SCIENCE

Mars 'Pyramid' Seen By NASA Rover Isn't Quite What It Seems

06/26/2015 09:25 am ET | Updated Jun 26, 2015

NASA's Curiosity rover has photographed a pyramid on Mars--at least that's what some paranormal enthusiasts seem to think.

A new YouTube video from Paranormal Crucible maintains that a photo snapped by the rover's Mastcam camera on May 7, 2015 shows a pyramid of "near perfect design and shape" and that the object is likely "the result of intelligent design and certainly not a trick of light and shadow."

Not surprisingly, NASA's explanation for the object in the photo is somewhat simpler.

(Story continues below photo.)
mars pyramid arrow
Photo snapped by NASA's Curiosity rover on May 7, 2015 purports to show a car-sized pyramid on Mars. Curiosity was launched into space on Nov. 26, 2011 and landed on Mars on Aug. 6, 2012.

"It is a rock," Dr. Jim Bell, deputy principal investigator of the Mastcam investigation program and a professor of astronomy at Arizona State University in Tempe, told The Huffington Post in an email. "It is probably a volcanic rock (like most rocks that we've seen with rovers on Mars), and just like many volcanic rocks on the Earth, many volcanic rocks on Mars break and cleave in very sharp, angular ways. This one happens to have cleaved into a pyramidal shape, which is actually not too uncommon among hard, dense volcanic rocks on the Earth either."

As for the size of the rock, Bell said an analysis by the Mastcam team suggests that it's only about four inches tall, or the height of an 8-ounce soda can.

Bell, who termed the photo "fun to look at...but not particularly Earth-shattering," seems to have been trying hard not to offend anyone who believed the pyramid story.

That wasn't the case with other skeptics, as evidenced by this tweet:

Ouch. And this isn't the first time claims about strange objects on Mars have been shot down. In recent months people have spotted everything from a skull and a thighbone to an iguana.

As for little green men, no sightings reported--yet.

Also on HuffPost:

Curiosity: Mars Science Laboratory's Rover
Suggest a correction
367 Comments

CONVERSATIONS