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Face, statue, noodles, Pac-Man… Everything you need to know about these unusual objects spotted on Mars –

There is nothing better than a good space mystery that fuels speculation and fantasies about extraterrestrial life or secret activities on other planets. The presence of several rovers and probes scanning the Martian surface has resulted in a vast amount of imaging. The human imagination is limitless, some of these shots have given rise to far-fetched interpretations, to put it mildly. But each of them has a rational explanation.

Face

NASA

In 1976, NASA’s Viking 1 probe approached Mars and took this iconic image. There is a rock formation resembling a face, which immediately angered commentators. It is easy to see the eyes, nose, mouth and hair. Some people have even gone so far as to claim that this is a monument built by aliens on Mars.

secret door

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Amanda Kuser Red Circle/CNET

Despite all the hype on the Internet, this image of the Curiosity rover, taken on May 7, 2022, does not show the secret gates on Mars at all. The visual illusion is due to the play of shadow and light and shapes created by the geology in this area of ​​Gale Crater.

human bones

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MCSS

In 2014, the Curiosity rover transmitted a photo showing a very strange rock that looks a bit like a human femur. The scientists rejected any illusory interpretations, explaining that this unusual shape was most likely the result of erosion by wind or water.

cannonball

NASA/JPL-Caltech/red circle added by Amanda Kooser/CNET

In December 2017, a popular blog among UFO enthusiasts published a close-up of this spherical object seen by the Curiosity rover, suggesting that it was a cannonball from an armed conflict on the planet Red. The NASA team in charge of the rover explained on Twitter that this calculus, composed of calcium, sodium and magnesium sulfate, actually measures less than 5mm.

Strange light on the horizon

NASA/JPL

In 2014, the Curiosity rover took a curious photo that shows a bright spot on the horizon of Mars. Unsurprisingly, in this image, UFO fans are speculating about the source of the outbreak, wondering if it could be evidence of extraterrestrial activity. Unfortunately for them, NASA scientist Doug Ellison put an end to the fantasy by explaining that it was probably a cosmic ray.

female statue

NASA

In 2007, the Spirit rover photographed an area of ​​small, steep rock formations. One of them, very shaded, had a humanoid shape. The UFO Sightings Daily blog then speculated that this rock formation was a female figure, likely created by aliens. Planetary society quickly dispelled these assumptions, causing pareidolia, a mental process that causes us to see familiar patterns in the landscape when exposed to visual or auditory stimuli.

Donald Trump’s head

NASA/red circle added by CNET

Another example of incredible pareidolia is in this 2009 photo of a rock taken by the Opportunity rover. It made headlines in 2016 when some noticed the resemblance to former President Donald Trump’s hair. Although a little tight…

The face of an ancient god

NASA/British Museum

On the left is an image taken by the Opportunity rover on Mars. On the right is a statue of a neo-Assyrian god from the British Museum. Notice a slight resemblance? This is the case of some alien fans who have taken possession of this unsettling looking stone. Like all terrestrial-looking Martian rocks, it is actually the result of our imagination and random lighting, and not a trace of an extraterrestrial civilization with a penchant for carving.

Pac-Man Crater

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image in early 2018. The shape and play of the shadows is reminiscent of Pac-Man’s profile. It’s actually an impact crater with a crescent-shaped sand dune inside.

Noodles on Mars?

NASA/JPL-Caltech

In July 2022, the Perseverance rover photographed an object resembling a pack of noodles. The NASA team looked into this mystery and eventually concluded that it was probably a piece of mesh from the lander that dropped Perseverance on the red planet. Winds from Mars likely dispelled this debris.

The first letter laser-etched on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/red circle added by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Three tiny dots laser-etched into this Martian rock will help scientists know the orientation of the samples when they are brought back to Earth. In June 2022, Perseverance engraved a tiny L as a test. The rover is collecting rock samples, and knowing exactly how they fit into the environment will be useful to scientists who need to study them.

CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance

Image one: NASA

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