Dr, Brian O’leary, a member of the sixth group of astronauts selected by NASA in August of 1967. One year after that, Carl Sagan recruited him to teach at Cornell. O’Leary was also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as secretary of the American Geophysical Union’s Planetology Section. Furthermore, he was the team leader of the Asteroidal Resources Group for NASA’s Ames Summer Study on Space Settlements. He was a founding board member of the International Association for New Science as well as founding president of the New Energy Movement.
“Carl Sagan called me from Cornell and asked me to join the faculty. I accepted the offer and spent many years at Cornell in the astronomy department, planetary science department. And I became very creative in research then, but still within the bounds of western science, but in the planetary exploration program. That was for a period of about a decade.” (source)(source)
As you can see, his background is quite distinguished, and it would not be ‘far off’ to contemplate the idea that this man knows a thing or two. When it comes to Sagan, he had some interesting things to say during a live interview with Kerry Cassidy of Project Camelot (view full live interview here, read transcript of video here). O’Leary and Sagan were close for a number of years, but had a little bit of a falling out when O’Leary decided to leave Cornell. In the interview, he remarked:
It was… One very cold snowy day in May, I landed in Syracuse, and there was a horizontal blizzard — in May — and I said: That’s it for upstate New York. And Carl thought that was very frivolous. Because, of course, he was kind of an empire-builder kind of guy; and he also had a huge ego.
After he left, O’Leary started to examine some of Carl’s work. He said that the famous “Face” in Cydonia on Mars — photographed by Viking in 1975, this enormous formation (about a mile across) resembled a human face and created a major buzz at the time — was tampered with by Sagan before being released to the public:
It was very, very disappointing to me, because not only was Carl wrong, he also fudged data. He published a picture of the “Face” in Parade Magazine, a popular article, saying that the “Face” was just a natural formation, but he doctored the picture to make it not look like a face.
At this time, Sagan and O’Leary were arguably the world’s two leading experts on Mars, and they entered into many disagreements over that face. This rift was made clear in O’Leary’s publication in 1998, “Carl Sagan & I: On Opposite Sides of Mars.” It can be found in The Case for the Face: Scientists Examine the Evidence for Alien Artifacts on Mars, eds. Stanley V. McDaniel and Monica Rix Paxson. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press.
In May of 1990, O’Leary released a paper titled “Analysis of Images of the Face on Mars and Possible Intelligent Origin” which only further demonstrated his skepticism. It was published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Vol.43 No.5.
O’Leary also went on the record and stated:
I began to realize, just directly from the scientific point of view, not only hearsay, that this man was colluding with NASA, that there might be more to this than before. . . . Carl was on a committee with a number of notable people. There was a report issued by the Brookings Institution in 1961 — and that’s about when I knew Carl, during those years; the ’60s mostly was when I worked closely with him — that he and this other group said: Well, if any ETs ever showed up on the Earth, it has to be covered up. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to manage this, because if we can’t, then it would be too much of a culture shock.
Quite a shocking statement from someone of Brian’s stature, isn’t it? In the interview, he goes on to say that Carl and his colleagues recommended that the governments cover up the UFO phenomenon, and that he believes this provided justification for the ongoing cover-up.
It’s important to realize that this does not make Sagan a ‘bad guy.’ He was clearly the opposite of that, and his love for science and educating humanity was quite clear. If he was in favour of covering this up, if he did know about it, there is a very good chance it was done for what they perceived to be, good reasons. Sure, there might be some corporate reasons, and some other not so pleasant reasons the cover-up remains today, but it’s plausible to assume that in the beginning, perhaps there was no I’ll intent,but who really knows?
Here’s a great little clip of O’leary displaying his enthusiasm about the subject, the video was taken shortly before he passed away.