Curiosity Rover Did Not Collect Images of a Woman Living on Mars

Contrary to what some on the Internet are saying, the NASA Curiosity Rover did not collect images of a woman living on Mars.

Rumors about a woman living on Mars?

Guy Webster, who works for the press office of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA spoke to Eric Mack from CNET to put all rumors about a woman “seen” (apparently living there with a house) in images sent from NASA’s Curiosity Rover to rest.

As Mack writes, this photo has recently made its way around alien conspiracy forums, where many Internet users have concluded that the figure is a humanoid in a dress, standing on a rocky Martian outcropping. This unintentionally funny video even suggests that a section of the planet’s surface leads to the fictional woman’s house.

Just recently, a “mysterious crab-shaped thing” and a man-made pyramid have also been claimed to exist on Mars. Perhaps you are wondering: are people going crazy?


No need to worry: these kind of wild claims are not new, nor are they unique in any way. As Jeffrey Kluger of Time Magazine pointed out, this is an example of pareidolia, which Merriam-Webster defines as “the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful, image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.”

A famous example of pareidolia is seeing a picture of the Virgin Mary in the contours of a grilled cheese or tree bark. And though this tendency to falsely identify would seem useless or downright harmful to us, Kluger asserts that it is beneficial in ways, and may even have a deeply-rooted evolutionary function; the phenomenon, for example, actually proves useful in two ways: 1) it allows infants to focus on faces and 2) helps humans spot danger more quickly. Yes, although most of the time, these sightings are incorrect, it’s much better to be safe than sorry under potentially dire circumstances.

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Even though the Curiosity Rover did not collect image of a woman living on Mars, it has captured awesome images of space: