Chapter 12: Phobos: Malfunction or Star Wars Incident

On July 12, 1988, the Soviet Union launched an unmanned spacecraft called Phobos 2 and may have provided Mankind with its first Star Wars incident—not the “Star Wars” nicknamed of America’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), but a war with people from another world.

Phobos 2 was one of two unmanned satellites, the other being Phobos I, that were set off from Earth in July 1988, headed toward the planet Mars. Phobos 1 reportedly because of a radio command error, was lost two months later. Phobos 2 arrived safely at Mars in January 1989 and entered into orbit around Mars as the first step at its destination toward its ultimate goal—to transfer to an orbit that would make it fly almost in tandem with the Martian moonlet called Phobos (hence the spacecraft’s name) and explore the moonlet with highly sophisticated equipment that included two packages of instruments to be placed on the moonlet’s surface.

All went well until Phobos 2 aligned itself with Phobos, the Martian moonlet. Then, on March 28, 1989, the Soviet mission control center acknowledged sudden communication “problems” with the spacecraft; and Tass, the official Soviet news agency, reported that “Phobos 2 failed to communicate with Earth as scheduled after completing an operation yesterday around the Martian moon Phobos. Scientists at mission control have been unable to establish stable radio contact.”

These admissions left the impression that the problem was not incurable…

Although launched by the Soviets, the mission in reality represented an international effort on an unprecedented scale, with more than thirteen European countries (including the European Space Agency and major French and German scientific institutions) participating officially and British and American scientists participating “personally” (with their governments’ knowledge and blessing).

But on the next day, while the public was still being reassured that a resumption of contact with the spacecraft was achievable, a high-ranking official at Glavkosmos, the Soviet space agency, hinted that there indeed was no such hope. “Phobos 2 is ninety-nine percent lost for good,” Nikolai A. Simyonov said; on that day, his choice of words—not that contact with the spacecraft was lost but that the spacecraft itself was “lost for good”—was not paid any particular heed.

On March 30… from Moscow to The New York Times, Esther B. Fein mentioned that Vremya, the main evening news program on Soviet television “rapidly rattled off the bad news about Phobos” and focused its report instead on the successful research the spacecraft had already accomplished. Soviet scientists appearing on the program “displayed some of the space images, but said it was still not clear what clues they offered to understanding Mars, Phobos, the Sun and interplanetary space.”

What “images” and what “clues” were they talking about? When reports published in the European press (but for some reason not in the U.S. media) spoke of an “unidentified object” that was seen “in the final pictures taken by the spaceship,” which showed an “inexplicable” object or “elliptical shadow” on Mars.

[An interesting report from the Spanish daily La Epoca appears in the book and it is translated into English] Mr. Sitchin continues:

Needless to say, this is an amazing and literally “out of this world” that raises as many questions as it answers. The loss of contact with the spacecraft was associated, by implication if not in so many words, with the observation by the spacecraft of “an object on the Martian surface seconds before.” The culprit “object” is described as “a thin ellipse” and is also called “a phenomenon” as well as “a shadow.” It was observed at least twice—the report does not state whether in the same location on the surface of Mars—and is capable of changing its size… And when the “Vremya” reporter wondered whether it was a “space rocket,” the scientist responded, “This is to fantasize.” So, what was it—or is—it?

A report… in Science (April 7, 1989) spoke of ” the apparent loss of Phobos 2“—loss of the spacecraft itself, not just of the communications link with it. It happened, the prestigious journal stated, “on 27 March as the spacecraft turned from its normal alignment with Earth to image the tiny moon Phobos that was the primary mission target. When it came time for the spacecraft to turn itself and its antenna automatically back toward Earth, nothing was heard.

The journal then continued with a sentence that remains as inexplicable as the whole incident and the “thin ellipse” on the surface of Mars. It states: “A few hours later, a weak transmission was received, but controllers could not lock onto the signal. Nothing was heard during the next week.” The reason given was that the spacecraft, having turn its antenna to scan Phobos, failed to turn its antenna back toward Earth due to some unknown reason. But if the antenna remained stuck in a position facing away from Earth, how could “a weak transmission” be received “a few hours later”?…

The question that arises is indeed a simple one: Was the spacecraft Phobos 2 hit by “something” that put it out of commission, except for a last gasp in the form of a weak signal hours later?

What caused the spacecraft to destabilize itself? Was it a malfunction, or was there an extraneous cause—perhaps an impact?

One controller at the Kaliningrad control center said the limited signals received after conclusion of the imaging session gave him the impression he was “tracking a spinner.”

Phobos 2, in other words, acted as if it was in a spin.

Pressed by their international participants in the Phobos mission to provide more definitive data, the Soviet authorities released the taped television transmission Phobos 2 sent in its last moments—except for the last frames, taken just seconds before the spacecraft fell silent. The television clip was shown by some TV stations in Europe and Canada as part of weekly “diary” programs, as a curiosity and not as a hot news item.

The television sequence thus released focused on two anomalies… The “anomaly” [the first] appeared to be far from a natural phenomenon.

The television clip was accompanied by a live comment by Dr. John Becklake of England’s Science Museum. He described the phenomenon as very puzzling… the pattern of parallel lines and rectangles covering an area of almost two hundred fifty square miles was a source of heat radiation [photographed with infrared camera from Phobos 2]. Is is highly unlikely that a natural source of heat radiation (a geyser or a concentration of radioactive minerals under the surface, for example) would create such a perfect geometric pattern… What it was, the scientist said “I certainly don’t know.”

We now come to the second “anomaly” seen in the Phobos 2 transmission as a thin ellipse with very sharp rather than rounded points… and the ages, rather than being fuzzy, stood out sharply against a kind of halo on the Martian surface. [Mr. Sitchin is comparing the anomaly with another image from Mariner 9 recorded eighteen years earlier].

Dr. Becklake described it as “something that is between the spacecraft and Mars, because we can see the Martian surface below it,” and stressed that the object was seen both by the optical and the infrared (heat-seeking) camera.

All these reasons explain why the Soviets have not suggested that the dark, “thin ellipse” might have been the shadow of the moonlet.

[Still with Phobos 2 reports]…

As the last picture was halfway through,” Dr. Becklake said, “they [Soviets] saw something which should not be there.”

In the October 19, 1989 issue of Nature, Soviet scientists published a series of technical reports on the experiments Phobos 2 did manage to conduct; of the thirty-seven pages, a mere three paragraphs deal with the spacecraft’s loss. The report confirms that the spacecraft was spinning, either because of a computer malfunction or because Phobos 2 was “impacted” by an unknown object (the theory that the collision was with “dust particles” is rejected in the report).

So what was it that collided or crashed into Phobos 2, the “something that should not be there”? What do the last frame, or frames, still secret, show?… The chairman of the Soviet equivalent of NASA referred to the last frame when he tried to explain the sudden loss of contact, saying, “One image appears to include and odd-shape object between the spacecraft and Mars.”

What the secret frames hide is evidence that the loss of Phobos 2 was not an accident but an incident. Perhaps the first incident in a Star Wars—the shooting down by Aliens from another planet of a spacecraft from Earth intruding on their Martian base.

Has it occurred to the reader that the Soviet space chief’s answer, “We just don’t know” what the “odd-shaped object between the spacecraft and Mars” was, is tantamount to calling it a UFO—and Unidentified Flying Object?

The Cascade Mountains, Washington.

The Cascade Mountains, Washington.

For decades now, ever since the phenomenon of what was first called Flying Saucers and later UFOs became a worldwide enigma, no self-respecting scientist would touch the subject even with a ten foot pole—except, that is, to ridicule the phenomenon and whoever was foolish enough to take it seriously.

The “modern UFO era,” according to Antonio Huneeus, a science writer and internationally known lecturer on UFOs, began on June 14, 1947 when Kenneth Arnold, an American pilot and businessman, sighted a formation of nine silvery disks flying over the Cascade Mountains in the state of Washington…

Mr Sitchin at this point gives a concise report of events which took place sooner after this sighting went to Press. After his concise report Mr. Sitchin continues:

The real problem many have with UFOs is the lack of a cohesive and plausible theory to explain their origin and purpose. Where do they come from? Why?

I myself have not encountered a UFO, to say nothing of being abducted and experimented upon by humanlike beings with elliptical heads and bulging eyes—incidents witnessed and experienced, if such claims be true, by many others, but when asked for my opinion, whether I “believe in UFOs,” I sometimes answer by telling a story. Let us imagine, I say to the people in the room or the auditorium in which I am speaking, that the entrance door is thrust open and a young man bursts in, breathless from running and obviously agitated…

And Mr. Sitchin relates the story of the man’s “sighting” which in reality happened, as he explains:

What do we think? Do we believe him?

We should believe him if we believe the Bible, I say, because what I just related is the tale of Jacob’s vision as told in Genesis, chapter 7. Though it was a vision seen in a dreamlike trance, Jacob was certain that the sight was real, and he said,

Surely Yahweh is present in this place,
And I knew it not . . . .
This is none other but an abode of the gods,
and this is the gateway to heaven.


Obviously, the hovering craft that Jacob saw was readily identified by him as belonging to the Elohim, the plural gods. What he did not know, the Bible makes clear, was only that the place where he had slept was one of their lift-off pads.

Ancient depictions and terminology show that a distinction was made even then between the different kinds of flying machines and their pilots. There were the rocketships that served as shuttle craft and the orbiters, and we have already seen what the Anunnaki and the orbiting Igigi looked like. And there the “whirlbirds” or “sky chambers” that we now call VTOLs (Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft) and helicopters; how these looked in antiquity is depicted in a mural at a site on the east side of the Jordan, near the place from where Elijah was carried heavenward. The goddess Inanna/Ishtar liked to pilot her own “sky chamber,” at which time she would be dressed like a World War I pilot.

But other depictions were also found—clay figurines of human-looking beings with elliptical heads and large, slanting eyes—an unusual feature of whom was their bisexuality (or lack of it)…

Now as one looks at the drawings of the “humanoids” by those who claim to have seen the occupants of UFOs, it is obvious they do not look like us—which means they do not look like the Anunnaki. Rather, they look like the odd humanoids depicted by the ancient figurines, [these appear in Mr. Sitchin’s book]. If the tales be true, then what the “contactees” have seen are not the people, the intelligent beings, from another planet—but their anthropoid robots.

And even if a tiny percentage of the reported sightings is true, then the relative large number of alien craft visiting Earth in recent times suggests that they could not possibly come, in such profusion and frequency, from a distant planet. If they come, they must come from somewhere relatively close by.

And the only plausible candidate is Mars—and its Moonlet Phobos.

The reasons for the use of Mars as a jumping-off base for spacemen’s visits to Earth should be clear by now… The circumstances in which Phobos 2 was lost indicate that someone is back there on Mars—someone ready to destroy what to them is an “alien” spacecraft. How does Phobos, the moonlet, fit into all this?

Simply put, it fits very well.

After explaining the proposed missions by the Soviet Phobos 1 and 2, and the involvement of other participating countries, the purpose became clear, as Mr. Sitchin explains:

The Phobos mission was nothing short of a concerted effort by modern science to lift the veil from Mars and enlist it in Mankind’s course on the road to Space.

But was someone there, at Mars, who did not welcome this intrusion?

It is noteworthy that Phobos, unlike the smaller and smooth-surfaced Deimos [the other of Mar’s moons], has peculiar features that have led some scientists in the past that it was artificially fashioned. There are peculiar “track marks” that run straight and almost parallel to each other. Their width is almost uniform, some 700 to 1,000 feet and their depth, too, is a uniform 75 to 90 feet (as far as could be measured from the Viking orbiters)…



What are these tracks or trenches (water, causing them has been ruled out), how did they come about, why do they emanate from the circular crater (whose rim is so perfectly circular that it looks artificial), and does the crater lead into the moonlet’s interior?…

Have others, long ago, carried out ideas and plans that modern science envisions for the future—bringing Phobos and Deimos, two captured asteroids, into orbit around Mars to burrow into their interior?

In the 1960s it was noticed that Phobos was speeding up its orbit around Mars; this led Soviet scientists to suggest that Phobos was lighter than its size warrants. The Soviet physicist I. S. Shklovsky then offered the astounding hypothesis that Phobos was hollow.

After several speculations from diverse entities which Mr. Sitchin presents in his book, he continues:

Were a natural crater and interior faults artificially enlarged and carved out by “someone” to create inside Phobos a shelter, shielding its occupants from the cold and radiation of space? The Soviet report does not speculate on that; but what it says regarding the “tracks” is illuminating. It calls them “grooves,” reports that their sides are of a brighter material than the moonlet’s surface, and, what is indeed a revelation, that in the area west of the large crater, “new grooves can be identified”—grooves or tracks that were not there when Mariner 9 and the Vikings took pictures of the moonlet.

Since there is no volcanic activity on Phobos (the crater in its natural shape resulted from meteorite impacts, not volcanism), no wind storms, no rain, no flowing water—how did the new grooved tracks come about? Who was there on Phobos (and thus on Mars) since the 1970s? Who is on it now?

For, if there is no one there now, how to explain the March 27, 1989, incident?

The chilling possibility that modern science, catching up with ancient knowledge, has brought Mankind to the first incident in a War of the Worlds, rekindles a situation that has lain dormant almost 5,500 years.

The event that parallels today’s situation has come to be known as the Incident of the Tower of Babel. It is described in Genesis, Chapter 11, and in The Wars of Gods and Men I refer to Mesopotamian texts with earlier and more detailed accounts of the incident. I have placed it in 3450 B.C. and construed as the first attempt by Marduk to establish a space base in Babylon as an act of defiance to Enlil and his sons.

In the biblical version, the people whom Marduk had gotten to do the job were building, in Babylon, a city with a “tower whose head shall reach the heaven” in which a Shem—a space rocket—was to be installed (quite possibly in the manner depicted on a coin from Byblos). But the other deities were not amused by this foray of Mankind into the space age; so

Yahweh came down to see the city
and the tower which the humans were building.


And he said to unnamed colleagues:

This is just the beginning of their undertakings;
From now on, anything that they shall scheme to do
shall no longer be impossible for them.
Come, let us go down and confuse their language
so that they should not understand each other’s speech.


Almost 5,500 years later, the humans got together and “spoke one language,” in a coordinated international mission to Mars and Phobos.

And, once again, someone was not amused.

Continue to Chapter 13: In Secret Anticipation