On its mission to Mars, the Curiosity rover has sent us a huge number of images, showing us the red planet from a unique perspective. But some of them do not go unnoticed, like a snapshot captured last May 7, which soon sparked the imagination of the curious and went viral. What are we talking about? From an image showing what appears to be a door.

Are we facing proof that an intelligent civilization exists on Mars? Can we finally prove that extraterrestrial beings have an extraordinary ability to chisel the rocky walls of the red planet? The truth is that this is not the first time we have seen something similar and, unfortunately, it is very unlikely that this door is the entrance to a rustic Martian sanctuary.

A door, which is not a door

The epicenter of the debate is on Redditwhere users are exposing all kinds of theories to explain this enigmatic image, which can be consulted by anyone on the GigaPan panoramic imaging platform. The most extreme ideas speak of extraterrestrial life, while the most reasonable maintain that the “Martian door” is a product of geological activity.

NASA, which is the space agency behind the Curiosity rover mission, has not commented on the matter. However, there are at least two possible explanations for this enigmatic image. One of them is that “the door” could have been formed by a shear fractureproduced by the effect of stress in the rock after an earthquake.

It is that telluric movements are quite common on Mars. Without going any further, on May 4, the largest earthquake since we have recorded occurred. According to data from NASA’s InSight Mars platform, the movement was considerable for the red planet, although on Earth it would have been one of intermediate magnitude.

Another explanation, which complements the previous one, is pareidolia. Is about a psychological phenomenon described by Jeff Hawkins in his memory-prediction theory where a random image is misperceived as a recognizable shape. Do you remember the mysterious cabin detected by the Chinese rover Yutu-2 on the Moon? For it was not a hut, but a small rock. This means that if we get carried away by what we think we see, we end up seeing objects where there are none.

In any case, since Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012, it has done a spectacular job. With it we discover that the planet’s clouds are grayish, bright and surprisingly similar to ours. We also had fun with his selfies, and even managed to build an interactive panorama to explore the surface. And although it has suffered several failures, the rover is still alive and continues to tell us about its news in its official blog.

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