Is it a space mermaid or an alien ship? Maybe just a big rock. The Internet has gone wild speculating about the mysterious figures captured by NASA’s Curiosity rover. The car-sized robotic explorer was sent into space from Cape Canaveral in November 2011, as part of the Mars Science Laboratory mission. Curiosity landed on the red planet half a year later. In over three years of coverage, the exploratory mission has fueled countless of theories developed by web bloggers, including a rat, a few lizards, and even a woman walking on the surface of the planet.
Scientists credit these mysteries, for example the martian rat discovered after zooming in on a image captured in September 2012, to “wind erosion and mechanical abrasion and breakdown chemical weathering of the rocks, as to why they get these weird shapes,”. This according to deputy project scientist Joy Crisp, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. In addition, the perception of these objects can be explained by a weird phenomenon in the human eye that happens when our brain connects abstract images to familiar objects. Tied to our persistent obsession of trying finding extraterrestrial life, of course.
Another image that sparked controversy in the month of August of 2015 was the silhouette of a lonesome woman walking on the deserted land. NASA scientists later dismissed the idea of an alien lady wandering around, since several other shots of the same location, taken months before, still showed the same woman-like figure.
Looks as though folks over at NASA have an explanation for everything; including a persistent ray of light that went on for weeks in April, earlier this year, which they credited to “cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting from rock surfaces,”. Meanwhile, regardless if we believe these explanations or not, conspiracy theorists around the globe will continue to debate on this issue and also to fantasize about the possibility of life on the neighbor planet.