The Sagan Pyramids - also known as Mariner 9 4205-78 & 4296-23

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Holger Isenberg, February 2001

August 2002 update: similar images from MGS

In his 1980 book Cosmos, Carl Sagan shows this picture in the chapter Blues for a Red Planet with the image caption "The Pyramids of Elysium". In that paragraph he wrote about a large rover mission which would be of high public interest as live TV-picture would be send to Earth when the rover visits these pyramids. In a footnoote on that page he wrote:

The largest Mars Pyramids have a base width of 3km and a height of 1km, so they are much larger than the Pyramids of Sumer, Egypt and Mexico. With the ancient eroded shape, they could be small hills, sandblasted for centuries, but they need to be viewed from nearby.

detail from 7794848

detail from 12985877

new ID: 7794848, old: 4205-78

new ID: 12985877, old: 4296-23

These objects has been first published in Carl Sagan's Cosmos.
Coordinates: 15.5�N 198�W.

The whole original images strech over an area of exact 57 x 44 km2 (4205-78) and 58 x 55 km2 (4269-23).

The description text from the PDS Database:

 7794848  73B2633 05330      SEVERAL CRACKS & MOUNTAIN PEAKS
12985877  28B0616 07144      VFC
Note, that these images have a slightly higher resolution than the only Viking image 883A03 of that region.
On this picture, the square-based pyramid on the right side is really more interesting than the "Sagan" ones.
The Mariner 9 image is the lower left part of this image up to the dark crack through the whole image in the center.
See this overlay of Mariner 9 & Viking for details.

Similar images from Mars Global Surveyor

, other pyramid, pyramid in detail

There are no other images than these two from Mariner 9 and the one from Viking so far. However, there have been tries to photograph the Sagan Pyramids with Mars Global Surveyor in April and May 2001, as you can see in the image above and below. One was taken directly over one of the pyramids, but unfortunatly a transmission error happened caused the image to be lost. The other one was taken about 50km east and hit another pyramids very well on the border. The edges of that pyramid are way too sharp and rectangular to be made by random erosion.

, data transmission error on Sagan Pyramid

Another strange object nearby

In the very same region, as can be seen by the context image, there is a 500 meter large represention of the Hebrew letter NUN! This is a really interesting connection, not only by the mythological meaning of the letter NUN, but also by the ancient Egyptian goddess Nun who was the first entity, the "infinite water of chaos" or as we call it today, space.


Holger Isenberg
[email protected]