In an attempt to make sense of what we perceive, humans always strive to find the familiar in the unfamiliar. The Martian landscape has been particularly subject to this train of thought lately. Some of the more eagle-eyed and imaginative among us have seen rats, a woman and, most recently, a floating spoon in images of Mars. Well, here is another one to join the Red Planet pareidolia files: a statue of a Buddha.
The image taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover in 2014 was picked up by the YouTube channel Paranormal Crucible. In the video, they explain that the photo – “with colorization and a little artistic license” – shows the relic.
Alternatively, the vision in the rock could be explained by pareidolia, a phenomenon where humans spot significance in a vague stimulus, possibly developed as an evolutionary advantage to spot predators before they saw us.
Mars is also subject to some pretty intense dust storms and dust devil whirlwinds that could help explain the exotic and bizarre rock formation.
You can view the full raw image here on NASA’s website.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS