This just came in from the Telegraph, apparently Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has spotted a random skull on the Martian surface. This is obviously the only interpretation… as we know what an alien looks like, don’t we? Big head, big eyes, pasty grey skin. Something like this? Or, more likely, like this? Or this? Wow, it could be any one of them.
However, it’s not quite that exciting.
It’s a rock, as you may have already guessed. And no, the Telegraph isn’t taking it seriously either. (Although The Sun’s microreport could be taken either way.)
Although the newspaper’s article resembles a badly conditioned April Fools gag, there is one glaring error, well two actually. No, three.
Firstly, Spirit is not a camera – it’s a whole robot with a camera attached (called the Panoramic Camera, or Pancam for short). If it was just a camera, could you imagine the movie location costs?
Second, I’m not sure why this was filed in “Science News”. It obviously needs to be filed under “It’s a Slow News Day, We’ll Report Anything”.
And thirdly, I seriously doubt this image got “space-gazers talking”. When I last looked at one of Opportunity’s panoramic shots, I could see all kinds of strange things in the Mars dirt. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d love poking around the shapes and shadows, thinking I could see skulls, flying hubcaps and mysterious plant-like features. But I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I’m a “space-gazer”, but I’m not “talking”.
As it’s late, I’ve given up trying to find the source of the article (no links – come on Telegraph, if you’re gonna play blogging for the day, at least reference your lead!). Apparently some “UFO hunters” were being serious, but then joking, about this rock that looks like a skull. So, what the Telegraph is really trying to tell us is:
A stone. On Mars. Might look like a skull. Doesn’t really. Even ufologists don’t take it seriously. So it’s not really news. Move along.
I’m not suggesting the Telegraph isn’t a good newspaper, on the contrary, but really, what’s the point?
Why did I even bother to report on this? Oh yeah: It’s a stone that looks like a bunny skull. Now try explaining how a rabbit got up there…