back to article Curiosity photographs mysterious metal object on Martian rock

Image analysis of shots taken by the Curiosity rover's MastCam last month appears to have revealed a shiny metal object sticking out of a rock on the Martian surface. Italian imaging specialist Elisabetta Bonora was going over Curiosity's latest photographs and found the object in a set of pictures taken by the rover on …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We should ignore it

    mainly because doing so will drive the usual conspiracy theorists insane, thereby providing much entertainment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: We should ignore it ---- Why?

      OK all reality to the wind here....

      To me it looks like a door handle to an underground vault.

      OK I am very interested see what it actually is, but "Far Out" - wouldn't you trip if it was.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        It begins

        To me it looks like a door handle to an underground vault.

        The whole audience: Just don't pull that door handle, Curiosity!!

      2. Fr. Ted Crilly
        Alien

        Re: We should ignore it ---- Why?

        Looks like an eroded 'spirit of ecstasy' from a Rolls Royce, did Elvis have a Rolls? Come to think of it Lord Lucan did..... aaaaahhh

      3. tuxtester
        Meh

        Re: We should ignore it ---- Why?

        If it's a door handle, then there should be some other pieces of evidence to back that theory up:

        - a door bell

        - knockers (ooer)

        - a letter box

        - a door mat

        - a hanging plant

        - discarded milk bottles

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: We should ignore it ---- Why?

          Door handle? Also looks like the flushing handle in our toilet. If Curiosity pulls it, it might find the resulting evidence of water overwhelming

          1. wowfood

            Don't go into that TRAP DOOR!

            Because there's something down there.

            1. jai

              Re: Don't go into that TRAP DOOR!

              thank you sir! i'm going to be humming the theme to that show now all day

              (which is not a bad thing, so again, thanks!)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Don't go into that TRAP DOOR!

                And you got downvoted?

                Willy Rushton's spinning in his coffin!!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Angel

        Re: We should ignore it ---- Why?

        Unless it's a manufactured object - or even a crystalised former life form, the shape of the base on / into the rock is circular and it's radiused from the base, up into the shaft, and then there is the handle (like) bar on top....

        On a big brown shit hole, with rocks, dust and sand... it's very "non typical" in every respect - like shape, colour, design etc....

        While it COULD be some kind of crystal, or fossilised sea anenome, or kelp root, which may be totally feasable, it also happens to look much like an older style safe door handle.

      5. Uncle Siggy

        Re: We should ignore it ---- Why?

        I for one welcome our door handle wielding Martian overlords.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We should ignore it

      just have a look on Google Maps for AREA 51 and you'll find it if you look long enough ;-)

    3. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: We should ignore it

      yeah, Desmond's probably under there and you know he has no time for visitors (he has to keep reseting that timer)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We should ignore it

      Already has. Surprised Reg took so long to dig it up. Been on some nut sites for a week.

      Many strange things found, almost nothing is ever explained. I understand NASA can't run off every time something strange pops up, but hopefully this will make it on a list of things to check out. the rover cant be far away, it doesn't move fast.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We should ignore it

      On the original image

      https://images.4chan.org/sci/src/1360593572190.jpg

      there is an alien hiding behind a rock looking at the big mechanical war machine sent from planet 3 ...

      I expect he will go into his control room and aim a big beam weapon at us.

  2. James 47

    It's a bit of Beagle 2

    1. Pet Peeve
      Black Helicopters

      Somewhere in cuckoo land, Richard Hoagland just wet himself.

      I like the idea of it being a piece of a crashed probe (there's not exactly a shortage of them), with the rest of the wreckage just out of view over the apparent drop behind it. Rocks are fun, but let's do a little artifact hunting too!

    2. I think so I am?
      Joke

      Piss myself

      If it had made in China on it

      1. Anonymous Coward 101

        Re: Piss myself

        It's part of an old frying pan from a Chinese restaurant nearby. Is there anywhere in the galaxy that doesn't have one?

  3. Chris 171
    Pint

    Arm the laser!

    Interesting certainly, and an uneasy feeling, looks skeletal.

    Tho that could be the beer and my incomprehensible desire for ribs.

    it is still Friday right?

    1. stucs201

      Re: Arm the laser!

      There is nothing incomprehensible about a desire for ribs (preferably with BBQ sauce)

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: preferably with BBQ sauce

        Or baby oil...

  4. Anomalous Cowturd
    Mushroom

    Looks like a baby dinosaur to me...

    One of those cute little ones.

    No wait, there's hundreds of them... Aaarrggghhh...

    It's the only way to be sure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looks like a baby dinosaur to me...

      Yes, some sort of cross between a small lizard and a hammerhead shark.

      1. SweDe

        Re: Looks like a baby dinosaur to me...

        Nope... It's the Martian version of the GEICO gecko :)

  5. Dennis Wilson
    Facepalm

    Health And Safety Issue

    In 300 years some stupid git is going to end up breaking his toe on that.

    1. Proud Father
      Happy

      Re: Health And Safety Issue

      OMG you owe me a new keyboard!

    2. Pet Peeve
      Pint

      Re: Health And Safety Issue

      It's the simple jokes like that that'll catch you unawares and make you spit out your drink. Bravo.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like a knapped piece of flint or obsidian to me.

    1. Psyx
      Boffin

      Looks like a twisted bit of metal to me, as though it was a vein in a rock and the surrounding rock has been eroded by dust, which has kept the finish on the metal looking bright and nickel-like.

      Which is kinda cool when you think how long the thing must have been sat there for that to happen.

      And I for one welcome our bent metal overlords....

  7. stucs201

    Hopefully they go back for a proper look.

    Not much of a backtrack, go and dig it up.

  8. MrT

    It's a tap...

    ...couple of quick twists and it'll unlock a rich Martian atmosphere from behind what is clearly a door that, over time has become covered by rock.

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      Go

      Re: It's a tap...

      Yes, I thought it looked suspiciously like a brass garden tap too. Probably why there is no water on Mars any more - the sprinkler was left off.

    2. Free Maps?

      Re: It's a tap...

      Yes - darn it, I thought I had spotted it first!

      1. breakfast
        Happy

        Re: It's a tap...

        Actually Admiral Ackbar spotted it first.

  9. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Alien

    Wait for...

    a martian emailing NASA, "thanks for finding my keys"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    New "element"?

    Doesn't this look like something that should be found in abundance, but apparently it is not. To me something like this would almost always be found in a scatter plot type of pattern, but just 1? It looks all too settled in to be any debris from anything we have passed up in space in the last 100 years, but it does look like it is just a shard. No aliens :-(

    Out of curiosity, what is the protocol for giving a go ahead on using the bot's laser? If it fired upon something like this, how do you rule out an explosive ending?

    1. DJO Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: New "element"?

      how do you rule out an explosive ending

      With no free Oxygen*, quite easily.

      *Or any suitable reagent.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: New "element"?

      "Out of curiosity, what is the protocol for giving a go ahead on using the bot's laser?"

      ...

      "Out of curiosity"

      I see what you did there.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Periscope.

    Anyone can see it's a Martian periscope. They're watching us from underground. They've probably already perfected the craft of motoring their submarines through solid rock, like we do through water.

    1. robin48gx
      Mushroom

      Re: Periscope.

      http://www.marspapers.org/papers/Mole_1999.pdf

      This scientific paper shows us how to deal with it.

    2. Minophis
      Thumb Up

      Re: Periscope.

      'motoring their submarines through solid rock'

      So in Jamie and the Magic Torch Mr Boo was actually an ancient martian submarine commander.

  12. zemerick
    Go

    Original Image

    Here is the original image showing the object:

    http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/00173/mcam/0173MR0926020000E1_DXXX.jpg

    1. jonfr
      WTF?

      Re: Original Image

      Thanks for the image. I have no idea what this is. But it doesn't look natural in formation. Based on nearby rocks in this area.

      Maybe this is alien made. But the sample would be needed go to Earth for confirmation on such matter. Guessing is useless I think in this case.

      1. Psyx
        Pint

        Re: Original Image

        "I have no idea what this is.... it doesn't look natural in formation.... Maybe this is alien made....But the sample would be needed go to Earth for confirmation on such matter."

        Well, if someone with no qualifications in xeno-geology thinks it's worth launching another multi-billion dollar mission to bring it back because they think it might be made by aliens, that's good enough for me, and should be good enough for NASA, too.

        "Guessing is useless I think in this case."

        Yeah, where's a multi-ton robot tank, dripping with analysis tools, lasers and cameras when you need one, huh? That'd be dead handy right now!

    2. jubtastic1
      Boffin

      Re: Original Image

      I have a geology A level, it's been a few years but I'm pretty sure that's a rock wang.

    3. Pet Peeve
      Facepalm

      Re: Original Image

      Nice! Immediatly yoinked to my hard drive as the desktop background for my second monitor.

      I guess I was wrong about there being a drop behind it, so it's probably not a large piece of wreckage from a probe. On the other hand, that object to its right is pretty darn weird too. I'm sure it's pareidolia, but it looks like a metal rabbit to me.

    4. Kingston Black
      Alien

      Re: Original Image

      Zoom in and you'll see it's nothing more exciting than a pair of sunglasses...

    5. harmjschoonhoven
      Meh

      Re: Original Image

      http://curiosityrover.com/imgpoint.php?name=0173MR0926020000E1_DXXX shows that the image covers the path taken by Curiosity.

      The object seems to be something the rover 'lost', deliberately or otherwise.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Original Image

        "the image covers the path taken by Curiosity."

        The old track was some 65 meters away from the rover's position when the photo was taken.

        The camera elevation was -8.85deg, so unless the mast is 10m tall the spot covered by the photo is much closer to the rover than the old track (something between 10 and 20m away, depending on how high the mast is).

        Does anyone know if NASA has released a better resolution picture of the same spot from the left camera as well?

        The one I've found so far is 500something by 400something. I've made a stereopair anyway and it clearly shows something sticking out of the rock, but because of the poor resolution you can't see what it is.

    6. Amorous Cowherder
      Alien

      Re: Original Image

      Deep Southern drawl...."Dat dere is one of then fangled ali-en ass probes what dun fell out out ma crack last time they dun took me up in the shiny suacer from ma truck on a that dark, lonely road back in '74!"

  13. Richard French

    It's K9

    Got a bit buried in the dust over the years, but ......

  14. GBL Initialiser

    Obvious when you think about it

    It was what the Magratheans used to attach their tow rope to.

    1. Euripides Pants Silver badge

      Those damn Vogons!

      Littering again!

  15. Grave

    it's a

    zerg

  16. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Psyx
      Joke

      Re: Chavs on Mars

      "Eadon can reveal that the metallic looking object is an unwanted Win Phone 8. They are some on Mars, obviously because none have been bought on Earth..."

      *sketches artefact outline and hurriedly sends it to the Patent Office*

      Oh, snap! Whaddaya MEAN Apple already patented it!!???

  17. Steve May 1
    Devil

    T1000

    It is of course a Terminator finger. This explains what happened to all the natives.Further investigation will reveal a shiny skull with one glowing red eye.

  18. amanfromearth

    The Sword in the Stone

    "Who so Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King Born of all Mars" - Dejah Thoris 2617

  19. jake Silver badge

    I was wondering where that went ...

    That's the gas-pump price/volume reset key I lost in 1974, when working at Trepasso Texaco on the North West corner of Middlefield & San Antonio in Palo Alto.

    (Petrol pump, to you Brits.)

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: I was wondering where that went ...

      Sadly people in the UK have taken to calling them gas stations now..oh the horror!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I was wondering where that went ...

        Not round here they haven't...

        Thankfully.

    2. Bela Lubkin
      Meh

      Re: I was wondering where that went ...

      Now a Valero (with an Arco [BP] across the street in the southwest corner)...

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        @Bela Lubkin (was:Re: I was wondering where that went ... )

        The ARCO was "Larry's ARCO" back then, and still part of Atlantic Richfield, not a franchise. I can't remember Larry's last name, but I played a lot of Pinball at that station. In fact, I own the very Bally "Captain Fantastic" machine that I used to waste quarters on as a teenager ...

        Have a homebrew, Compadre :-)

  20. Marco van Beek
    Alien

    It's life, Jim

    But not as we know it... How much would we all freak out if it wasn't there the next time they looked?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: It's life, Jim

      Or, alternatively, it would stick out a bit more?

      :)

  21. Chris Hawkins
    Linux

    Part of a ""Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator" ?????''

    Wait for the "Ka-Boooom"!

    1. Stuart Elliott

      Upvote for Marvin

      Glad to see I wasn't wrong in my guess, when I went to look.. \o/

    2. GBE

      Marvin

      > Part of a ""Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator" ?????''

      >

      > Wait for the "Ka-Boooom"!

      Where's the ka-boom?

      There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering ka-boom!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    We'd better send another sattelite...

    So it can photograph the area in high-res from above just before it nukes it from orbit. After all; we all know it's the only way to be sure.

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: We'd better send another sattelite...

      Surely we have to send some space marines to investigate first?

      1. My Alter Ego

        Re: We'd better send another sattelite...

        Not unless you want to be sued by Games Workshop.

  23. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Being the proud owner of a piece of iron metorite

    I think that looks very much like a bit of it. That doesn’t rust in earths atmosphere!

    Look up Campo de Chielo images and you will see lots of extra terrestrial shinies.

  24. Richard Cartledge

    Looks like a 'weather balloon'.

  25. Eenymeeny
    Megaphone

    Context

    I was going to post something about it being a buried metal foot of a Martian robot or something...

    And then I realised.

    THOSE ARE PICTURES FROM ANOTHER FUCKING PLANET.

    Sorry, still too impressed by the fact those rocks are not, actually, somewhere in Arizona but are sitting minding their own business on Mars.

    Just too fucking impressive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sucker...

      Yeah, sure, next you'll be telling me NASA really went to the moon

    2. Pet Peeve
      Happy

      Re: Context

      It *is* easy to forget. I have a couple photos of a desert hike I took in Nevada that look a lot like this, except for the color of the soil. Well that and the metal thing would be a beer can or a pop-tart wrapper...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Context

      Apparently ;)

      I'm sure they are, but how would you know for sure?

  26. We're all in it together
    Megaphone

    Whatever it is

    Apple already have it patented although you won't find it on their map app. Let the down votes flow.....

    1. Silverburn
      Happy

      Re: Whatever it is

      although you won't find it on their map app

      I doubt you'll find *anything at all* on their map app....

  27. We're all in it together
    Coat

    Or perhaps

    Wallace and Gromit landed on Mars thinking it was the moon - its part of their cooker

  28. Alien8n Silver badge
    Alien

    Ah...

    I was wondering where I'd left that...

  29. Mike Taylor
    Stop

    Geology

    It's a pity no-one provides a link to a story that discusses the geology of the mother rock. Poor reporting.

  30. Mike Richards Silver badge

    I remember this

    'You are in a 20-foot depression floored with bare dirt. Set into the dirt is a strong steel grate mounted in concrete. A dry streambed leads into the depression.

    The grate is locked.'

    >

    Use the key! Use the key!

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: I remember this

      Xyzzy!

      ...or was it plugh?

      1. SteveCarr
        Megaphone

        Re: I remember this

        Plover!

  31. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Could it be...

    ...the remains of Beagle 2?

  32. 404 Silver badge
    Alien

    Really Tiny Martians

    We've been driving all over their cities for years with our monstrosities, just can't see them.

    They're not happy with us.

  33. YARR
    Unhappy

    Why call it Curiosity....

    ... if you don't send it back to investigate?

    Failing that, it should have had a couple baby rovers on board that could be dispatched on an observation-only side mission like this. With today's technology we ought to be able to design something very small using inexpensive, off the shelf components that could do this.

    1. Psyx
      Stop

      Re: Why call it Curiosity....

      "With today's technology we ought to be able to design something very small using inexpensive, off the shelf components that could do this."

      Fag-packet maths says no.

      Each 1kg of payload uses 180kg of fuel to get it to Mars, and it costs over $10,000 just to get 1kg into orbit. So even if you buy the bits at Maplin, it ain't going to be 'cheap'.

      Then we strap the Maplin parts onto a rocket, fly it into space, expose it to vacuum, -270C and a bunch of radiation, then drop it onto a planet from orbit. Then we expose it to temperatures which swing between about 0C and -100C on a daily basis and blast it with sand-storms.

      Yeah... should be fine! I

      1. annodomini2

        Re: Why call it Curiosity....

        It's about $200,000/kg to mars.

        1. Psyx
          Pint

          Re: Why call it Curiosity....

          "It's about $200,000/kg to mars."

          Sorry, I was using US figures.... If I plug in UK petrol prices, you're spot on!!!

          Fag packet maths again, as curiosity (sic) gets the better of me:

          Driving a Lotus Exige S to Mars in 2018 at highway speeds would cost $12,344 / £7,859 per kg at current UK fuel prices.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Maybe I have been drinking but zoomed in it looks like a chicken toe and partial leg. A robot chicken granted, but a chicken leg all the same. Mars KFC outlet?

    Or it looks like a miniature delorean from back to the future.....

    1. Katie Saucey
      Thumb Up

      could be a chicken, but I'm betting..

      ..on Turkatron! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTP15uTE8aA

  35. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Alien

    It looks to me...

    ...like a small outcropping of naturally occurring unaobtanium.

    Or maybe it's just a bit of dark matter that's changed colour having been left out in the sun for so long.

  36. Visual Echo

    busted

    that's a shopping cart I dumped in a mud puddle behind the store. I was gonna go back later and steal it, but now EVERYBODY knows about it.

  37. Fibbles

    It's the top of a buried Strata machine

    Abandoned aeons ago during the failed terraforming of Mars.

    (What? Everybody else got to make sci-fi reference...)

  38. Sam 15

    It's a thingy.

    A fiendish thingy.

    (Copyright Ringo Starr)

  39. bag o' spanners
    Pint

    It's a TAAAAAAAAAAP!

    (For turning on the Martian rivers)

  40. Dan Paul
    Devil

    Still waiting for it ?????????????????????????

    Consider me amazed that we don't yet have the first person perspectve of Amanfrommars1?

    It seems to me that we would all be better served by his comments rather that our collective speculation. Perhaps he's a proponent of "What happens on Mars, Stays on Mars?

    1. ChrisM

      Re: Still waiting for it ?????????????????????????

      It is the special tool they use to tighten the screw he has loose in his head... No wonder he doesn't want anyone to find it!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this why...

    we need to send a manned mission to Mars. A couple of geologists/biologists/scientists turning over boulders, getting on their hand s and knees and chipping away at interesting rocks, wandering over to look at something that caught their eye...

    I suspect that such a team would discover more about Mars in a couple hours of field work than all the Mars surface robotic missions have done, put together.

    1. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

      Re: And this why...

      Have an upvote from the home of manned spaceflight.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And this why...

        Russia?

  42. SusanY

    Agreed, the fact that there's a robot on Mars trundling around and sending pictures back to us is more astonishing and SF-like than anything the mystery object might turn out to be.

    As iron metorite that melted on impact, was buried beneath the surface, and has been exposed by erosion, seems plausible.

    Still, if you were making a SF film and wanted a prop for a martian like-form or a piece of alien technological junk, you couldn't have done much better that object that even if you had H. R. Giger design it...

  43. TheFinn

    Can you imagine the callout charge?

    I mean to say, a plumber'll charge you £50 for turning a stopcock here on Earth. On Mars, where you can't even soften them up with a cup of tea, the cost'll be phenomenal!

    1. Psyx
      Unhappy

      Re: Can you imagine the callout charge?

      No tea on Mars?

      I see no future for humanity there, in that case...

  44. Jon Green
    Boffin

    Best guess...

    ...metal ore intrusion/extrusion into a rock that's weathered away over time, leaving the intrusion standing proud.

    Still, I'd _love_ Curiosity to do a laser-vape chromatogram and find out which metal.

  45. We're all in it together
    Happy

    or perhaps its a

    Horseshoe from a findus lasagne

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Happy

    Nah, its obviously a fragment from a crashed Berserker probe.

    Might explain the lack of a positive SETI result, the first "intelligent" aliens built these things, carefully coded out their own planet and sent them on their merry way about 70MY ago.

    AD/DC 6EQUJ5

  47. herman Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Ikea

    Obviously, that is a rusted Ikea Allen key. As everyone knows, Ingvar Kamprad the Ikea founder, is so weird, he has to be of alien origen.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How

    did my specs get there?

  49. Bill Cumming
    Trollface

    So basically...

    ...Curiosity just got given the finger from Mars then?

  50. Corborg
    Devil

    UUUULLLLAAAAAAAAAAA!

    that is all

  51. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Alien

    The crest of Marvin the Martian's helmet?

    It does look a little like a scrub brush.

    Might also be one of those rare Martian metallic horned toads.....

  52. All names Taken
    Joke

    Off camera

    Off camera a native Martian is going "Tee hee!"

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Supermarket scum

    Have dumped a trolley there, which has had a wheel snag and leg snapped off over time.

    Look at the shadow - cricular wheel embeded in ground.

    :-D

  54. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Cost of "cheap" space exploration

    As long as we will keep sending dumb robots to where humans are needed to do a proper job all we will get is yet more mysteries...

    We found something blue-must be hematite! Or maybe not...

    Yay, we found something white -must be ice! Or maybe not...

    Look at that steel-headed lizard on sand dune! Too bad we'll never know what it really was...

    1. MrXavia
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cost of "cheap" space exploration

      True, if humans were there, they would have walked up to it, felt it, took a sample and analysed it by the time the pictures got back to earth...

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is that the people controlling the rover are only interested in the rover. There is almost zero interest in Mars. Just look at what they reguard as highlights - all to do with some aspect of the rovers function.

    Then you get these very clever labels like 'martian flower' which appear to be designed to make any real investigation of interesting things laughable and to deflect actual reseach.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wonderful

    I spent about an hour looking at it and the immediately surrounding area. It is all quite fascinating. We have no real idea of what life on Mars may be like, but the surrounding area of this thing looks ruffed up, like a sleeping or feeding area. It is most definitely different from the rest of the surrounding rock surface. That type of thing is very common on earth and hunters look for similar areas when tracking prey. And it really does look like there is a neck of some sort holding up the object, and what appear to be root-like structures at the base. A super closeup reveals what could be an eye or some type of opening at the near end of the thing. I think NASA knows there is odd life on Mars and is breaking it to us in bite sized chunks so people don't absolutely freak out when they make the announcement. Is something that lives for millions of years and is made of mostly metals, and moves voluntarily considered life?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wonderful

      I also want to know what the thing is to the right and behind the item. With serious magnification, it looks like it has an open mouth at one end complete with teeth on the "lower jaw" . it is completely different from the rocks up the little chasm heading to the left. They are all pointed and worn and have no "teeth" or split like the "jaw" one. There is something very unusual about that whole scene. One other oddity. Just to the left and behind the "thing" it vaguely appears that there is dust in the air. It is very hard to see, but it is there. Is this thing alive somehow and was using what looks like an appendage to kick back some dirt to threaten Curiosity? Imagination combined with anthropomorphism, I know. But if it is dust, how did it happen? The more I look at the immediate surrounding area of the thing, the more it becomes a bit too suspect for comfort. If it were a crime scene, what could be determined? 1. There has been some type of activity around the item which changed the ground. The ledge in front and to the right could have been caused by wind over time, but the sharp edge is interesting and the area to the left of the edge sure looks like it has been laid in or flattened clean somehow. That area looks nothing like the surrounding rocks, so the question to ask is what kind of activity would cause it to be different? There are a lot of possibilities and some of them include activity from an entity of some sort, not just natural processes. Its all very interesting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wonderful

        Last one, I swear. So, if I can see all that stuff and a little more from magnification, where is this image on NASA's site? Seriously, we could be looking at some type of Martian Crab or something, and NASA doesn't even have it on the site? WTF? If I can see that stuff, and ask questions about it, you know they can. Under magnification, there are two other anomalies - 1. The "appendage" that is hanging down on the left of the thing is not as clear or sharp as other areas of the photo. Is it in motion? 2. In the "thorax " area of the thing, to the right, there is an unusual curling of something and it is too smooth a curl and does not match the surrounding rock angles anywhere. Is this a matching appendage on the other side? The more I examine it, the more it could be a crab like entity and the area immediately around it could be its lair.

        I'm totally serious here. This could be huge and they are brushing it off ??? Where are the official explanations of the questions from very easy observations? It's not a flippin nail !!! A nail can't depress and clear the ground in front of it.

        1. Coldwind104

          Re: Wonderful

          The problem here is that you create, and then fall into, the same trap that catches all the 'disclosure' campaigners who want Obama to admit that the US knows about aliens.

          They're not asking for the truth: they're asking for what they want to hear. And they've set up their position so that they won't ever have to accept that they're wrong: if Obama admits alien contact, they win (though even then I think it's be more accident than design). But if Obama doesn't 'fess up, they win anyway, because a refusal to admit it is obviously evidence of a cover-up.

          You're doing the very same thing here. Speculation's one thing, and I'm happy to entertain ideas about Martian life - but the people you're challenging are scientists. They have to go by evidence. You're talking about what you can 'see', but you're presenting what's in the photo along with a hefty dose of interpretation based - from what I can see - on what you *want* the truth to be.

          And then you imply conspiracy at NASA, saying they're "brushing it off". You're creating the same situation as the disclosure types: you've decided what you want, and if they fail to produce it, that's evidence of it. It's not rational because you've designed the argument so that you can't be shown to be wrong.

          For what it's worth, I agree with those saying it needs people out there looking at these things, not probes and rovers, as cool as they are. But unlike some others, I don't think for one minute that'll ever happen - at least until someone finds a clear way to monetise Mars. Until then, we're just going to have to learn to live with mystery.

      2. Psyx
        Coat

        Re: Wonderful

        Wishful thinking, much?

        "The more I look at the immediate surrounding area of the thing, the more it becomes a bit too suspect for comfort."

        Well, you're the one with the geology PhD and a background in erosion and weather patterning on non-terran planets, so I'm going to have to assume that you've got it nailed, on the basis of one photo.

        Can I interest you in a bridge?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wonderful

          I can take the heat and appreciate the response. I spent a lot of time last night going over the whole image at high magnification and there are some other areas that really need explanation. The rock formations in the lower left hand 1/8 of the image have some things that are very, very odd. I needed to increase the brightness to see them better. A chiseled rock with a shape inside the chiseled area is the most puzzling. Nature is odd, but it rarely leaves chisel marks around a smooth shaped item in a rock with uniform composition. This photo is either a fake or somethings been going on up there. Either way, it begs for more research and explanation. You do notice how they're focusing on the drill hole in the press right? While an image with some things that are inexplicable and may be one of the biggest things in human history are capturing the minds of others. "no, no don't look there, look over here, we're drilling a hole, see, how cool is that !"

          1. Psyx
            Stop

            Re: Wonderful

            "The rock formations in the lower left hand 1/8 of the image have some things that are very, very odd."

            Maybe because they're on another planet with totally different erosion mechanics than ours?

            Isn't that a better explanation than "It looks odd to a layman, so it's likely to be evidence of aliens, despite the fact that there is no other supporting evidence"?

            "This photo is either a fake or somethings been going on up there."

            Ok... so it's a fake and/or cover-up? So why release it? That makes no sense at all.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Wonderful

            I'll keep going. In the center of the picture at the bottom, there are two rocks. One has two impressions in it at its top, the other has one towards its middle. There are few things that can make an indentation on a rock. Hollowing out doesn't just spontaneously happen. One way is dripping or running water from a source above the indentation, the other is grinding from some source. If those indentations are from water dripping from above it, this is very curious because there is no rock overhang. The rock is in the open. I find that interesting, especially when taken in the context that as Mars ran out of water the inhabitants would have to find ingenious ways to capture water to survive. If they were still primitive, hollowing out rocks a bit would work nicely. The rock to the right of the one with two indentations has an interesting one as well. There is a run -off channel visible below the indentation on that rock. Check out the two oval shaped items in the side of the runoff channel. One of them has ridges and the other does not. The one with ridges sure looks like a fossil to me. Think about it. They are oval in a smooth run off channel. Why are they there at all?

            Further, between those two rocks you can see the surface through a small opening between the rocks. Why is the surface clean there when almost everything else has that reddish dust of varying thicknesses on it? Serious, how did that stay clean? You can clearly see the clean gravel and where it starts to get dirty. There are also several items in that picture that have polished ends of some sort. I work with Sapphire crystals from India at times and there are some similarities with them and I find that interesting. How did just one end get the shape it did? When everything around it is not that way at all. Also, when you increase the brightness, you can actually see under the overhangs of the rocks. That large gray-green one on the left is fascinating because the rocks under it are pointed and broken. Is that a recent lava flow or is it a blob or organisms like coral that eventually solidified. How did the bottom of the rock erode to form the overhang, but leave pointed, broken rocks underneath? There is no doubt it is very different from the rock around it and looks more like dough than rock and has some very interesting features.

            That picture more than any other convinces me of two things- 1. there was water there - period. The evidence is plain to see. 2. It needs some serious investigation to explain the anomalies. I don't want swamp gas explanations, I want the real deal. Where did the chisel marks come from? How did those indentations get hollowed out? Are those fossils or not? Those and more are very valid questions and everybody with an interest in that picture should be demanding answers.

            1. Coldwind104
              FAIL

              Re: Wonderful

              "I'll keep going."

              I've absolutely no doubt you will. Richard Hoagland does. He continues to push his own Mars-related conspiracy theories despite the disproof of his central piece of 'evidence' - the so-called 'Face on Mars'. He's managed in the meantime to muddy so much water, and throw out so many claims in so many different directions, that he now has plenty of fodder to go at for the foreseeable future even without the 'Face'.

              Just in case you think you're in a different category, the countless others still pushing their Mars conspiracies do precisely what you're doing here: they take an image or set of images, and they scour them for anything resembling some sort of familiar pattern. When they find it, they present it in breathless terms as 'evidence' of whatever it is they're trying to prove, just as you are here. And here, you rely on speculation, interpretation and question-begging: "Where did the chisel marks come from?", you ask - as though it's a given that what you claim to have seen are, in fact, chisel marks.

              Like many of those other conspiracy theorists, you'd probably have a good shot at writing some interesting sci-fi scenarios, if you put your mind to it. You clearly have the imagination. It's just a shame that you choose to waste that creativity like this.

            2. Psyx
              Facepalm

              Re: Wonderful

              "Hollowing out doesn't just spontaneously happen."

              I can think of two ways for that to have been eroded without recourse to water, on the basis of a mere passing familiarity with geology.

              Why don't you stop staring at photos for nights on end hoping to see something that confirms your existing opinion and instead read up on some geology and papers on Mars erosion, so that you know what you're looking for.

              "Is that a recent lava flow or is it a blob or organisms like coral that eventually solidified."

              Those are your two explanations, despite the fact that no rocks examined to date on the planet are either recent lava or coral-like creatures? Seriously?

              "I don't want swamp gas explanations"

              Dude...you've just reeled off at least FOUR of those!

              How about we leave it to the people who are qualified? Or do you genuinely believe that massively qualified people who have spent their life in the field are missing what you aren't, based on an hour looking at a photo, and that they are willingly covering things up *and yet still released a supposedly damning photograph*.

    2. Jediben
      Trollface

      Re: Wonderful

      I agree. Is it a mere coincidence that the leader of the Catholic Church chooses this weekend to throw in the towel? The proof of life on other planets is now irrefutable, and all belief in humanity's special connection to God unsustainable. He's getting out before the mouth-breathers see these pics, look at all the donations they gave in church and then mumble "Hey, waitaminute..."

  57. Arachnoid

    It looks rather out of place and is excessively longer and thinner than anything in the surrounding image. ......hmm veeeery strange

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You asked for a downvote, so I've given you one. Not because I am against/for Apple: I gave you a downvote because old jokes are old. Can we all please get past the old patent joke and move along?

  59. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Alien

    Please take another picture!

    What really piques me are the roundish light-colored shapes on the top. Like shiny depressions. Small parabolic antennas?! Without them, I could easily agree it is something produced by weathering, but as it is, the picture makes the Twilight Zone theme play in my ears...

    The least they could do is take more shots of the object after the rover has moved a bit, so we could get a stereoscopic view. The exact distance to and the size of the object could then be computed, and perhaps more details could be seen.

  60. BongoJoe
    Alien

    Capricorn Some Number

    Why has the rock at the centre bottom of the picture have video output ports?

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Capricorn Some Number

    Haha.. But does it say "Video" on it like the Roswell debris?

    :-)

    also, why would a rock have a video port? Did the Martians have their version of the "Raspberry Pi" and some catastrophe struck without warning and wiped them out?

    If it says "Made in Gargaravarg" on it, with a "CM" mark then it could have been caused by the Martians building really dangerous unobtainium power reactors which after a breach caused a chain reaction in the unobtainium rich soil and FOOON! Instant mass extinction.

    AC/DC 6EQUJ5

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are at least four photographs of the object.

    If you compare the one at 2013-01-30 23:39:36 to the one at 23:38:50,

    the object and area around it does not change. Try overlaying the images and flick between them.

  63. andy 45
    Thumb Down

    Typical humans

    We find a place never before touched by man (possibly) and go dropping litter everywhere...

  64. TheBully

    The shadowey shape under the object looks a bit like a Ceti Eel lurking under the sand.

  65. Sustainer
    Holmes

    More debris?

    Is it just me or is there something shiny under the overhang of the rock right on the bottom edge of the picture, not to mention the rusty nail in the rock next to it.

    1. Psyx
      Thumb Up

      Re: More debris?

      Maybe. Or maybe iron is the sixth most common element in the universe, so we shouldn't be massively surprised to see odd-shaped bits of it laying around on planets without sufficient water or oxygen laying around to turn them rapidly to rust.

  66. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    Next instruction to Curiosity:

    "Perform a U-turn, if possible."

  67. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    I recognise that.

    I used to have one of those, but the shiny bit that screws on the end fell off and got lost.

  68. annodomini2

    Looks to me like a heavy duty tent peg.

  69. Ball boy
    Joke

    My money's on this being nothing more important than a pair of handlebars from a Martian bog-trotter. Poor chap went in the mud a little too deep, got suck and abandoned it (Martians are rich enough not to care 'cause Mars is a tax haven even Vodafone are jealous of). The mud hardened and, eventually became the rock Curiosity is now driving over.

    Yobbo's have since stripped them of the brake levers and switchgear. I wouldn't advise Curiosity to go back to examine it in detail; if those swines are still about, they'll nick the explorer's wheels for sure.

  70. Cliff

    It's a stopcock

    Just like the one under my sink at home - noone's getting excited about my one though, so it must be for special water or something.

  71. FutureShock999
    Terminator

    Bent metal finger....

    It's obviously a bent, metal robotic finger thrusting up through the Martian crust, signalling for help before it's power source faded as it was trapped in the cooling rock and sand. If we go over there, and cross connect Curiosities power source, perhaps we can jump start it....

  72. robin48gx
    Trollface

    original image here, though the NASA channel number 4

    Before the NASA censorship department have time to shoop de woop on it

    https://images.4chan.org/sci/src/1360593572190.jpg

  73. Bottle_Cap
    Coat

    It's clearly...

    The melted remains of AOL cd's.... either that or Atari really wanted rid of those ET carts... ;)

  74. Solly
    Alien

    It clearly a replacement part for a Tralfamadorian spaceship.

    <Lights Moonmist Cigarette>

  75. Drefsab
    Alien

    How has no one noticed that this clearly is the protuding tip of a martion heat ray :)

  76. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    So *that's* where my putter ended up after the enraging gust-of-wind-ruins-game-winning-two-foot-putt I suffered last August.

    It wouldn't have been so annoying if I hadn't holed-in-one at the windmill two holes before.

  77. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    My car keys

    I found them, honey. You can stop searching.

  78. Roby

    Or

    I reckon it will turn out to be a shiny rock that got especially polished by duststorms and then happened to catch the light in the right way. You can sometimes see things that look like metal on a beach when the sun is at certain points, but when you get closer it's just a rock. Or, tarmac can look like water in the distance on a hot day... I don't claim to know the specifics but it'll be something mundane.

  79. Maurice Tate

    My Imodium-Q Space Modulator!

  80. sisk Silver badge
    Joke

    So THAT'S where it ended up.

    I've been looking for that lightsaber for years!

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