Is that a rat on Mars? Photo takes Internet by storm - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Is that a rat on Mars? Photo takes Internet by storm


BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - Is that a space rodent? That's the question scores of Earthlings are asking about a photo snapped by NASA's Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars.

The image in question was snapped by the rover in September 2012. It depicts what some have interpreted as a small rodent crouched between two rocks with its nose to the ground.

"It's a cute rodent on Mars. Note its lighter-color upper and lower eyelids, its nose and cheek areas, its ear, its front leg and stomach," Scott Waring wrote at UFO Sightings Daily  in December 2012. "Looks similar to a squirrel camouflaged in the stones and sand by its colors."

Waring later speculated that perhaps NASA secretly flew the animal to the Red Planet on board the rover.

Scientists, however say the 'rat' is nothing more than a combination of a rock and a psychological phenomenon called 'pareidolia' -- which refers to the tendency of the human brain to perceive animals or other familiar shapes in vague or random images.

Scientists say it's unlikely a rat or any other creature could survive in the Martian environment.

What's your opinion? Are there rats crawling around Mars? Or is this just a rodent-shaped rock? Tell us by voting in today's Webpoll.

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