This might not look like the best place to live on Mars, but at least it resembles a dwelling of some kind.
The Mars Opportunity rover has taken a picture that seems to reveal a dome-like structure, overlooking a vast terrain of rocks and dirt on the mysterious red planet.
Opportunity's panoramic camera, Pancam, captured the intriguing image on July 10, 2015. Keen-eyed ET hunters continually pour through thousands of pictures taken by traveling Martian rovers, and over the past few years, many have claimed such images show a variety of non-natural objects on Mars' surface. (See accompanying slideshows at the bottom of this story.)
Of course, NASA and mainstream astronomers aren't the least bit convinced that any of these images are what they might look like, nor can they be considered proof of an ancient, once-thriving civilization.
Official explanations have run the gamut from odd-shaped rocks to unusual-looking ground formations due to natural erosion processes or tricks of light and shadows.
Basically, "Nothing to see here -- move along."
Adding to the mystery is another "structure" -- looking like a smaller dome, sitting on the hill to the right of the larger one.
Here's the original NASA/JPL raw image of the environment in front of the hill where the dome(s) can be seen.
If we really want to crank up the speculation after-burner, let's look at two objects in the foreground of the official NASA dome image -- objects that might appear to some as, well, heads.
Nobody else seems to have noticed and reported this, so we'll go out on a Martian limb and be the first. Do you think these look like humanoid heads? This is how rumors get started -- unless, of course, it's not just a rumor.
Finally, not to be outdone by the Opportunity rover, one of its mechanical counterparts, Curiosity, has snapped a picture that might lead some to believe Mars has a rodent infestation problem. A BIG one.
On Jan. 11, 2014, Curiosity was near Gale Crater on Mars, snapping pictures of the following scene:
A closer look at the large, dark object inside the red circle reveals the following rodent-like item:
According to The New York Post, amateur astronomer Joe White says the image does look like "a possible gigantic mouse or other rodent on Mars ... sitting on a ridge, plain as day." But on his YouTube ArtAlienTV channel, he adds that the mouse is "probably an optical illusion but seems to have big ears, nose and eyes visible. Estimated size: two to three feet."
Anybody interested in a one-way ticket to the red planet?