Was a Mysterious Skull Just Spotted on the Surface of Mars?

Was a Mysterious Skull Just Spotted on the Surface of Mars?

Only a few days ago, everyone had a good laugh at the expense of woo-meisters trying to pawn off a martian tortoise as an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.1 I’ve seen better shopping on Black Friday.

Most anomalies ‘discovered’ by America’s remaining rovers on Mars can be written off as simple simulacra, or persnickety pareidolia. In case you’re wondering, simulacra is an object with a superficial resemblance to another object.2

A spooky simulacrum.

A spooky simulacrum.

Pareidolia, on the other hand, is the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning that doesn’t actually exist.3


The Shroud of Turin is now extra scary now that you can’t unsee the clowns. Copyright Jeffrey Vallance, 1996.

But this image4 is too good to be true. Snapped back on Sol 732, or 2014-08-28 05:23:21 UTC to us puny earthlings, this gem has been hidden in plain sight for those with an eye for the weird, and extraterrestrial rock hounds.


0732MR0031380000402998E01_DXXXIt takes no stretch of the imagination to see the mandible, and teeth are plain to see towards the front of the snout. Too bad there isn’t anything to give a sense of scale, whether this object is the size of a mouse, (fancy,5 not house) or large as a blockheaded Rottweiler is left to speculation.

While NASA is content to publicize Curiosity’s selfies, completely ignoring weird lights,6 images like this could generate interest in America’s beleaguered space program. Not to mention it’s fun to piss off grayfaces like Phil Plait and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Hie thee to the website for Jack Parson’s Laboratory to scour Curiosity’s archive of raw images. After all, you might find something that will change the perceptions of our red neighbor, and life in the universe.7

Whaddya think you see in the picture? Celebrate your fifteen minutes of fame on our Facebook page, at Twitter, or in the comments below!


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  1. http://weekinweird.com/2014/10/05/alien-weapon-found-mars/ 

  2. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/simulacrum 

  3. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pareidolia 

  4. http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/00732/mcam/0732MR0031380000402998E01_DXXX.jpg 

  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fancy_mouse 

  6. http://weekinweird.com/2014/04/07/light-mars-begs-investigation-gets-used-disappointment/ 

  7. http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/?s= 


  1. Liz Leafloor

    10/10/2014 at 7:45 AM

    Hey Chris,

    I really enjoy your stuff – ‘woo-meisters’? heehee!
    Keep up the great work, and keep watching the skiiiiiies.

  2. Pingback: Strange Skull Spotted On Mars | There is widespread belief in Ghosts in English-speaking cultures, where ghosts are manifestations of the spirits of the dead.

  3. Dave J

    10/10/2014 at 10:48 PM

    All I see is paradolia in the shape of a face due to a strange rock. Don’t get me wrong; I’d love to see some form of life (or previous lives) on Mars but that to me, looks like a rock. Again. Keep up the good articles Chris!

  4. Chris Chaos

    10/12/2014 at 10:45 AM

    Ha…2 years ago I was walking through the Delaware Water Gao and deep in a wooded section I spotted a face off in the distance…but obviously it was just the pareidolia effect. I wish I could post the photo here in the comment section.

  5. Deborah

    09/12/2015 at 2:04 AM

    Looks like melted, pulverised junk to me. I can’t see how the “mandible” could chew anything, given the projection at a vertical right angle that would prevent the “mouth” from closing.

  6. Buzzman

    12/16/2015 at 2:08 AM

    The Clowns of Turin cracked me up! That’s just a rock on Mars. Another massively windy giant desert. Wind and sand can carve out amazing “sculptures”

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