.)
The most popular science story on FoxNews.com on May 29 was an article entitled “‘Mars rat’ spied by NASA’s Curiosity rover.” The Fox News article is about a photograph taken on September 28, 2012, by NASA’s rover that is supposedly roaming around on the surface of Mars. The photograph clearly shows what appears to be a chinchilla-like rodent between a couple of rocks. The people who are running the mission to Mars should be ecstatic about finding evidence of life on the Red Planet. Instead of telling the world about the discovery of a rodent on Mars, NASA and JPL are clearly trying to avoid discussing this photo. This raises the question, is the NASA rover really on Mars, or is it simply roaming around the Atacama Desert in Chile or some other Mars-like terrain on Planet Earth? Having spent untold billions of taxpayer dollars on its mission to Mars, is NASA duping us about the whole thing? Just where did this chinchilla come from?
After getting a comment asking me to remove the posting, I looked more closely into the nature of the rodent seen in the photograph. The person who asked me to remove the posting is Robert D. Pickar of San Pedro. His father, Kenneth Arnold Pickar of Rolling Hills (a gated enclave of Palos Verdes), is a visiting professor at Caltech. Caltech runs the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is managing the Mars mission. Kenneth Pickar, who has been at Caltech since 1998, is on the President’s Advisory Board for JPL.
JPL is a federally-funded research and development center, managed and operated by Caltech under a contract from NASA. In fiscal year 2012, JPL’s budget was nearly $1.5 billion. (On average, Caltech, a tiny private institution in Pasadena, receives about $1.74 billion per year, more than $783,000 per student from the U.S. taxpayer.) If the highly-paid people who run the Mars mission are so concerned about my chinchilla posting, I had better make sure I have my rodents straight.
While I agree with the criticism that the animal may not be a chinchilla, it certainly does not look like a rock. The little fellow looks furry and has eyes and ears and a tail. It actually looks more like a white-tailed antelope squirrel than a chinchilla. The white-tailed antelope squirrel is a species of rodent commonly found in the deserts of California and Nevada. The first photograph below is from the Mars mission.
Kenneth Pickar’s CV, 2005
Kenneth Pickar’s presentation on Caltech and its mission to Mars, Monash University, Australia, 2010
“‘Mars rat’ spied by NASA’s Curiosity rover,” FoxNews.com, May 29, 2013
Original full size photo, NASA, September 28, 2012
White-tailed antelope squirrel, sibr.com, May 31, 2013
Abel Danger has located an official NASA audio recording of rodents on Mars! Just like the magic cameras that shot all that believable Moon footage, it is amazing!
A transmission from NASA…