NASA\’s Curiosity rover has captured a photograph of what appears to be a doorway carved into the rock.
We\’ve seen a lot of strange and unusual items on the surface of Mars over the years including everything from a set of traffic lights to a perfect reproduction of Beaker from The Muppets.
While these can typically be explained away as examples of pareidolia ( the tendency for the human brain to see meaningful shapes in otherwise abstract patterns ), this latest photograph isn\’t so easily dismissed and appears to show a distinctive opening in a rock face on the Martian surface.
The picture, which was taken of a geological feature known as Greenheugh Pediment by Curiosity\’s Mast Camera on May 7th, has sparked considerable debate since appearing online.
While it\’s tempting to imagine that this is some sort of artificially built doorway, it is in fact most likely to be a naturally occurring geological feature and not the work of intelligent e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳s.
Some users have suggested that it is a shear fracture, which is created when forces on the rock cause chunks of it to break off. In this case, the piece that has fallen off happens to look door-shaped.
The full image can be viewed – here (the \’door\’ is left of center towards the top.)