A strange geological feature was spotted on the surface of Mars by UnmannedSpaceflight.com. It was interpreted to be something resembling a spoon floating just above the ground. Is it really a phenomenal discovery or just a trick of the eye?
The “floating spoon”.
Hold your horses, alien-seeking people! The “floating spoon” is no miracle at all. Scientists have dismissed such claims, affirming that the sighting was but just another case of pareidolia, a psychological response that makes us see familiar objects in certain shapes.
NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover which captured the images often show this type of strange rock formation. Time and again people have speculated them to be aliens, pyramids, or even coffins. Some months back, an image taken on Mars was thought to depict a coffin that would suggest the presence of aliens; the scientists had given the same explanation, that is, it was just pareidolia.
Seth Shostak, director of the Centre for SETI Research, suggested that pareidolia might also help “enrich our imagination” such that definite shapes of known objects are seen when they are not actually there.
“Those that send [images] to me are generally quite excited, as they claim that these frequently resemble something you wouldn’t expect to find on the rusty, dusty surface of the red planet,” he said. “It’s usually some sort of animal, but occasionally even weirder objects such as automobile parts. Maybe they think there are cars on Mars.”
On the other hand, the “spoon” might be useful to scientists. It could be pointing to how Mars can have delicate geological features; the atmosphere there is thin and gravity weak allowing structures to grow even more delicate, making small overhangs such as the “spoon”. This would not be possible on Earth because rock are crudely moulded by wind erosion.