Ever since HG Wells proposed the idea of ‘little green men’ on Mars, we’ve been fascinated by the thought of life on the Red Planet. However, here are five examples of when supposed life on Mars turned out to be totally bogus.
As it’s our nearest neighbour, NASA still holds out hope of finding life on the Red Planet, but it appears that every time we try and explore something from a scientific perspective, someone starts seeing supposed objects on Mars.
It’s perfectly understandable and part of human nature to see things that appear familiar to us, even though they aren’t actually there.
Indeed, the phenomenon is so common that it has its own scientific term – pareidolia – believed to have possibly been spurred on by evolution as a mechanism for helping us understand patterns here on Earth.
The problem, however, is that we have not one, but two, rovers on Mars continuously sending back incredible images of the surface of the planet, leading some out there to scour the images for signs that we may not be alone in the solar system.
Here are five objects on Mars that have no actual link with a previous extraterrestrial existence, but which are held up as symbols by some of solid scientific proof of life on the Red Planet.
1. Woman on Mars
Let’s start with the latest claim and the image that was the inspiration for this piece.
Spotted by the Curiosity rover in the last few days and highlighted by the website UFO Sightings Daily (USO), the ‘Alien Woman on Mars’ only looks like a woman in any capacity after you’re told that it looks like a woman on Mars.
“This being is about 8-10 cm tall,” the post says. “Yes, one such species is known to exist that small.”
The photo released by NASA taken by Curiosity in July is of a particularly high resolution, despite the inevitability that a different shading of Martian material is the cause for its appearance.
“This looks real,” the UFO blog says with absolute certainty. “And it should concern every country in the world. There is life out there.”
2. Alien crab on Mars
It’s some doing when you think for a brief second that perhaps an Earth-like crab on Mars is probably more likely than a tiny woman.
And yet, less than a week ago, another image released by NASA from Curiosity’s cameras caught a glimpse of what does, in fairness, look a bit like a crab.
Again, it’s been a bit of a busy week over at USO, which was the first to report the big news of the friendly crustacean nowhere near the sea.
While NASA scientists could probably list 10 different geological possibilities for its origin, crab believers say it’s all part of a NASA conspiracy.
“Even if every person on Earth told them to turn the rover to the left and take a closer look at this object, NASA will reject it and say, ‘thats [sic] not part of our mission’,” UFO Sightings Daily said.
3. Traffic light on Mars
Yes, you’re reading that right, a traffic light.
Just like us, ancient Martians drove around in vehicles powered by the decayed remains of dinosaurs all while obeying a single traffic light made entirely of rock with no sign of actual intelligence.
Reported just under a year ago by the Huffington Post, the alleged traffic light does indeed look like one hell of a weird rock with three-and-a-half bulbous shapes sticking out of it.
This image was spotted by UFO enthusiast Joseph White, who trawls through the raw images beamed back by Curiosity to find such curiosities and had no doubt gone through hundreds of normal images before finding this one peculiarity.
“I saw this one and I thought ‘Hang on, that looks a bit strange’,” White said in an interview.
4. Dinosaur skull on Mars
Speaking of dinosaurs, how about the one person who saw a rock with chunks apparently carved out of it through erosion and thought, “that is definitively a dinosaur”?
Sourced from yes, you guessed it, USO, one of the contributors said of its potential: “This is not far-fetched considering the other dinosaur videos I have made from pictures on Mars.”
Not sounding like the person is just pulling random rocks and turning them into dinosaur heads, the mystery of whether cross-planet evolution could have led to the dinosaurs being the dominant species on Mars remains to be solved.
5. Face on Mars
The granddaddy of all the Martian pareidolia sightings, the face on Mars arguably received the most attention, not only for its similarities with face carvings seen in ancient Egypt, but the sheer scale of it would put the others on this list to shame.
When taken by the NASA orbiter Viking 1 all the way back in 1976, the image caused something of a media storm given that, until then, very little imagery was available of the Martian surface and the media were quick to jump to conclusions.
NASA then had to spend the next two decades telling the public that, in fact, the face was the result of low-resolution imagery and a coincidence of shading on a Martian hill.
When NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter finally returned high-resolution images of the hill in the Cydonia region of Mars, its origin was clearly natural.
This still hasn’t stopped people believing that it’s a NASA cover-up of course, but it seems that until we actually land on Mars one dady, we’ll be seeing many, many more strange objects on the planet.
Little green man with US flag image via Shutterstock