A photograph of Mars captured by the Curiosity rover last week and released by NASA appears to show a doorway carved into the rock, sparking conspiracy theories that point to it as evidence of alien life on the red planet.
NASA said the image which clearly shows a rectangular gap in the rockface was taken on May 7 at a geological feature known as Greenheugh Pediment, by the Mast Camera onboard Curiosity.
As expected, the internet is having a field day with conspiracy theories about the mysterious doorway.
UFO news debunker UFO of Interest said: “Watching it in context as part of the whole mosaic, we can see that little niche in a rock with other blocks, fractures, shapes and other erosive features all over that rock face.”
About this raw image (https://t.co/hZxiepGQXx), what's that? An entrance to a secret underground tunnel? Watching it in context as part of the whole mosaic, we can see that little niche in a rock w/ other blocks, fractures, shapes & other erosive features all over that rock face. pic.twitter.com/ou4Ze941HR
— ufoofinterest.org (@ufoofinterest) May 11, 2022
Conspiracy theories about Mars’ doorway debunked
While something depicted in the grainy, black-and-white version of the photograph taken by a camera aboard the rover could be interpreted to resemble the shape of a door, the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) told Snopes that it actually was a “very, very, very zoomed in shot of a tiny crevice in a rock.”
“The team’s scientists underlined just how small [the crevice] is: roughly 30 centimeters wide and 45 centimeters across (11 by 17 inches),” a JPL spokesperson said via email.
“They said there are linear fractures throughout this outcrop, and this is a location where several linear fractures happen to intersect,” the spokesperson added.
The simple explanation for the “door” on Mars is actually contained within the photograph itself if you look more closely, scientists have said.
It shows evidence that the feature was formed through “normal geological processes,” Professor Sanjeev Gupta at Imperial College London explained to The Daily Telegraph.
A deep crack or fissure is visible inside the “door,” indicating a fracture in the rock— something that happens on both Mars and Earth and could have taken place any time in the past few hundred million years.
“The crack is a fracture and they are abundant on Mars and Earth—no need for marsquakes to produce them,” said Professor Gupta, who has worked on the Curiosity mission with NASA.
“There is nothing at all strange in the image—these are just normal geological processes,” Gupta emphasized.
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