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No. 118: Jul-Aug 1998

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The "stealth" region of mars

Now that the Mars Global Surveyor has convinced almost everyone that the famous "face" on this planet is really only an eroded mesa, we can attend to some other Martian curiosities. One of these is the so-called "stealth" region.

For some 2,000 kilometers along the Martian equator west of Arsia Mons and Pavonis Mons stretches an area that is invisible to terrestrial radar. Of course, we can see this region; but, when a 3centimeter radar is pointed at it, no detectable echoes are returned. Thus, the term "stealth," as in the F-117 Stealth aircraft,

Are the clever Martians trying to conceal something from prying earthlings, using, say, a "cloaking" device a la Star Trek? Of course not. Loose, unconsolidated sediments are poor reflectors of radar waves. Examination of Viking-Orbiter photos tell geologists that the "stealth" region is almost certainly thickly strewn with volcanic ash, which would absorb the radar waves very well.

(Edgett, Kennth S., et al; "Geologic Context of the Mars Radar "Stealth" Region in Southwestern Tharsis," Journal of Geophysical Research, 102:21,545, 1997.)

From Science Frontiers #118, JUL-AUG 1998. 1998-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987