In Photos: The ‘Alien Door’ On Mars Is Just One Of Some Spectacular New Images From The Red Planet
Poor Curiosity. Exploring Mars since 2012, NASA’s rover is constantly getting overlooked in favor of the newer Perseverance rover, which landed in 2021 and has been sending its Ingenuity drone out on incredible reconnaissance missions.
That was until a few days ago when Curiosity discovered what looks like an “alien doorway” in the Mount Sharp region it’s exploring. The photo it took on May 7, 2022 (main image, above) went viral on social media with claims that it looked artificial.
Except that, of course, the gap in the rocks in this photo (main image, above) isn’t really anything to do with aliens. It’s just a crevice.
Sure, it looks odd. It’s those straight edges. However, look more closely and you can see the back of the gap. It’s obviously not a door. In fact, it’s most likely the result of natural erosion.
It’s also really small in a vast landscape.
“The team’s scientists underlined just how small [the crevice] is: roughly 30 centimeters wide and 45 centimeters across (11 by 17 inches),” said a spokesperson at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs to fact-checking website Snopes. “They said there are linear fractures throughout this outcrop, and this is a location where several linear fractures happen to intersect.”
Although NASA made the zoomed-in version available online, here are a couple of wide-angle views from Curiosity that include the crevice, which put it in a wider context:
Here’s a massive true-color composite image of the entire area where the crevice was seen—you can zoom-in to find it in the upper-center of the image. This image was constructed by citizen scientist Neville Thompson.
You can see all kinds of cracks and fractures in the surrounding area.
NASA’s Insight lander, which is about 373 miles/600 kilometers from Curiosity in Elysium Planitia, detected the largest quake ever observed on another planet on May 4, 2022. It measured the marsquake at magnitude 5.
Curiosity is currently ascending Mount Sharp, a 3 miles/5 kilometers tall mountain. It’s in the foothills in an area called Greenheugh Pediment and able to see different sedimentary layers shaped by water billions of years ago.
In March NASA published this image (below) of a flower-like rock artifact, which were made in the ancient past when minerals carried by water cemented the rock in Gale Crater.
In April the European Space Agency published this image from its Mars Express spacecraft, which shows a large fault system on Mars known as Tantalus Fossae.
Earlier this month NASA also published an image from its Odyssey orbiter, which has been at Mars for over 20 years. The image (below) is of blue-white carbon dioxide frost on the Martian surface.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.