Something fishy seems to be happening on Mars. NASA’s Perseverance rover recently spotted a shark-fin-like outcrop and an accompanying rock that looks like a crab’s claw on the Red Planet.
Since arriving on Mars on February 18, 2021, the rolling robot has been exploring Jezero Crater on Mars while searching for signs of ancient life. But these strange rocks, captured on August 18, 2023, came as a surprise.
Although the now barren and barren land of Mars was awash with water billions of years ago, there is no evidence that the planet was ever abundant in any kind of seafood, and these photos certainly don’t change that. Instead, what the rocks in the image are referring to is the phenomenon of pareidolia.
Pareidolia refers to the brain’s tendency to perceive a meaningful image from random visual data. This is why we often see dogs or clowns in the clouds, and it has been responsible for the humans preying on a wide variety of famous characters in food items. And Mars is no stranger to succumbing to paridolia.
In fact, one of the most famous examples of pareidolia in history is the famous “face on Mars”.
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What was the face on Mars?
In July 1976, NASA’s Viking 1 spacecraft was exploring Mars from orbit, taking pictures of the Martian landscape that would later be used to select a landing site for the Viking 2 lander. Then something unusual was detected in the screens of its operators here on Earth.
The spacecraft appears to capture a huge sculpture of a crudely drawn face full of eyes, nose, and mouth. The image was shown to the public a few days after it was taken, and although it was clear to NASA that the appearance of the face was an illusion caused by shadows, it caused quite a stir. Many have claimed that this was the work of sentient beings.
The “face on Mars” debate raged (at least in some quarters) during the 1980s, with books published on the topic and even science conferences held to discuss it.
Much of the excitement surrounding this photo was settled back in the late ’90s. In September 1997, NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) arrived at the Red Planet, and one of its primary missions was to re-examine this rocky outcrop.
“We felt this was important to the taxpayer,” Jim Garvin, chief scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, said in a statement. “We photographed the face as soon as we could get a good shot of it.”
In April 1998, MGS finally flew over the Cydonia region of Mars, where the supposed face on Mars is located, and captured images 10 times sharper than those taken by Viking 1 18 years earlier. These images have revealed that the formation is more natural in nature. , with evidence of fading facial features. However, some insisted that the facial features of this supposed alien monument were obscured by mist during MGS’s flyby overhead.
However, these objections took a hit in April 2001 when the same spacecraft imaged the bump on a clear day in Cydonia. This revealed that the face on Mars is a hill, or mesa, a common geological feature in the western United States.
“It reminds me of most of the central Buttee region of the Snake River Plain in Idaho,” Garvin said. “It’s a lava dome that takes the shape of an isolated mesa about the same height as the face on Mars.”
However, the revelation that this Martian face sculpture was nothing more than a common geological structure did not dampen our passion for space simulations.
In May of this year, Perseverance’s Mars rover picked up a mysterious feature in a rocky face called East Cliffs that many have claimed is an “entrance” carved into the rock. Some even speculated that this might be one end of a passage leading to an underground bunker.
NASA poured cold water on the speculation when it revealed that this alleged entrance was just over a few inches wide and long. Geologists also spoiled the party by adding that it was likely the result of multiple simultaneous straight fractures.
But there was more to discuss, as a recent image taken by the agency’s Curiosity spacecraft appears to show an abandoned spoon floating above the surface of the Red Planet.
The cutlery imaged on August 30 was actually revealed to be a strangely shaped rock, with NASA officials writing in the description of the image: “No spoon. This strange feature of Mars is likely a vent – a rock formed by winds.”
The “Martian Spoon” is just another piece of evidence that humans really do eat all the pareidolia associated with Mars. Although these images ultimately represent random rock formations, speculating on their significance can be fascinating in itself.