Science

Stick Figures On Mars Puzzle Twitter Users

Scientists have been exploring the surface of the red planet for years, always looking for new discoveries that could eventually lead to colonizing the planet and enabling it to support life as we know it here on Earth. Meanwhile, conspiracy theorists and other people fond of the planet, will debate whether aliens live on the planet. The newest images captured by NASA’s Curiosity rover display something that resembles stick figures on Mars. The images were posted on the robot’s Twitter account on Jan. 3 and ever since, users of this social network are debating about the creation of the stick figures.

Stick Figures On Mars
Image source: Curiosity Rover/Twitter

The rocks that the rover has stumbled across have already interested scientists, as the same area has been looked at by NASA during another mission. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been orbiting the red planet since 2006 and scientists have been interested by the bluish color of the region.

Rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager took the images, and scientists used them to look at the stick figures on Mars up close. The camera can take images with features that are as small and thin as a strand of hair. The Curiosity scientists weren’t able to determine what the reason was behind the stick figures having this odd formation. The original post has the rover team suggesting that the figures could be crystals or minerals.

Nevertheless, the internet twitter users offered several snarky suggestions on what could be behind the odd formations on the red planet, some suggesting that the figures are remains of a Martian dinosaur or snake. One of the suggestions was posted from a Twitter account named “SarcasticRover” which implied that “it” found remains of the fossilized snake. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty sure bet that the stick figures on Mars don’t belong to any living creature, but are rather just oddly shaped rocks, minerals, or crystals.

Curiosity still needs to figure out what is behind the formations, with the help of a tool called an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer, which will gather info regarding the chemical composition of the rocks. The tool creates a barrage of positively charged helium particles and x-rays which force elements located in the rock to identify their chemical composition by creating a unique energy signature. There is only one problem, it could take it two to three hours to sequence every part of the rock.

Scientists behind Curiosity also want it to analyze the rocks with another instrument, the ChemCam, which will pulverize small amounts of rock with lasers and reveal their composition.