What on Earth is that thing on Mars?


97 Responses to “What on Earth is that thing on Mars?”

  1. HeatherB says:

     If you pan and up and to the right you can clearly see Boss Hogg screeching to halt on the cliff’s edge.

  2. Mr. Spocko says:

    That what they WANT you to think!

  3. It’s a rear-view mirror or hood ornament.

  4. John Meyers says:

    Looks like the beginnings of a Cadillac Ranch.

  5. SharynMunro says:

    It’s an Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator

  6. It’s the tap.  Turn this and the canals fill up.

  7. agonist says:

    Petrified robot dog trapped in sediment.

  8. Mace Moneta says:

    Looks like a ball-peen hammer to me:

    How a ball-peen hammer got to Mars is anyone’s guess.

  9. kinscore says:

    What on Mars are you talking about? That’s not anything on Earth.
    I have no idea what you’re talking about…so here’s a Mars Curiosity Rover Pancake Discovery Painting.

  10. Tsv1138 says:

    “Looks like the boys have flown the coop.”
    *cue freeze frame, and dramatic steel guitar followed by a commercial for a ronco food dehydrator.

  11. SpaceOtter says:

    Another rejected Monopoly piece?

  12. Funk Daddy says:

    It’s shiny we foun it an it’s ours.

    I asked my cat.

  13. Now what’d be better is… if it moves…

  14. I see two sane options. A) Some natural metal eroded into visibility. B) A piece of one of the many objects we’ve fired at Mars. eg: Debris from one of those dead satellites.

    • flickerKuu says:

      The chances of previous human debris being near the landing sight are close to zero.  They pick sites away from other sites on purpose, and a haphazard landing of random space junk in the same area is 1 in a zillion- kind of like in JJ Abrham’s Star Trek when Kirk just happens to tumble down the hill into Spock’s lap. I think you were on it with guess A.

      • It’s not exactly random. We’ve fired around 50 things at mars already. And we’ve lost contact with plenty of objects we’ve put into orbit. Which by now can have crashed into the planet in an unknown location. Some of those objects attempted to land and hence contained extra portions that would end up landing in a different location. And during re-entry parts of an object can break off creating multiple pieces of debris that land in different locations.
        We’ve sent 4 rovers already. I wouldn’t say that the chances are 1 in a zillion. Frankly I’d say that it’s going to be inevitable.

        • cub says:

          so there’s no way it could be space junk?  b/c we have a LOT of space junk out there.

        • Tim Ortiz says:

          the odds of space junk just happening to run into mars is negligible.  Also – the surface area of Mars is more than 55 million square miles – there would be less than a one in a million chance of landing within a mile of one of those 50 things even if they were evenly distributed across the surface. 

        • AwesomeRobot says:

          The chances are probably more like one in a trillion. I think you’re underestimating how small these things are, and how large Mars is. It’d be like trying to find a Volvo on a completely barren Earth. Hell, we can’t even find one in the place we parked it. 

  15. eldritch says:

    “Right. C’mere. You see this? This is why we’re here. Because this little gray rock sells for $20 million a kilo. That’s the only reason. This is what pays for the whole party, and it’s what pays for your science.”

  16. Not sure why NASA is last with the news. Are they crowd sourcing their image analysis?

  17. Swamp gas. Move along.

  18. chapsandmutton says:

    Best explanation I’ve seen yet is that it’s the result of a lightning strike on Mars.  Apparently the dust storms on Mars do create lightning, and with nothing very tall to act as a ground, the ground does.  Not dissimilar to what happens in the desert with molten sand into glass.

    • niktemadur says:

      Just don’t tell that to Richard Hoagland, he’s gonna have a field day with this on Coast To Coast.
      If he still appears on the show, that is, I haven’t tuned into Art Bell since the Clinton presidency.

      At first it was fun like scary or fantasy stories around a bonfire with a dash of science now and then, but I sensed the bullshit factor intensifying and found myself getting very angry while listening to this kind of sleazy one-two punch:
      1) “The coming global superstorm is upon us, now a word from our sponsors…”
      2) “Buy gold.  Buy gold now”.
      At twice the price for the gullible and scared, the way Hannity and Beck made millions.

      • L_Mariachi says:

        I don’t know about Richard Hoagland but Art Bell retired again a few years ago, although he does occasional guest hosting. George Noory, the current main C2C host, doesn’t strike me as sleazy. He seems to maintain a good balance: Giving people of questionable mental health a voice and sympathetic ear without exploiting or enabling their issues.

        “Stories around a bonfire with a dash of science” is the best description of the show I’ve read.

        • bcsizemo says:

          Giving people of questionable mental health a voice and sympathetic ear without exploiting or enabling their issues.

          And that right there is why I occasionally listen to it.  Some of the guests make the GOP and tea party people look sane.

  19. pjcamp says:

    Gum wrapper.

    Damn litterbug Martians.

  20. planettom says:

    And so began the miner 2049ers and the great Mars Silver Rush.

    All you needed was a robot mule, a stake, and the ability to spew space-prospector lingo, consarnit,  If you could do Walter Huston’s TREASURE OF THE SIERRE MADRE crazy dance in a spacesuit, you were in.

  21. teufelsdrochk says:

    And, with that, I really start to wonder if NASA deserves their funding. They’ve really gone all-in on these ‘OMGWEFOUNDSOMETHING’ press releases, which get a burst of attention but turn out to be nothing.

    For all the ‘humans are meant to explore’ stuff, the truth is they were founded as a military proxy, and lived on as a commercial necessity for communication. Now that google has the best imaging satellite and spaceX can bus pieces out to LEO–what’s the point? We live in a solar system of  rocks–NASA is further away from getting us to one than they’ve ever been–we know there’s water on mars (best proof from orbiters)–and it seems the only thing NASA is good for is looking for stuff which might hit us.

    Please, NASA, make real science interesting. If you have to resort to waving your hands and jumping up and down to get our attention, then maybe the science you’re doing really isn’t all that important. 

    • jere7my says:

      The OMGNIFTY releases are amplified by the popular press and blogs like this one. If you’re interested in the actual science that’s coming from this mission, of which there is puh-lenty, you might want to look for it yourself instead of hoping for BoingBoing to deliver it to you.

      • Mark Dow says:

        Citations please. Compared to the amount of raw data, there is currently very little science, published or otherwise. NASA folk are having a field day speculating and developing hypotheses (like this thread is), but they are now complete wimps about talking about what they think. We see the pictures, some of the data, wait months for peer review, and get the most conservative interpretation possible. Wake up NASA, you’re on fuckin Mars!

    • oasisob1 says:

      Personally, I support looking for stuff which might hit us. I don’t necessarily like living here, but it’s the only place I’ve got.

  22. Fantome_NR says:

    sorry guys, these^^^ are all great theories, but Rob’s wife FTW.

  23. Little Mouse says:

    Think I’m going to have to go with space cyborg-dinosaur. 

  24. DewiMorgan says:

    it looks like two things, actually, just appearing to be one long roddy thing because of the angle it was shot at.

    From the shadow, the  leftmost highlight might be part of the sticky uppy bit.

    The center and rightmost highlights of the “rod” are likely in the background, though, attached not to the sticky-uppy bit, but to the edge of the “ravine”.

    That’s my guess at how to view the pic. As to what the shiny bits are, though… wild guess based on the fact of what everything else in the area is made of: they’re made of rock. Shiny rock, white rock, could be either or both.

  25. Preston Sturges says:

    See the chrome 
    Feel the chrome 
    Touch the chrome 
    Heal the chrome

  26. Drabula says:

    Seriously, I rather hope we discover proof of extra-terrestrial intelligence in this manner as opposed to a fleet of UFOs appearing over the world’s capitols. It would be nice to have some time to be all *holy shit!* over it and spend at least a few decades thinking about it before we have to deal with the “real deal”. Let’s face it, once the inter-galactic overlords pay us a bonafide visit, be they naughty or nice, it’s sorta gonna be game over.

  27. Ian Wood says:

    It’s a dongle. If it’s not plugged in the planet won’t run.

  28. Bill Gibbons says:

    Where is the Space Modulator and Bugs Bunny

  29. Ryan Griffin says:

    Thor was unimpressed with Mjolnir 1.0, so he threw it into the heavens until Odin gave him something larger on his 16th birthday. Now we know.

  30. jansob says:

    Gee, too bad they don’t have the capability to drive over and get a closer look….oh wait.

  31. Maybe it’s what’s left of Beagle 2.

  32. bcsizemo says:

    Where’s the NCIS or (insert your detective show of choice here) super zoom that can take a shitty picture and turn it into an ultra high res macro shot?  Seriously NASA what have you been spending all that money on…

  33. João Varandas says:

    It’s a broken Fremen thumper, obviously.

  34. Joe Gilbert says:

     fulgurite exposed by erosion?

  35. Preston Sturges says:

    “Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”

  36. waetherman says:

    It’s a tiny (but incredibly powerful) ray gun pointed directly at Earth: “Roll one inch closer and your home planet gets it.”

  37. rocketpjs says:

    It really would be awesomely OCP if it did turn out to be a piece of a buried artifact of some kind.

  38. Cowicide says:

    What on Earth is that thing on Mars?

    Lightning hit something on the ground and super-heated it into metal.  The ground eroded around it and there we are.  Or it may be from a meteorite that is now partially exposed from erosion.

  39. Peter says:

    It’s the tip of the Statue of Liberty’s torch.



    Turns out, Mars was Earth all along after a major disaster that sent it back in time.

    I know, I was pretty surprised too.

  40. blueandroid says:

    It might be a fulgurite, or it might be a “chickenhead” erosion feature with the top at an angle that’s catching the sun.  If you look at the rocks to the left of it in the big image, you can see similar bright highlights.  Here’s a few big earth-chickenheads for comparison. http://www.mountainproject.com/images/57/13/107475713_large_655f99.jpg

  41. jansob1 says:

    Seriously, are they going to wander over and take a closer look? Seems a no-brainer. Finding that it’s something natural but neat would help people to learn not to jump to conclusions. Finding that it’s a doorway to the underground world where Barsoomians fled the drying planet would be more than a little awesome as well.

  42. Diogenes says:

    It’s the handle of a sword.  If Curiosity can pull it out, Mars will have a robot king.

  43. Steve Miller says:

    It is “a dololly that plings the inghams.” Look it up!

  44. Bloo says:

    It’s the large handle of an industrial switch or release lever.

    No! Don’t _pull_ it!!

  45. bloodybl says:

    Whatever it is, I think we should declare war on it and designate Mars an enemy planet.

  46. wilmcdaniel says:

    So that’s where I left it. Thank you NASA!

  47. Rob Wheeler says:

    R2D2 poking his eye out of the sand.

  48. glascott says:

    That, is a good wife

  49. jinkiesshaggy says:

    Martians stole the Leaper off my Jag, BASTARDS!! 

  50. kmuzu says:

    It seems most people’s first instinct is to crack some joke or to ridicule anyone who might suggest the object is interesting. I think the education industry (especially here in America) has done an excellent job of teaching us not to be curious .. It is almost religious dogma that one must never speculate – this more than anything probably explains the popularity of Twilight ..

  51. bigmike7 says:

    It doesn’t look like the “chicken head” linked to above. This is shiny, those are not.

    Has anyone here ever gone on a stroll throughout he desert and seen a piece of naturally placed metal sticking out of eroding sandstone? I haven’t. It looks unusual to me.

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