Eagle-eyed Mars watchers trawling through images of the Martian surface have unearthed a picture that’ll no doubt spark the imagination of those curious about extraterrestrial life on our planetary neighbor.
This image was taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on May 7, 2022. It appears to show a slit into the rocky hillside, which bears a strong resemblance to a purposely constructed entrance. OK, fine, it looks like an entrance to a pyramid.
It was shared by Annie Jacobsen, an investigative journalist whose work (among other things) has looked into the unexplained goings-on at Area 51. “This image taken 5.7.22 by NASA on Mars + news of House hearings on UFOs are sure to spawn a few new theories,” she tweeted. Yes, the first public Congressional hearing on UFOs in 50 years is happening next week, and you can watch it live.
Others have pored over the image and concluded the geological feature is a doorway to an underground temple. Some have even suggested a figure and its shadow can be seen hiding in the entrance.
However, as you’ve hopefully guessed, this interesting picture is very unlikely to be hard proof of an extraterrestrial civilization living it up on the Red Planet. Many have pointed out that plenty of images of Mars have shown similar geological features that are clearly not the doorway to a grand Martian temple. It's also extremely tough to discern the scale of this feature.
You may remember the case of the “mysterious Moon hut” that got everyone excited late last year. China’s Yutu-2 rover captured an image of a cube-like structure on the horizon while exploring the lunar surface in December 2021. Some suggested the object may be an alien structure, perhaps even a grand monolith. However, after the rover approached the sight, it was revealed that was, in fact, a rather unremarkable rock.
Plenty of strange sightings have been spotted in images of the rocky Martian surface in recent years, from rats, and a woman, to a floating spoon. These visions are often explained by pareidolia, a phenomenon where humans spot recognizable structures or patterns — often faces — in meaningless stimuli. For instance, if you stare at clouds for long enough, chances are you’ll eventually see one that looks distinctly like something else.
It's thought the ability evolved in early humans to help them spot predators and potential threats before they saw us, just like in mammals. That ancient ability still resides within us, but without the day-to-day threat of saber-tooth tigers lurking around the corner.