Thursday, August 21, 2014 Headlines & Global News

Rat on Mars: NASA Curiosity Rover Spots 'Cute Rodent' (LINK)

By Robert Christie | May 30, 2013 12:01 PM EDT

NASA Curiosity Rover
NASA’s Curisosity rover picked up some footage that had scientists and researchers perk up. Among the usual sediment seen on Mars, the rover spotted what appeared to be a rodent trying to blend in with the dirty-orange colored rocks (Photo : REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Handout.)

NASA’s Curisosity rover picked up some footage that had scientists and researchers perk up. Among the usual sediment seen on Mars, the rover spotted what appeared to be a rodent trying to blend in with the dirty-orange colored rocks, according to Fox News.

The picture of the rock was taken last year on Sept. 28 on what, according to NASA.gov, is called the “Rocknest” site. The site was chosen to be the first area in which the Curiosity rover made use of its “scoop” function.

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According to NASA scientists, the Rover took up some sand, tasted it, and noticed it contained some weathered basaltic sediment elements, much like the sand in Hawaii.

The picture of the rodent was caught by ScottCWaring of UFO Sightings Daily.

“It’s a cute rodent on Mars. Note it's lighter color upper and lower eyelids, it's nose and cheek areas, its ear, its front leg and stomach. Looks similar to a squirrel camouflaged in the stones and sand by its colors. Hey, who doesn't love squirrels right? That doesn't look like a squirrel you say? Then have a look at the photo below of similar squirrel in the same position on Earth,” he wrote placing a picture of a rodent on earth and the supposed rodent in space near each other for comparison.

According to ScottCWaring, NASA dropped the ball on this one.

“This might have been the big historical announcement that NASA was suppose to make, however they decided life on Mars was a secret worth keeping since they don't want China or Russia to beat America to Mars,” he said.

Others who looked at the photo said since the “squirrel” had similar coloring as a rock and similar positioning as a rock—it was probably just a rock. They pointed to what is known as paraeidolia, or the inclination to see the faces of animate objects in common inanimate objects.

According to iO9.com, a group at Berlin’s Onfomative studio created an algorithm that incorporates paraeidolia. The algorithm, with the use of Google Map, rifles through the earth looking for things that appear to have faces. The algorithm discovered facial features in places such as hills, fields and mountains.

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