May 31, 2023

Dragon fossil on Mars? A NASA probe sets an intriguing record

Finding out whether Mars would have harbored microbial life over billions of years of history is one of the goals of the scientific research equipment operating there. Now, could the Red Planet be inhabited by organisms much larger than simple bacteria?

At least, that’s what it looks like, in an image captured by NASA’s Curiosity rover. In the record, released on Twitter this week by astrobiologist, researcher and speaker Nathalie Cabrol, from the US, you can see something similar to the skeleton of…a dragon?!

calm! it’s not like that. If the probability that the planet once supported microbial life isn’t so high, then the probability of dragon-sized beings is zero.

So how do you explain the image taken by the NASA rover?

First, let’s remember that this isn’t the first time an image of Mars has attracted attention in this regard. We’ve already seen a snake’s head and even a doghouse door between our neighbors’ rocks.

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All of these are, of course, mere impressions of the mind caused by the position and shape of the stones, light and perspective – known as an ‘optical illusion’.

In fact, they are effects caused by pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon common to all humans, which causes people to recognize images of human or animal faces in objects, shadows, light formations, and any other random visual stimulus. It is a very common trick of the mind when, for example, we see clouds in the sky and identify familiar shapes.

So what is the dragon depicted on Mars?

As NASA explained to FoxNews, “ventilated nodules,” as they’re known, are wind-sculpted chunks of rock.

said Andrew Judd of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “These minerals were harder than the surrounding rock, so the wind eroded away everything but the minerals.”

According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Curiosity spotted these skeletal-like rocks with its mast camera, Mastcam, in May of last year on Mount Sharp, the 3-mile-high mountain the rover has been climbing since 2014.

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