Published January 23, 2008
Is it Bigfoot? A Tusken Raider from the first "Star Wars" movie? Or just a rock?
British newspapers went crazy Wednesday morning about an image from Mars that appears to show a humanoid figure descending a shallow hillside.
The "alien" is actually a blurry detail in a huge panoramic photograph snapped on the edge of Mars' Gusev crater by NASA's Spirit rover in early November, and posted on NASA's Web site on Jan. 2.
Naturally, it took the Photoshop skills of dedicated bloggers to find the "humanoid."
"NASA scientists have been puzzled by the peculiarly life-like image," declared the Times of London, despite the apparent fact that no one from NASA has had any comment.
The skeptical Web site BadAstronomy.com, however, scoffed, "Puhlllleeeeze. A man? It's a tiny rock only a few inches high. It's only a few feet from the rover!"
Other British papers saw the humo(u)r in the story, with the Sun theorizing that it was Detective Gene Hunt, the drunken, sexist policeman from the BBC time-traveling crime series "Life on Mars."
"It's Usama bin Laden!" declared one Times of London commenter. "All this time we thought he was in Pakistan."
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