Since 1877 when Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli theorized there were canals on the Red Planet constructed by intelligent beings through 1976 when the Viking I sent pictures of the so-called “Face on Mars”, (1) some people have immediately jumped to conclusions of intelligent life (or just life in general) sculpting the surface of the Red Planet.
Jumping to these sorts of conclusions is not confined to just a few people or entities, it happens all over the world. However, it does appear that UFO-Blogger.com is one of the Internet’s worst repeat offenders. It’s most recent offense occurred just this month with the exclamation that a violin knob was found on Mars!
Giving the website the benefit of the doubt, it is not saying the the Curiosity rover discovered the artifact that belonged to some ancient Martian version of Niccolo Paganini, but rather the shape of the object is proof that it was not created by natural forces.
“Highlighted anomaly in the photograph looks like a Violin Knob to us. Anomaly has all the characteristics to define NOT just a simply rock.” (2)
Misinterpreting Mars Pictures
It goes on to display the object several more times at various magnifications. There are no other angles of the object since Curiosity just snaps pictures as it coasts along the Martian surface.
The next picture in the series is more than 20 seconds after original picture was taken. UFO-Blogger’s assertions come from the fact that that object is made up of four sphere’s on a shaft. (3) However, the Mars hover has found a number of spherical objects on the planet’s surface, which were made by natural forces.
In the same set of raw images, the Mars rover also caught a single sphere. With nothing else in the picture to do a size comparison, it looks like a stone bowling ball. However, it is nothing of the sort.
According to NASA, this is actually a tiny natural formation known as a concretion that is reminiscent of the Martian blueberries found in 2004 by the Opportunity Rover. It is likely that the so-called violin knob is related to these natural forces as explained by Discovery News. (4)
Nevertheless, this is not the first time that UFO-Blogger has jumped to such outrageous and unfounded conclusions. UFO-Blogger has a pretty long history of misinterpreting Mars pictures. Whether that is intentional is still up for debate.
However, what is not up for debate is how quickly they jump to conclusions and post them online. Back in 2010, the site exclaimed that NASA had discovered trees on Mars with the HiRISE camera (5) Yet, the HiRISE blog explained that these are images of “sand dislodged from the crests of the dunes cascades down, forming dark streaks”. (6)
Past Mars Civilizations?
In 2008, the site claimed that NASA found timber, stating, “There are vast forests on Mars, ones that are kept hidden from the public.” (7) Once again, those claims were explained away. This time by Dr. Jim Bell from Cornell University. Dr. Bell Told Universe Today:
What you’re seeing is a piece of flat, platy, layered sulfur-rich outcrop rock like we’ve seen almost everywhere the Opportunity rover has been in Meridiani Planum,” said Bell. “Sometimes, like in this case, those flat, platy rocks have been tilted or dislodged, this one probably from the forces associated with the huge impact crater that formed nearby.” (8)
It’s exciting to think that a past civilization might have lived on Mars, but the fact is that (to date) there is no such evidence to support such ideas.
NASA is making fascinating discoveries on Mars everyday.
Unfortunately, sites such as UFO-Blogger negate those discoveries by jumping to unfounded conclusions that can be easily dispelled.
References & Image Credits:
(1) TSW: How a Single Blotch on Mars Caused Such a Ruckus
(7) Leaked Picture on UFO-Blogger
(8) Universe Today