NASA released the evocative Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image above in July 2017.
Surely, the image explains the existence of an ancient Game of Thrones-esque civilisation that called the Red Planet home and had dragons as pets?
In reality, this scaly pattern doesn’t come from a mythical creature, but rather from an ancient landscape process that involves erosion, CNET reports.
There are loads of strange images captured of Mars. If amateur space enthusiasts, conspiracy theorists, alien devotees, or anybody with a wild imagination and a blog is to be believed, they’re signs of life and/or bizarre, unexplainable phenomena.
It’s fun to speculate about the weird things that the Mars rovers’ cameras have managed to capture and send back to Earth, but often there is a perfectly good, scientific explanation for it all.
CNET explored 55 of those images, some of which we’ve featured below.
Do not eat these if you find yourself living on Mars in the future, even though they are known by the cute nickname “blueberries”.
NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover spotted the small, hematite-rich spherules in 2004 near the Fram Crater:
A suspended spoon?
Fredk, a sharp-eyed contributor to the Unmanned Spaceflight forums, noticed a funny shape in a raw image taken by Curiosity during Mars sol 1089, which translates to August 30 for us.
It looks like a long-handled spoon, delicately stretching out over the landscape, hovering above its own shadow.
Really it is just a coincidentally similar fragile formation that has managed to stay up because the pull gravity on the planet allows it.
A tadpole, or sperm?
Some are calling this formation captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter a tadpole, but if we are honest, it looks more like sperm.
In reality, it’s nothing of the sort.
It is just a circular crater with a tail carved out by water movement:
“We can infer that water is flowing outward because we have the necessary terrain-height information,” the space agency said in February 2018. While the planet had a long-distant watery past, it doesn’t currently host any amphibian life as far as we know.
A female statue?
In 2007, NASA’s Spirit rover delivered this image of craggy little rocks across the surface of Mars.
One dramatically shaded formation stood out:
Popular UFO blog UFO Sightings Daily ran with speculation that the rock formation is a female figure likely made by aliens.
The Planetary Society was quick to call the object an optical illusion and another excellent example of pareidolia, the tendency for our minds to assign familiar patterns to random shapes or sounds.
Slug on Mars?
According to the dramatic title of this image taken in 2018 by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, “The Case of the Martian Boulder Piles”, we should focus our attention past the dark slug-like sand dunes and instead contemplate the open spaces:
NASA scientists suggest the neat [boulder] piles could have been caused by a “frost heave” process with freeze-and-thaw cycles pushing the rocks into tidy shapes. A similar process has been observed here on Earth.
An ancient god’s face?
There is an uncanny resemblance between the Neo-Assyrian attendant god statue from the British Museum (on the right) and the image of a rock captured by the Mars Opportunity rover (on the left).
Well, that’s at least according to some UFO fans, who brought attention to the face-like rock found on the Red Planet.
But as we are learning with all these rock formations that resemble Earth things:
…it’s really a combination of human imagination and fortuitous light rather than a sign of an alien civilisation with a penchant for carving sculptures.
Squiggles or scratches?
Captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2017, these squiggly lines could be anything.
Claw marks? Eyelashes to a giant alien eye?
Well, not really – the space agency says the linear gullies are likely just caused by dry ice sliding down sandy dune slopes.
Mars south pole ‘angel’ and ‘heart’:
Looking at this European Space Agency Mars Express view of the south pole of the Red Planet, an angel and a heart together become apparent.
Spiritualists and angel card readers might be enthralled by the sign, but it is really just geology and science doing its thing:
It’s simply a bit of geology on display from the icy polar region where an impact crater forms the “head” and halo, and a sublimation pit (a spot where the ice turned to vapour) formed the “hand” on the left.
For the other fascinating images from Mars, head here.
Enjoy seeing faces where there are no faces.
[imagesource: YouTube / The Daily Show with Trevor Noah] The Emmy Awards have come and ...
[imagesource: AlienFood] Ever noticed that certain energy drinks taste like that pink F...
[imagesource: AP] It has now been confirmed that the body found in the Bridger-Teton Na...
[imagesource: Nicolas Rolland and Martin Pugh] Is the universe watching us or are we wa...
[imagesource: Reuters] Despite the grave danger of the situation in the Canary Islands,...