Check out the 'alien doorway' on mars discovered by NASA
Has the Curiosity rover found a secret underground alien base?
words Jack Ramage
A recent snap taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars has shown up a seriously creepy image of a rock formation, which looks deceptively like an intricately-carved doorway into Martian rock.
The eerie rock formation has pricked the imagination of interplanetary enthusiasts and sci-fi fans alike. It’s understandable: the image looks like the doors from Star Wars’, Tatooine or an entrance to an underground martian base. Are we looking at the opening of a tunnel into the centre of Mars, where life lives beyond Earth? Got something to hide, Elon?
The image has sparked notable controversy on Reddit, as people take to the internet to discuss exactly what this ‘doorway’ could be. Many have pointed out that the structure is likely a shear fracture, caused when the rock breaks away from some kind of external strain.
“To me, it looks like the rock to the left separated in a shear fracture,” one user notes. “Sandstone and slate can break in perfectly straight lines pretty easily,” another Redditor replies, in response to some users freaking out over the straightness of the ‘doorway’.
“There's quite a few straight cuts and breaks in the rock formation that you can see. I guess coincidental breakage, as well as good sun position for the shadows, is the most reasonable explanation,” another user continues.
“No, Mars Curiosity hasn't found a "secret door" on Mars leading to a martian chamber, tomb or shopping mall,” Stuart Atkinson, an amateur Martian astronomer and author, posted on Twitter. “It's just a fracture in the ancient rock, barely big enough for a cat to squeeze through. You can even see the back if you zoom in.”
Indeed, the size of the rock structure is misleading, but as another Reddit user adds, “so what if it’s only a few inches? How do we know what size our overlords will actually be?” I guess even in extraterrestrial life: size doesn’t matter.
As with most spacey things, this discovery is shrouded in mystery. But what caused this structure in the first place? Pinning down an absolute answer to these questions can be tricky. However, it’s suggested that a tremor – or marsquake – could be the culprit. Earlier this month, scientists recorded the largest tremor on the planet, and they’re still working to pinpoint where exactly it happened and what caused it.
However freaky this image may first appear, it’s important to not get carried away. It’s true, this rock formation exists – and we’re able to verify that thanks to NASA’s incredible space technology. However, sadly, the doorway is likely nothing more than a fluke rock formation.
In other alien-adjacent news, after three years traversing the red, dusty surface of Mars, NASA's InSight Lander is heading home. Its science operations will end in July and completely shut down by the end of the year. The long legged robot has detected more than 1,300 quakes which hugely helped researchers map the planet's interiors out. It also found evidence of lava flows on the planet. NASA's Dragonfly mission will travel to Saturn's moon Titan in 2026, and Venus and Jupiter's icy-looking moon Europa is also expected to be explored.
This month too, as part of Black Hole Week, NASA released a remastered sound of a black hole in the Perseus galaxy cluster, which allows the human ear to hear it. Scaled up around 57 octaves above its actual pitch, the recording is said to feature the lowest note in the universe, and it sounds ridiculously eerie.
You can see a bigger and colourised version of the original picture here – which shows just how small and insignificant the ‘doorway’ actually is. The image was taken on 7 May 2022, at a geological feature on the planet known as Greenheugh Pediment. That said, it’s fun to let the imagination wander to infinity and beyond… right?