Home >'Giant crab' photographed by Mars rover - Unexplained Mysteries
A NASA image of Mars being passed around on social media over the weekend has imaginations running wild. The photo shows a stone formation in front of what may be a kind of cave. Some say it looks a bit like a crab monster straight out of a science fiction tale.
From ancient pyramids to military bunkers, there's not much conspiracy theorists haven't seen on Mars. Now, in their latest bizarre sighting, alien hunters say they have spotted a mysterious 'facehugger crab' on the red planet. Since the image was uploaded on Facebook, a number of people have said it looks like the facehugger monster shown in the 1979 film, Alien.
It is a form of apophenia, which is when people see patterns or connections in random, unconnected data. Human eyes can spot faces within their environment and it helps them recognise friends in a crowd, work out how fast a car is travelling, and see patterns. Scientists claim we also tend to use this ability to 'enrich our imagination' and recognise meaningful shapes, even when they're not there. 'Those that send [images] to me are generally quite excited, as they claim that these frequently resemble something you wouldn't expect to find on the rusty, dusty surface of the red planet,' said Shostak.
'It's usually some sort of animal, but occasionally even weirder objects such as automobile parts. Maybe they think there are cars on Mars.'
He added: 'Recognising a crab in a landscape filled with wind-weathered rocks is no more surprising - nor more significant - than seeing a winking face in a semi-colon followed by a parenthesis. ;)'
There may be no evidence for life on Mars -- yet -- but you can do more than scan images to help the hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence. UC Berkeley's SETI@Home allows you to put your computer's spare processing power to work analyzing narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space.
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