Curiosity’s photos reveal not woman on Mars but how silly “news” sites can be

Slow news summer… when all news sites pick up a ridiculous story from non-reputable websites and couch it in illogical speculative terms that make it sound like they are being “critical” about the story.

Unfortunately, that means more work for DN to note just exactly how doubtful these stories are and why you should not be taking them seriously or, worse, passing them along in your social media feed or mentioning them during casual conversation.

Is it proof of life on Mars? Or just a bizarre rock formation that has people all over the world looking closely at a picture sent back from NASA’s Curiosity rover?

UFO Sightings Daily has brought attention to the picture, saying that the shape “looks like a woman partly cloaked.”

Source: Mysterious, woman-like figure captured on Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover |

This is a really dumb opener. Proof of life on Mars? A photo enlarged with most contextual information ignored is interpreted to look like a woman. This is “proof” of life on Mars HOW exactly? It’s not. It’s the most shallow uncritical thinking you can do about a piece of visual data.

woman rock formation mars

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 1.34.13 PM

Photo of same area taken earlier without the misleading shadows. It’s a rock. Get over it.


Thankfully, Faktoider has written up a post on it, The Woman on Mars (Solved), revealing that it’s not even close to looking like a woman. It took him a few minutes to verify this but mystery mongering sites don’t even put in an effort:

The photos you get from the martian rovers are hardly ever “unique”: They take series of photos with different angles, in different lighting conditions etc. If you find a certain formation interesting, you can be virtually certain that there are more photos of it.

How many hours have “ufologists” spent over thousands upon thousands of pictures like these, not looking for the incredible science and beauty there actually is but for ridiculous stuff like the fairy virgin Mary of Gale crater? And the weirdest thing is how they still cut corners when it comes to double-checking. It took me a few idle minutes on the phone to find the 10:38 photo in the series above, which settled the issue. (Next stop is of course conspiracy country, which is another place altogether.)

Those who endorse and promote such stories aren’t interested in the truth they so obnoxiously claim they are. They are interested in keeping the mysterious even more mysterious, stirring up controversy without value or a sound evidence basis and producing clickbait.

Here’s a SURE FIRE rule to use when you come across incredible claims like this: If it’s from UFO Sightings Daily, ignore it. It’s goofy speculative nonsense. Or, use it only for a laugh, but please don’t pass it on to others. It spreads baseless ideas that some people will actually consider.

People really do believe this stuff. Don’t give them tinder to keep the mindless conspiracy crap fired up. What we can really use is a focus on the solid scientific information coming from the rovers, not the cornball imaginary stuff concocted by people who are missing the point of space exploration.

  8 comments for “Curiosity’s photos reveal not woman on Mars but how silly “news” sites can be

  1. August 9, 2015 at 1:48 PM

    More work for you, but more interesting stories for us!

    I love sites like yours, because they help me educate a lot of silly people I encounter.

  2. Andrew W
    August 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM

    Of course the stories are silly.
    Everyone knows that Women are from Venus, and Men are from Mars!

  3. Tsprite
    August 9, 2015 at 3:25 PM

    Realized woman wasn’t real, but have you examined the wheels that were found? They do show up on the raw image and I’m not sure what to think. Thanks for all the work you do.

  4. One Eyed Jack
    August 9, 2015 at 4:30 PM


  5. platomica
    August 10, 2015 at 1:58 AM

    thank you very much for putting this on, madam. it is important and too little challenged how bad journalism fails us all the time in these times of social media and internet bullshit. i am very pleased that there is still someone out there producing the correct suspicion and going through with all the investigations needed to debunk the pseudo scientific popular tabloid nonsense that more and more occupies the internet with sloppy sensationalism. let’s hope (but i doubt it) that many people will read your contributions. 🙂

  6. jockmcdock
    August 10, 2015 at 4:47 AM

    No, it’s all real.

    And don’t forget the face that was found on Mars.

    Now, does anyone have a good bridge they want to sell?

  7. busterggi (Bob Jase)
    August 10, 2015 at 9:08 AM

    Lot’s wife, You know some fundies will claim that.

  8. Alan
    August 17, 2015 at 1:48 PM

    When we were kids, we would lay back and watch the clouds. What wonderful images we concocted out of such wispy fodder! Even though someone a mile away looking from a different direction would see something different or nothing at all. Even though a minute later it would shape shift into something different or nothing at all. What a wonderful time we had with unicorns, gnomes, and fairies!
    I can’t help but wonder over adults seeing things like the virgin Mary in the same wispy fodder, and being silly enough to share it as “real”. Obviously they never grew up. God bless them! (and make them eat their veggies)

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