Anomalies in Spirit image Sol 076
One of NASA's Mars Spirit rover photos (Panoramic Camera: Sol 076) contains a number of objects that appear at first glance to be just rocks. A stereo version of the image was found in the Northwestern University stereo image archive with an Image ID number of 426. Careful analyses of the latter image revealed that some of the objects have characteristics not associated with rocks, and some have shapes that are familiar to us. The left and right stereo views are shown in Figure 1. While most of the significant information can be seen in the right monocular view, some impressions cannot be seen without the ability to distinguish different depths in the image. The subjective effect is much improved with a stereo viewer.
Observations emphasized in red text support the argument that some objects are more than mere rocks and may possibly be constructed.
Figure 2 shows an enlarged area around the object that looks like a torso (A). The anatomy of the torso may be compared with a human female statue such as Falconet's Bather, for example. The angle of the breasts of the Martian female are quite similar to those of the Bather. There is also a suggestion of textured clothing covering the breasts and the neck area, leaving the area between the breasts uncovered. It is unlikely that the torso is a rock shaped by some natural process, since it has another property that differentiates it from a mere rock. Specifically, touching the torso from behind is a thin, broad, smoothly curved band of material that arcs from shoulder to shoulder. Especially in the stereo view, the torso seems to be a hollow object.
In the center is another curved sheet of material (C) with markings on the surface and indentations along the edge. In front of this sheet are bars of some material (D) with the ends bent upwards at 90 degrees. The end of the bar has a point that is itself a 90 degree angle. These shapes are not at all typical of rocks seen in the Martian environment.
Just behind the latter curved sheet is a rock with additional markings (B) that many people may find familiar. The markings seem to outline the face of an alien "gray" from contemporary Earth culture. Click here for a discussion of this even more unexpected aspect of the image.
In the foreground is an object (E) that looks like a foot or boot resting on the back of the heel. The bottom of the foot faces to the right and the sole appears to be missing. The hollow interior is easily visible in the stereo view, as is some sand that seems on the verge of falling out. Following the foot analogy, the top of the ankle has the appearance of a ball joint that is connected to the foot by a visibly separate rod-like material (E1). The rest of the foot seems to be made of several interlocking pieces. The side piece (E2) has markings consistent with a grinding process as if it were constructed. The top of the foot (E3) has several markings that smoothly follow the raised center which ends in a pointed toe. This object could have been formed by some process such as erosion, but it seems unlikely given the apparent integration of multiple parts.
Figure 3 shows the enlarged area in the upper left of the photo. The right view shows most of what appears to be a feline head (A), while the left view contains only the profile of the nose. The top and back of the head are textured with what appear to be thick strands of hair. The right side of the head clearly shows what looks like a feline ear. In front of the head is a dark object (B) with a fuzzy, feathered contour, and this is also uncharacteristic of a rock.
The two smooth rocks on the ground in front of the head (C) are textured with a regular crisscross pattern that is similar to the pattern on the torso near the neck.
In the lower right of the image is an object (D) that appears to be hollow judging from the opening at its lower left.
The Mars Spirit rover image in Figure 3a, taken on Sol 078, also shows the torso as well as the complete object of which the feline head is a part. Click here to see a monochrome stereo view of the Sol 078 image (Filter centers: Left - 482 nm, Right - 436 nm). The image in Figure 3a was cropped from a colorized image derived from Sol 078 data using a program called FilterMix. The orientation of the camera to the subject is different from the Sol 076 image, but the feline head is still apparent. Further, the head is part of a somewhat damaged body which, nevertheless, models musculature appropriate for a feline. From this new vantage point, there is even a suggestion of an eye socket. There is also the hint of a tail, but this may merely be the edge of another barely visible large object. Some might say that the object is a rock formed by some natural process. If so, the feline likeness of the head, first discovered in Figure 3 and subsequently supported by the quadrupedal body shape in Figure 3a, would be a remarkable chance formation.
The large object (B) at the bottom of the picture seems to be made of hollow sections. One section has an approximately rectangular hole in the side (B1). On the bottom left of the object is etched a semi-circular outline (B2) also decorated with a series of symbols.
Also at the top right corner of this image, just visible behind the smooth sand dune, lies a smooth, almost cylindrical object (B). The end of the object appears to have broken off, exposing a darkened area just above the broken end piece. This darkened area is unlikely to be a shadow given the direction of the light in the image. The alternative is that the cylindrical shape is hollow, and the shadow is actually an opening to the object's interior.
Geometric designs also appear to be present in this image segment. The rock at the center-right of the image seems to be decorated with at least two circular designs, one positioned at the lower center of the rock (C), and the other centered near the right end (D). There is a suggestion of a third circular arc etched above Element C.
DiscussionSome people have insisted that there are nothing but rocks in the image. The noted anomalies are not anomalies at all, but are the result of an overactive imagination that sees familiar shapes in random data. However, even without making any higher-level associations with familiar shapes, there are a number of objects that appear to have properties not consistent with rocks. This issue is examined further in another report. For example, there is the thin, almost gossamer, curved band of material running from shoulder to shoulder on the back side of the 'torso'. There is the slightly thicker curved band of material just below and to the right of the 'torso'. There is the approximately cylindrical object beside the 'boot' that appears to be covered with material that was torn and rolled back. The same object appears to have a small reflective surface in its shadow. Also unusual is the number of 'rocks' that appear to be hollow. Those objects that cannot be described as rocks must be accounted for some other way.
If there were only one recognizable object such as the torso, some natural process might have given the object its shape by chance. But there are a number of other recognizable objects in the image, and it seems highly unlikely that all can be explained in this way. For example, there is the feline head, a very recognizable object complete with an ear and texture that looks like strands of hair. The head is supported by an appropriately shaped body. There is the complex hollow object that seems to be made of interlocking pieces, and looks like it could be a representation of a foot or boot. There is the large hollow object that seems to have the shape of a humanoid leg. The likelihood of finding this many recognizable, separate but related objects in one location on Mars by chance seems rather remote. Both these objects and the glyphs engraved into several of the rocks fit well into a smashed sculpture scenario. A sculptor could have created the aforementioned objects having properties not found in rocks.