A Mars rover has captured a picture of a “turtle-like fossil” that “proves” that intelligent life at one time existed on the red planet. At least, that’s the conclusion being drawn by a UFO enthusiast, a man who pores over every pixel of every frame of NASA images looking for signs of alien life.
As the Express reports, UFO blogger and conspiracy theorist Scott C. Waring spends his days scouring images from space, looking for evidence of aliens that has been hidden — or otherwise overlooked — by the official space-exploration community. And his latest finding is a photo of a rock, taken by one of the few still-functioning Mars probes up there, that he says, via his blog UFO Sightings Daily, is a fossilized turtle shell.
“I found a turtle-like fossil of of [sic] a creature in a Mars surface photo today. The object shows lots of signs of once being an animal. The shell has a back bone area from front to back. It also has ribbed sides that are slightly raised as turtles have. One end looks like its where the head came out because its raised up allowing an open area. The opposite side has a tail like sharp area…which is part of the shell.”
And in fact, if you look at the picture, you can see that the rock does indeed resemble a turtle shell, especially when Waring adds color and contrast to it.
Elsewhere in that same blog post, Waring claims to have found photos of pipes, a fallen statue, and even a face.
If you’d like to see the Martian terrain which Waring thinks are turtles, pipes, statues, and faces — you can check out the original, unaltered NASA photograph on Gigapan. Be warned, however, that all you’re likely to see is a barren landscape of rocks. To see what Waring saw, one will need to zoom in and scrutinize the image in fine detail.
So has Waring found proof that intelligent life once existed on Mars? Hardly. For starters, the consensus in the space-exploration community is that if there is — or ever was — life on Mars, it never made it past the single-celled microbial phase of evolution. Reptiles — or indeed a society advanced enough to make pipes, statues, or humanoid carvings — never made it.
Another problem is that Waring might very well have fallen victim to the psychological mechanism known as pareidolia. In essence, the human brain has evolved to assign patterns and meaning to random stimuli, per Live Science. It’s the same mechanism that causes some people to see the face of the Virgin Mary in a tortilla shell, for example.
In other words, a rock formation that vaguely resembles a turtle’s shell — or which produces shadows that sort-of resemble a human face when the Sun hits it just so — is still just that: a rock formation. But one’s brain may want that stimuli to mean something, so it could assign to it a more familiar concept.