Chesley Bonestell's "Stone Architecture on Mars, Demonstrating Mar's Two-Thirds Less Gravity Than Earths." huntdown"?

leading from

Near colourless version of Chesley Bonestell's 
"STONE ARCHITECTURE ON MARS, DEMONSTRATING MARS' TWO-THIRDS LESS GRAVITY THAN EARTH'S."   
(source: http://www.sothebys.com/…/space-exploration-n09…/lot.25.html)
Published in: Ley & Von Braun's The Exploration of Mars, 1956,

a) STONE ARCHITECTURE ON MARS, huntdown?
Storyboard and concept artist Andrew Currie a member of Richard Hoagland's Enterprise Mission Imaging team took note of the Sotheby's sale of the painting

Looking from a point of view that there might be some sort of secret perceptions and hidden information incorporated into the painting about discoveries that were not shared with the public.

Andrew looked at the images of the astronauts and found that he couldn't really say that they were ultimately human, and perhaps even they were a potentially different species.

He felt that they weren't just marvelling at the temple but they were agitated somehow and they seemed almost aggressive at least in their body language.

He could see how everyone might think in response "oh come on you're just talking about one man's fanciful painting".

Was it all speculation or was there something really there?

Perhaps this was a very strange painting to consider.

He presented his ideas on the radio show The Other Side of Midnight on May 12th 2018.

(See: The Other Side of Midnight " 2018/05/12 – EM Imaging Team – Chesley Bonestell’s [Decoded] Secret Mission– Painting Ancient Martian Ruins … 60 Years Before NASA Images Confirm That They Exist … on Mars!" https://www.theothersideofmidnight.com/2018-05-12_em/ )

Andrew would come to write a description "There are three figures in this composition, what I call two hunters and the hunted. The latter lies slumped between the two pillars, its head blown open by an energy weapon. Notice the almost shaped eyes and the fallen alien being"

He noticed that the two astronauts had very peculiar helmets on and perceived the strange fallen alien to be an entity that might when standing up be eight to ten feet tall and also have an elongated skull.

Seeing how oddly the astronauts arms were positioned, exactly what was this weird little diorama about?



Andrew Currie's presentation of details from Chesley's painting and his digital rendering exploring the details



  1. Andrew Currie: I call it, erm "Stone architecture on Mars, huntdown. " Now I know this may really seem out there but I found a really excellent resolution, and then you'll notice there's a few different colours going on with this painting. I think Richard's kind of captured it a little closer to what the original was like, in fact he's the one who held it in his hands. What I'm noticing with the Sothebys images is and some of the other images that I found on the internet is that they're very greyed down and really highly pixilated, and this one I found showed these two astronauts doing something in the middle of this temple. Well, I kind of blew it up, and if you sort of scrolled down, I don't think, and I like Richard said, I don't know if these are exactly human astronauts, now again, this could all be fanciful, this could be his creative vision but, this was a really serious guy, in fact, in the back of this small painting, he has written down because he was really angry at himself, he didn't make the bottom of the pillars the right size, he felt they should have been one and a half times thicker, so this is a very serious guy, and anyways, what I think I've found in this is some sort of hunt down. I think these two astronauts are actually, potentially a different species, and I did a little drawing here, a little digital rendering, if you look at it in my items and I, I wrote this description, I said. "There are three figures in this composition, what I call two hunters and the hunted. The latter lies slumped between the two pillars, its head blown open by an energy weapon. Notice the almost shaped eyes and the fallen alien being", so if you scroll down and look at my drawing you can see what I think is lying between the two pillars, now I know, hey I'm speculating like crazy, but Richard, this is a very very strange painting and I don't, there's a lot of layers going on here and I just really feel when I first saw this painting, I had the feeling that these guys weren't just marvelling at the temple but they were agitated somehow and they seemed almost aggressive at least in their, in their body language, and again I know, everyone is thinking, "oh come on you're just talking about one man's fanciful painting". Well I, again, all of the things that Chesley did were so serious and I just don't know why he would take a moment to created silliness right, so is he writing a history here, is he letting us know something, is it an, is it an unconscious artistic flair, that's the question. (See: The Other Side of Midnight, May 12th 2018 See: https://www.theothersideofmidnight.com/2018-05-12_em/
  2. Andrew Currie: So Gary lets scroll down to number 3, so it's away, it's at the bottom there, , um it's a little bit out of order her but its totally fine, and at number three it says AC Mars extended family part one. So I was kinda tracking a few things that I noticed, um and its a form that I keep seeing in this iconography and in certain artists that render stuff, so at the top of this poster is a painting called "STONE ARCHITECTURE ON MARS, DEMONSTRATING MARS' TWO-THIRDS LESS GRAVITY THAN EARTH'S." so, the painting was done by a er, a painter named Chesley Bonestell, he was an American um sort of space artist, he was way more than that, he was an architectural renderer which is


    Gary Leggiere:
    BONESTELL! BONESTELL!

    Andrew Currie:
    Yuh

    Gary  Leggiere:
    WASN"T HE A NAZI?

    Andrew Currie:
    No, he wasn't

    Gary Leggiere:
    WHO AM I THINKING OF, YOU KNOW ERM, YOU KNOW WHO I'M THINKING OF RIGHT?

    Andrew Currie:
    Well, the guys that he worked with were, erm Wernher Von Braun, erm, Willy Ley, like all these guys, like in cohoots with were definitely erm, er, part of all that, you know, regime. But Chesley was erm, was born and raised in New York, a, um, educated in Columbia university, was an architectural renderer, amazing artist, he would be considered the father of space art and his work is amazing, but there was one painting he did, he worked with Wernher Von Braun and Willy Ley on these three books that were sort of kind of pushing Mars back in the 1950s, kind of developing, kind of talking about the history of Mars and talking about the programs to go to Mars and these were, these books were mentioned out from the Collier magazine, magazine publications that Wernher Von Braun did with erm, er, with Chesley Bon.. Bonestell to to basically sell the idea of going into space so when you said Brookings (The Brookings report) goes back further, I think you're absolutely right, already pushing these agendas, even before they had sort of er, codified, or um, you know, really, how do we say it, cleaned up their report to give it the nice tidy look. They were already experimenting with the stuff. And Chesley was part of this, he was part of selling a very romantic vision of going into the Solar System, you know basically selling it to the American public and Von Braun knew there was something like, something like, I forget maybe 15 million TVs back in the early 50s. He knew this and the, he and Walt Disney got together, created a series of films and there is these three books and articles from Colliers to essentially get everybody on board to capture this sort of you know um Western idea of conquest and romantic conquest of going in conquering space. Um but this one book called the Exploration of Mars, this particular painting, the STONE ARCHITECTURE ON MARS, DEMONSTRATING MARS' TWO-THIRDS LESS GRAVITY (THAN EARTH'S). Basically they were in the chapter because I signed it out from the library, they were talking about how anything on Mars, because it has less gravity could be built thinner and taller, more grand, well, in this painting which is a tiny little painting, Garry, it's like ten and a half inches by eleven inches, it's an oil on artist's board, and there's these two astronauts, he's got these two astronauts in the middle of this like Martian temple, this Martian temple on the sands of Mars, and they're sort of standing there waving their arms around, and this, and you're thinking Oh, he did this little illustration for the book to demonstrate how gravity works on Mars, I zoomed in on this thing, I, and I illustrated what I think I'm seeing in the middle. These two astronauts which have very peculiar helmets on, you can see my middle image

    Gary Leggiere: YES

    Andrew Currie: To me are blasting a third party who is slumped between two pillars and when you

    Gary Leggiere: YEAH, I SEE THAT, HA HA LIKE SOME FROG LOOKING UH DUDE

    Andrew Currie: Elongated skull, almond eyes, if he was standing up, he would be like eight or nine or ten feet tall, and I'm thinking, why would Chesley put this weird little diorama with this serious investigation on how gravity would effect structures on Mars

    Gary Leggiere: I"LL TELL YOU WHY, HE WAS IN ON THE BROOKING PLAN

    Andrew Currie: Exactly

    Gary Leggiere: AND, AND, AND TO TELL US THE SUBSURFACE ILLEGALS ARE REAL
    Andrew Currie: Exactly, Gary, if we scroll up to number four
    (Martian Revelation 18th November 2018. 4 hours and 3 minutes into it)

b)  Dispute: Ron Miller vs The Other Side of Midnight

We must also respect that Ron Miller, the author of the “Art of Chesley Bonestell” and the one-time administrator of the Bonestell archives has a different view.

He listened to "The Other Side of Midnight" radio show, felt the need to respond in internet comments, stating that he had seen the original painting , that the alien that Andrew Currie noticed wasn't there, and the same could be said about the details of the astronaut.

He understood that the structure was based on an existing acropolis being the ruins of the Temple of Zeus Olympus near Athens, from the time of Hadrian as mentioned in the book "The Exploration of Mars", and was indeed, as the picture's caption explained, to illustrate how the lesser gravity of Mars would effect architecture.

He felt certain that it was certainly never meant in any way to illustrate anything that actually exists on the planet Mars and to suggest otherwise would be patently dishonest.

However it seems evident to me that the difference between the photo provided of the Temple of Zeus Olympus near Athens, and the Martian ruins drawing gives me the idea that there was room for Chesley to have some fun and games exploring other directions.

Meanwhile the exploration of what this painting is about remains an evolving thing


Chesley Bonestell's photo of "The ruins of the Temple of Zeus Olympus near Athens,
from the time of Hadrian" from The Explorations of Mars by Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun


  1. Ron Miller: As the author of the “Art of Chesley Bonestell” and the one-time administrator of the Bonestell archives, I can say unequivocally that this is the most errant nonsense. (https://www.theothersideofmidnight.com/2018-05-12_em/)
  2. Ron Miller: To take just one single example, the painting of the “Martian ruins” is from the book “Mars” and was intended, as the picture’s caption carefully explains, to illustrate how the lesser gravity of Mars would effect architecture. To demonstrate this, Bonestell took an existing structure from the Acropolis and recreated it on Mars. It was certainly never meant in any way to illustrate anything that actually exists on the planet. To suggest otherwise is patently dishonest. (https://www.theothersideofmidnight.com/2018-05-12_em/)
  3. Ron Miller: Beyond all that, I have seen the original painting (which still exists) and the alien you have imagined seeing simply is not there. The same goes for the details you have invented for the astronaut.(https://www.theothersideofmidnight.com/2018-05-12_em/)
  4. Ron Miller: A slip of the finger made me type “Mars” instead of “Exploration of Mars.” Sorry about that.
    The painting is reproduced on page 66, along with a painting of the equivalent structure on earth: the Temple of Zeus near Athens. Bonestell recreated this as he thought it might look if built under Mars’ gravity, carefully explaining the difference in the diameter of the columns and the spans separating them. (https://www.theothersideofmidnight.com/2018-05-12_em/
  5. Ron Miller (in response to Rick's question:QUESTION FOR THE SHOW: Exactly how does Chesley Bonestell’s painting CONFIRM that ruins areon Mars… exist? Are there contemporary NASA/ ESA/ China images that match Bonestell’s painting(s)?
    (Thank you.)): Of course there are not. Bonestell explained very explicitly why he painted the ruins: it was to demonstrate how different a familiar structure on earth would look like if built under the lesser gravity of Mars. Richard is being dishonest in not showing you the painting that accompanied this on page 66 of “The Exploration of Mars,” where he depicts the matching structure on earth. The two are even depicted at the same angle and in the same perspective. When you see the two side by side as originally intended, along with Bonestell’s detailed explanation, the purpose of the painting is clear.
    (https://www.theothersideofmidnight.com/2018-05-12_em/)  
  6. Ron Miller: As the author of the “Art of Chesley Bonestell” and the one-time administrator of the Bonestell archives, I can say unequivocally that this is the most errant nonsense. To take just one single example, the painting of the “Martian ruins” is from the book “Mars” and was intended, as the picture’s caption carefully explains, to illustrate how the lesser gravity of Mars would effect architecture. To demonstrate this, Bonestell took an existing structure from the Acropolis and recreated it on Mars. It was certainly never meant in any way to illustrate anything that actually exists on the planet. To suggest otherwise is patently dishonest.
    Beyond all that, I have seen the original painting (which still exists) and the alien you have imagined seeing simply is not there. The same goes for the details you have invented for the astronaut.
    Most of the other “artifacts” you claim to find in the paintings are likewise the result of the simple fact that you are looking at low-rez web images, and at that images mostly scanned from books and magazines. I have seen, and even handled, most of these paintings (Bonestell’s classic “Exploration of Mars” painting—12, 13 and 14 on your page—once hung in my office) and still have high-resolution transparencies of them. The things you are claiming to see are nothing more than products of your imagination. They vanish when the art is seen at high resolution.
    One simple thing that really argues against your theory is that if Bonestell were really privy to all this information he would not have been consistently wrong about so much of what he depicted, from the moon to Mars to Jupiter. (https://www.theothersideofmidnight.com 2018-05-22 at 2:48 pm)
c) Another direction

However, if we were to look at the importance of Chesley Bonestell's art in the lives of science fiction fans and the ability people can have to look at the details and look at them from different points of view.

If we are going to acknowledge Ron Miller's point of view, as valid as it might be there, are other point of views to counter his own, that there might be something interesting to notice even if one can not have the last word on what anything is supposed to be.

I'm quite certain that people such as Ron Cobb who has been a great fan of Bonestell's art would have known about this painting, perhaps the oddities made its way into the mind of Dan O'Bannon and that HR Giger found out about it too when he worked on Alien.

Looking at two of Giger's paintings for Alien, his Alien Life Cycle Tableau, and planetary landscape painting where the landscape look as if it has been made up from ribs,, I feel that he referenced the ideas from this painting. (See: Alien: Giger's Alien Life Cycle Tableau (1978) references Chesley Bonestell's "Stone architecture on Mars, demonstrating Mar's two-thirds less gravity than Earth's."?
and Alien: Giger's Landscape (work 385) by HR Giger (1978) references Chesley Bonestell's "Stone Architecture on Mars, Demonstrating Mar's Two-Thirds Less Gravity Than Earths."?)


The oddity of the astronauts helmet and the idea that there seemed to be a figure hidden in the painting might be something drawn from the painting after discussion.

It appears to me that the painting also looks as if it stirred ideas in Ralph McQuarrie's imagination when he painted a cantine scene featuring characters huddled at the base of pillars and characters such as a stormtrooper and a seated alien with complicated breathing equipment for Star Wars as displayed below, and perhaps the Garindan is another thing that takes some inspiration from the proboscis like shape on the front of the helmet. (See: Referenced in Ralph McQuarrie's Cantina illustration and the Garindan from Star Wars)

Perhaps they would have had access to better images than those seen in the books, perhaps a visit to a Chesley Bonestell exhibition.

The details of the figures in the book "The Explorations of Mars" are too pixelated to make anything from but still it looks near enough as if there are three characters, two standing and one sitting.




the same detail from the online Sotheby's painting

Details from Sotheby's image magnified

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