A strange alien figure on Mars? Yeah, right, says NASA.
As reported Wednesday, bloggers and British newspapers have been abuzz this week over a blurry image taken by the Mars rover Spirit in November that seems to show a humanoid figure ambling down a shallow slope.
"It's a two-inch piece of rock eroded by the wind," explained NASA spokesman Dwayne Brown.
Various jokers had suggested that the figure might be Bigfoot, a naked woman, a Tusken Raider from "Star Wars" or Usama bin Laden.
One Danish group noted that the figure looked like the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen harbor, and postulated that ancient Martians had colonized Scandinavia.
Meh, said Brown.
"No one on the Mars Rover team is puzzled or surprised by the rock," he said. "I can guarantee you that if [the alien theory] had any validity, we would would have a major press conference."
An understanding of how the photo — actually a series of composite images — was taken should dispel any belief that Sasquatch lives on the Red Planet.
The Mars Rover took three days to make the huge panoramic image, slowly moving from one side to the other as it snapped images.
At each position, various filters were snapped into place over the camera lens, meaning that each static color shot actually takes several minutes to compose.
Throughout all that, the figure doesn't move, meaning it's certainly inanimate.
Of course, that won't stop people who just want to believe.
Maybe it's really a tiny statue of Bigfoot, constructed by a diminutive alien race on its way back from a hiking vacation in the Pacific Northwest.