Sorry, NASA hasn’t discovered a secret entrance on Mars

This story is part of Welcome to Marsour series exploring the red planet.

you know what i would love Clear evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. Give me tentacle monster. Give me a civilization of aliens living in underground bunkers. Make my sci-fi fantasies come true. A recent NASA Curiosity Rover image of a strange rock formation on the Red Planet has prompted some fun speculation, but it’s no evidence of extraterrestrial activity. Drat.

Goofy Mars Rocks are the spice of life for me and this one is a delight. I stumbled upon this Tuesday in a since-removed Reddit discussion asking what might have caused a door-like cutout on the side of a Martian mound. The view is from a series of raw images captured by Curiosity’s pole-mounted camera on May 7.

A mosaic view of Mars by Curiosity puts the “door” in context.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Red Circle by Amanda Kooser/CNET

UFO debunker UFO of Interest has tackled the image of what appears to be “an entrance to a secret underground tunnel” by taking a broader look at the landscape. “If we put it in context as part of the whole mosaic, we can see this little niche in a rock with other blocks, fractures, shapes and other erosive features all over this rock face.” UFO of Interest tweeted on Wednesday.

Mars images can be tricky. A funky eroded Rock can look like a fish. A backlit cliff can look like this profile of a face. Cropped photos and enlarged views can make tiny features appear large. The “entrance” could be completely unobtrusive if the shadows happened to fall at a different angle.

This is not to detract from the excitement of discovering oddly shaped rocks and land features on Mars. We should definitely revel butt cracks and zen gardens and whimsical arches. But perhaps the most magical thing is that we have a robot on wheels bobbing around in Gale Crater, beaming back photos from another world. Sorry, NASA hasn’t discovered a secret entrance on Mars

Chris Barrese

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