Curiosity Mars rover has provided numerous intriguing insights into the mysteries of the Red Planet since it landed on the Martian surface two years ago. It has also supplied armchair astronomers with plenty of fringe theories about the planet that unfortunately seem to catch more attention on the internet than the actual research being done on Mars.
Last month, amateur observers were quick to conclude photo-error unusualities on images taken by the rover as evidence for alien existence. One recent report from the Inquisitr gave details on how “experts” on social media, like YouTuber “Martian Archelogist” [sic], interpreted tricky lighting on rocks as actual elongated skulls left behind by otherworldly civilizations. These and other similar claims have either been disregarded or debunked by real researchers.
A more recent Mars “alien evidence” story has been circulating on social media for the past few days, detailing how Curiosity Mars rover allegedly discovered fish bones on the surface of the planet — particularly near the Windjana drilling target, where the rover has just recently completed drilling a hole. Allegedly dubbed as NASA’s “greatest discovery”, the fossils were reportedly found intact and resembling what humans might identify as the endoskeleton of a fish.
A site called MSNBC.website, which allegedly broke the story online, quoted statements reportedly released by NASA’s chief scientist Dr. Elle Stafon.
“This is extraordinary news for the scientific community. We’ve found minute evidence of prior life before but nothing as concrete as this.”
Fact-checking website Snopes was one of the first publications to debunk the alleged Curiosity Mars rover find, officially categorizing the spurious claim as “false.” The website noted that MSNBC.website purveyed sensationalized, if not bogus, headlines, and has apparently named their website similarly to the popular media outlet to deliberately trick people into clicking on their links.
Although there is an actual Dr. Stafon working at NASA, the statements she allegedly issued regarding the rover fish bone discovery were fabricated. The image of the fossil discovery provided by the article has also been proven to be a doctored version of an actual NASA image of the Windjana area on Mars, the site of the Curiosity rover’s recently concluded drilling activities.
Since arriving on Mars in 2012, the Curiosity rover has actually made real discoveries about our nearest neighbor. Last year, the rover discovered the existence of an ancient, knee-deep streambed which used to flow on the Martian surface for thousands of years at a time. This inspired strong suspicions among scientists of ancient microbial life that may have existed on Mars hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Last June, the Curiosity Mars rover has officially spent a whole Martian year on its mission, having completed 687 Earth days of travel and discovery on the red planet.
[Image from Snopes]