The Mars “rat” will not be investigated by NASA. An image captured by the Curiosity rover has gained attention and sparked the curiosity of thousands of internet users. However, NASA is not willing to spend time or money investigating claims that the image includes a rat-like animal.
The image was taken in September 2012. A small object in the image appears to resemble a rat, or some other similar rodent. Conspiracy theorists have claimed that the animal was left on Mars as part of a top-secret scientific experiment. Others have questioned whether the Mars rat is actually indigenous to the uninhabitable planet.
As reported by Fox News, Joy Crisp of NASA explains that despite its appearance, the Mars rat is most likely a rock:
“Clearly, it results from, you know, a lot of things like wind erosion and mechanical abrasion and breakdown chemical weathering of the rocks, as to why they get these weird shapes.”
The Mars rat conspiracy theories are likely unfounded and misguided. However, Crisp states that the attention they draw to the project may have an added bonus. With extra attention on the images, internet users are learning more about NASA, the Curiosity rover, and the planet Mars.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, association of an object with a living creature is something that may be biologically inherent. The psychological phenomenon “pareidolia” is the tendency to find faces, or facial features in inanimate objects. This also explains sightings of the man in the moon, the “face” on Mars, and even an image of Jesus on a burned piece of toast.
This is the most likely explanation, as Mars is uninhabitable by any creatures we would commonly associate with a rat. If there were any creatures roaming around the Mars, they probably wouldn’t resemble any animals we are accustomed to seeing.
For this reason, and many others, the Mars rat will not be investigated by NASA. The questionable formation will forever remain a mystery.
[Image via Wikimedia]