Saturday, January 18, 2014

Martian mystery...

Martian mystery...  Well, intriguing at the very least.  The two photos at right show the same spot on Mars, just in front of the Opportunity rover.  The left photo was taken 12 Martian days (called “sols”) earlier than the right photo.  Right in the middle, you can see a rock on the right photo that wasn't there 12 sols earlier.

NASA will send Opportunity over to examine the rock.  It's interesting no matter how it got there, because it's upside-down now, showing a fresh face that will allow some new science investigations.  The leading candidate explanation is that the rock (which is about the size of your fist) was “tiddly-winked” to it's new location by Opportunity's movements.  Another candidate explanation – more exciting, to be sure – is that a meteorite struck the surface of Mars and threw up some debris, one piece of which just happened to land smack in front of Opportunity.

As I read the article linked above, I was thinking to myself “Ah, the loony UFO wackos must be having a field day with this!”  A quick Google search proved me right.  One enterprising loony (Scott Waring, writing at UFO Sightings Daily) enlarged the rock to get the photo at left.  Then he wrote:
I enlarged the object and it seems to be an odd shaped creature of some sort. In the enlargement you can also see that its sort of a square shape, but its center is pushed downward. It would be cool if this was some kind of crab-like creature.
I don't know what sort of creatures Scott runs around with, but where I come from, crabs didn't look much like that at all :)


  1. It looks like an ice chunk that fell off the rover.

  2. That would be darned exciting if it was (water) ice!