A bone-like rock with its strange pointed protrusions has been described as one of the “strange” objects ever discovered on the surface of Mars. Speculations about extraterrestrials could not be missing, of course. Scientists say they can’t rule out the possibility that an alien spacecraft that crashed into the Red Planet is to blame.
Researchers of a new study added that such a scenario “cannot be dismissed with absolute certainty,” especially since “fragments including what appear to be wheels, an axle, and a cratered debris field have been photographed at another site in Gale Crater.”
However, they believe the formations are more likely related to seismic activity on Mars. Experts said the protrusions resemble what are known as “sand spikes” on Earth, which appear on our planet during earthquakes of magnitude seven and above.
Professor Richard Armstrong, of Aston University, Birmingham, who is the first author of the research, told MailOnline:
“These structures are very unusual on Mars and unique in my experience.”
“It is not certain what causes the spikes, but evidence suggests a type of ‘sand spike’ that forms on Earth as a consequence of significant seismic activity. “However, there are some differences between the spikes on Mars and those from Earth that have been pointed out by some geologists.”
On the possibility that an alien spacecraft was to blame, Professor Armstrong added:
“The spikes are unlikely to be space debris, but nothing can be ruled out.”
He also said that the so-called “wheels” are likely to be a separate phenomenon.
But there has been much speculation about what the rock could be since the US space agency’s Curiosity rover photographed it at the base of the 96-mile Gale Crater in April.
At the time, NASA astrobiologist Dr Nathalie Cabrol said it was “the strangest rock” she had ever seen in 20 years of studying the Red Planet.
She hypothesized that Martian winds may be responsible and that these are “remnants of ripples after a lot of erosion.”
Fossilized fish bones, dinosaur remains, or pieces of an old Earth-made spacecraft have also been cited in the past as a possible cause for the sharp features.
In total, at least 10 probes, including Britain’s Beagle 2 and the Mars Polar Lander, have crashed on Mars, while experts estimate there is currently 7,119 kilograms of human debris on the surface from discarded parachutes and head shields from successful missions.
Despite this, researchers said the strange rock is unlikely to be caused by humans.
“Given that possibly 10 or more craft have crashed on the surface, combined with the disposal of equipment associated with the rover’s landing, it is possible that their tips and substrate are human-made and consist of debris that fell onto the surface of Gale Crater,” the authors wrote in their paper. One can only speculate about extraterrestrial origins.”