Over the years, I'd (obviously) been paying attention to the web presence, but had never quite gotten around to reading his book, The Monuments of Mars: a City On the Edge Of Forever. Well, I picked this up (for a penny ... woot!) last summer and finally got it read. Needless to say, I'd known the broad strokes of how Hoagland had been a "media type" around NASA (he was a "space advisor" to Walter Cronkite), and was one of the various folks to glom onto "The Face" formation that the Viking orbiters imaged in the "Cydonia" region of Mars. Well, from this one image (and the area around it), Hoagland and his associates built up quite a "mythology" (of variable levels of believability) about some ancient civilization (quite ancient, by some figures) which had left these huge sculptures (the Face is something like a mile per side) as intentional "signs" for us to see.
Now, I always "glaze over" when folks start going on about "significant" angles and things of that ilk, and much of what Hoagland & Co. base the "unnaturalness" of the Cydonia features is a whole web of these angular alignments. Personally, I would be more impressed if everything lined up in a nice even grid that I could take a glance at and say "hey, that's on a grid!", rather than saying (to paraphrase) "Wow, if you measure from the left nostril of the face to the back corner of this pyramid and then to the trailing edge of this other feature, the angle is 19.5°!!!". Admittedly, I have never "gotten" stuff like the Golden Mean (or even musical scales), so this might just be playing to my insufficiencies, but the deeper they probe, the less convinced I get.
This is not to say that I don't think that Hoagland & Co. are on to something. His theories merge well with the likes of Sitchin and J.A. West, with which I've previously had a great deal of resonance, but the core issue of this one area on Mars just seems a little weak until we drop a camera right in the middle of it and take a look around.
The Monuments of Mars follows Hoagland from the 1976 "discovery" of the Face through about 1991 (this was an updated 1992 release of the original 1987 book), walking the reader through the "curiouser and curiouser" looks into these "Martian Artifacts", interweaving research streams with others in the same genre, and his "battles" with NASA. One must admit that his struggles with NASA did have a certain "X-Files" edge to them, with "official video presentations" being inexplicably edited to remove sections and change dates, etc., but there does seem to be more than a little plain paranoia at play.
Of course, over the years, Hoagland and his team have "branched out" from Cydonia and have questioned all sorts of grainy photos from Mars as to their being "artifacts", and made himself something of a joke in the process (interestingly, in this book he frequently savages Erich von Däniken as having "made things hard for real researchers", which, at this remove, sure has a "pot.kettle.black" feel to it!). However, in the process of "all this stuff", I do believe that Hoagland has stumbled over some very interesting physics that I think are of great importance (see HERE on his site), which I fear may end up doing a "baby with the bathwater" as people dismiss his work in its entirety.
While being more linear that the EnterpriseMission site, this book is really best as an introduction to Hoagland's theories, with the real "meat" being on the web (although not recently updated). While an expanded 5th edition of this is currently available, I'm not sure if one would really do better going with a used copy (this version is still available for well under a buck), and "catching up" on his site.