Skull found on mars? (No not really)

June 11th, 2009

Share

By now most people are aware of the “face on mars.” The “face” is really a large rock formation that, under certain lighting conditions, kinda-sorta looks like a face. If you ask me, it looks more like the face of an ape than a human, but to some, it’s clear proof of an advanced civilization on Mars, which decided to build a giant face-looking thing. The “face” was first imaged by the Viking orbiters, but has since been photographed at much higher resolution by other mars probes. (It doesn’t look nearly as much like a face in the higher quality images)

Despite those who cling to a belief that this is a sure sign of extra terrestrial intelligence, the face is really just an example of pareidolia – the tendency of the human brain to search for meaningful patterns in otherwise random and meaningless data. While this rock formation may look slightly face-like, the human tendency to look for meaningful patterns, especially things like faces, makes it seem like something which it isn’t. Notice, for example, that it looks most face-like when half of it is in the shadow, allowing the brain to assume that half is symmetrical to the highlighted side.

Mars has had more than its fair share of proclaimed images of intelligent beings or other anomalies. The two NASA mars rovers continue to explore the surface of the planet and send back images, even though they are far past their expected lifetime. Not long ago, an image from one of the two rovers was noted as baring a resemblance to a famous image of “Bigfoot.” In this case, even the wacky mars civilization theorists seemed to realize that it was not significant. The image was clearly a relatively small rock and bigfoot has never been associated with extra terrestrials, so everyone had a good laugh about it.

Now there is a new claim, which apparently is actually being taken seriously by some. It is claimed that recent photos from the Spirit rover show a humanoid skull on the surface of mars, thus indicating that humans or humanoid aliens had visited the planet in years past.

Via Pravda.ru:

Alien and human skulls found on Mars

NASA’s Spirit rover took a number of pictures depicting weird objects on the surface of Mars. Michael Middleton of Australia, a photographer and a UFO spotter, found a skull on one of the pictures taken by Spirit.

The original photograph is located on NASA’s official website on the following URL. Middleton zoomed in the photo and found a skull on the foreground.

Indeed, a piece of rock on the Martian sand bears a striking resemblance to a human skull. It is a round object with eye sockets and a nose pit. The lower jaw is embedded in the sand. It is hard to believe that the natural world of Mars could make such a rock. Middleton said that the ‘skull’ stands out against the rest of the landscape that can be seen on the photograph. It is a white object, the color of a bone.

Another object to the right of the while skull looks like someone’s head too, albeit it is not the shape of a human head. The grey rock has a small chin, there is no nose pit, whereas the eye sockets are oblong and disproportionately large. It looks like an alien skull.

According to Middleton, it is boring to think that the discovered rocks are just rocks. Their surface is unusually smooth if compared to other rocks on the photo. It is also impossible to explain how the skull of a human being and of an alien found themselves resting next to each other on the mysterious red planet.

Here is the image provided of the “skull”:

Spooky, eh?

Well, maybe not. The original image from NASA can be found here. It’s a black and white (or to be more acurate, panchromatic) image taken by the Spirit rover at medium resolution. Here’s the full image – click to enlarge to full size.

Can you find the skull in this image? No? Well, it’s in the foreground, toward the bottom of the image and slightly left of the center of the image horizontally.

At full resolution, it looks like this:

Or if blown up it looks like this:

Not very impressive, is it? Especially considering that there’s no sense of scale. It could be a skull, but it doesn’t really look that much like one. However, the image above is blown up using a very simple method that simply expands the image, thus making the pixelation very obvious. When images are blown up in most computer programs, this is not what results. Increasing the resolution of an image on a computer can’t add any additional information, but most image editors use scaling techniques to increase the size of the image without creating jagged edges and pixelation. These techniques may blend neighboring pixels together or smooth out the pixelation, while attempting to preserve hard edges. The subject of image scaling is an entirely separate discussion onto itself, but in general, the goal is to allow increases in the size of the image while maintaining a reasonably smooth look.

Here are some examples of the result from various scaling methods:


Now it’s starting to look more like a skull. Although, no matter how much imagination I try to use, I still can’t see the supposed alien skull that is said to be partially buried near the human one. There are a few problems here, however: in addition to the human bias to look for familiar objects and the fact that there is no sense of scale at all, the images are all enlarged in a manner that can cause a false sense of shape and smoothness. Increasing the size of an image does not add any new data, but the enlargement algorithm tries to compensate by extrapolating the data that it does have. This can result in a distorted image or an image in which shapes appear to be something they are not.

This is nothing more than a case of someone squinting at a lot of NASA images of mars, desperately looking for something that might be significant and finding something which is not.


This entry was posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2009 at 1:39 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Conspiracy Theories, Misc, Paranormal, Space. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
View blog reactions

21 Responses to “Skull found on mars? (No not really)”

  1. 1
    Aaron Says:

    Honestly the bottom one looks like a Chimpanzee sitting on the ground a short distance from the human skull…

    Ahh! Get the rovers away before it’s too late! Mars is the true Planet of the Apes!!!


    Quote Comment
  2. 2
    [Other] Matthew Says:

    What is a “UFO spotter” supposed to be?


    Quote Comment
  3. 3
    Paul Studier Says:

    Is there any indication as to its size? Chances are that it is way to big or way to small to be a skull.


    Quote Comment
  4. 4
    Q Says:

            [Other] Matthew said:

    What is a “UFO spotter” supposed to be?

    A person who looks in the sky a lot and is very bad at identifying things. Therefore they see flying objects all the time but have no idea what they are. It might be someone with poor vision (Mr. Magoo type) or just someone who isn’t that knowledgeable about aircraft and possibly not so bright either.

            Paul Studier said:

    Is there any indication as to its size? Chances are that it is way to big or way to small to be a skull.

    None. It’s probably the entirely wrong size.

    Also, if it were a skull, it looks like it has a boney tumor on the top. Maybe it’s from all that space radiation.


    Quote Comment
  5. 5
    Ctrl Alt Del Says:

    Don’t mean to go off topic, but this site has some good comparisons of image resize algorithms:
    http://www.americaswonderlands.com/digital_photo_interpolation.htm

    None of them are perfect, because you’re right that you just don’t have the data, but some are better than others. You can enlarge a digital image by a few percent without much noticable change in quality (like if it has to be fit somewhere) but more than like 25% and you really start to distort or add incorrect details. Sometimes they have to enlarge it many times like for a billboard or something, and that’s okay because the detail is not going to be seen anyway, so it just has to look decently smooth and realistic.

    There are a few algorithms which can do a really good job of scaling stuff to really large sizes with line art or diagrams and stuff, but that is different because they don’t just increase the image, they vectorize the parts.

    But yeah, this is crap. The picture is so full of artificats when it gets that big, it’s just nuts.


    Quote Comment
  6. 6
    Rob Farrington Says:

    But can’t the other pics of the Crydonian Head be interpreted as showing a member of Personkind with a half-melted face?

    The Martians were obviously warning us about the dangers of nuclear war! It’s surely no coincidence that we got to see this only as we were entering the nuclear age.

    BTW, I have a piece of garlic bread featuring the half-turned face of the Virgin Mary (if you have faith, and are squinting at it sideways). If you go to my ebay store, I’ll also throw in a waffle with the face of Obama for an extra fifty dollars or so.


    Quote Comment
  7. 7
    Rob Farrington Says:

    Sorry, I meant ‘Cydonian’! I blame alien xenomorphs for spilling slime all over my keyboard…


    Quote Comment
  8. 8
    CTRL ALT DEL Says:

    The Mars face is an example of ridiculousness to the nth degree

    Mars is a big place. It’s a whole damn planet and the surface area is only slightly less than the earth, and it’s actually more surface if you consider the fact that most of the earth is covered with water. That’s huge. Just by dumb chance one would expect a natural formation that would bare some kind of formation that looks like a face. There are things like that on earth like the “old man in the mountain” (which collapsed) or the fact that Italy looks like a high healed boot and Lake Superior looks like a dog’s head.

    It’s actually kinda strange that they have not found any better face-looking thing on the entire planet.


    Quote Comment
  9. 9
    Chem Geek Gregor Says:

    The truth is this: That is the reamins of someone who was sent by NASA to Mars in 1969. They never told the public because the trip was one-way and they figured people wouldn’t be cool with that. Also, the reason to send someone to mars was part of a seceret plan to fake the moon landings. Yes, NASA decided to fake the moon landings but could not find a place suitable on earth, so they sent astronauts to Mars. Mars has less gravity, you see. It doesn’t have the same gravity as the moon, but it’s closer, so when combined with wires and slowing down the film, it works. ALso, mars has less atmosphere, so that helps too.

    The massive project to fake the moon landing involved sending Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to mars. They stayed there for a few years to fake the other moon landings too but then died when they ran out of Tang. Their dead bodies are up there. The Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin we have since known – obviously androids.


    Quote Comment
  10. 10
    grmann Says:

            Chem Geek Gregor said:

    The truth is this: That is the reamins of someone who was sent by NASA to Mars in 1969. They never told the public because the trip was one-way and they figured people wouldn’t be cool with that.

    Also, the reason to send someone to mars was part of a seceret plan to fake the moon landings.

    Yes, NASA decided to fake the moon landings but could not find a place suitable on earth, so they sent astronauts to Mars. Mars has less gravity, you see.

    It doesn’t have the same gravity as the moon, but it’s closer, so when combined with wires and slowing down the film, it works.

    ALso, mars has less atmosphere, so that helps too.

    The massive project to fake the moon landing involved sending Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to mars. They stayed there for a few years to fake the other moon landings too but then died when they ran out of Tang. Their dead bodies are up there.

    The Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin we have since known – obviously androids.

    Just for the record, I would like to vouch for that entire story. Especially the part about Mars being closer than the moon.


    Quote Comment
  11. 11
    Muddy Says:

    Any chance the Skull and Bones might be involved in this?


    Quote Comment
  12. 12
    Engineering Edgar Says:

            grmann said:

    Just for the record, I would like to vouch for that entire story. Especially the part about Mars being closer than the moon.

    It would have been easier to get to mars than the moon because when the astronauts went to the moon in 1969, it was on the other side of the earth from Cape Canaveral. They don’t tell you this, because it would prove the conspiracy. If NASA had actually sent men to the moon it would have required them to dig a tunnel through the earth so that they could launch the rocket downward and then have it come out in the Indian Ocean so that it would be a straight shot to the moon. In NASA movies you can see the rocket is clearly fired upwards, which was the wrong direction to go to the moon. PROOF!


    Quote Comment
  13. 13
    Burya Rubenstein Says:

    The skull pictures look like C3PO’s head.


    Quote Comment
  14. 14
    Michael Says:

            Engineering Edgar said:

    It would have been easier to get to mars than the moon because when the astronauts went to the moon in 1969, it was on the other side of the earth from Cape Canaveral.

    They don’t tell you this, because it would prove the conspiracy.

    If NASA had actually sent men to the moon it would have required them to dig a tunnel through the earth so that they could launch the rocket downward and then have it come out in the Indian Ocean so that it would be a straight shot to the moon.

    In NASA movies you can see the rocket is clearly fired upwards, which was the wrong direction to go to the moon.

    PROOF!

    Your proof is exactly as logical as most of the other proof out there for the moon landing conspiracy.


    Quote Comment
  15. 15
    ddpalmer Says:

    As more proof of the fact that people are wired to look for patterns. When I looked at the full size original NASA photo, I immediately saw a face/head like image in the boulder that is about in the middle of the image. It is in profile with a dark spot like an eye and a thin dark line like a mouth. The shadow even makes it look like the ‘skull’ curves in at the back.

    I know it isn’t a head but on first look my mind ‘saw’ a skull and now I can’t look at it without seeing the ‘head’.


    Quote Comment
  16. 16
    resimler Says:

    because it would prove the conspiracy.

    If NASA had actually sent men to the moon it would have required them to dig a tunnel through the earth so that they could launch the roc


    Quote Comment
  17. 17
    Mijjim Says:

    A much better photo of a much more possible skull http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/evidence-reports/2006/102/2-102-skull-closer-views.jpg


    Quote Comment
  18. 18
    Anon Says:

            Mijjim said:

    A much better photo of a much more possible skull http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/evidence-reports/2006/102/2-102-skull-closer-views.jpg

    Looks like a rock to me.


    Quote Comment
  19. 19
    Q Says:

            Mijjim said:

    A much better photo of a much more possible skull http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/evidence-reports/2006/102/2-102-skull-closer-views.jpg

    Makes perfect sense. It’s an alien with some kind of massive bone tumor growth on the bottom of its face. Some kind of “Alien Elephant Man”


    Quote Comment
  20. 20
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Mijjim said:

    A much better photo of a much more possible skull http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/evidence-reports/2006/102/2-102-skull-closer-views.jpg

    Looks like a rock to me, but I think you could also make the case for it being two potatoes and a bowling ball.


    Quote Comment
  21. 21
    publikacje Says:

    Hello there, You have done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.

    I’m confident they will be benefited from this site.


    Quote Comment

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *

Please copy the string 07RWKc to the field below:

*

Protected by WP Anti Spam