NASA’s Curiosity rover reportedly found an “alien door” on Mars in early May, but experts are pretty confident that they’ve uncovered an explanation for the strange sighting.
The Curiosity rover caught the image on its Mast camera on May 7, and NASA released the image later that week on their website. It appears to show what looks like a doorway built into the side of a hilly landscape. (RELATED: Multiple Military Witnesses Describe Encounter With UFO)
The doorway is less than 3 feet high, according to an email received by Live Science from planetary geologist Nicholas Mangold. Mangold quipped that “this may show the Martians were small.”
“This is a very curious image,” British geologist Neil Hodgson told Live Science, “but in-short, it looks like natural erosion to me.” Hodgson told the outlet that “these are silt beds, with harder sandy beds that stand out. They were deposited perhaps 4 billion years ago under sedimentary conditions, possibly a river.”
He also noted that he would need to see more of the outcrop to be sure of his hypothesis, or that the feature might be a “wind-blown dune.” (RELATED: ‘Are You Kidding Me? This Is Crazy’: Scientists Stumble Upon Never-Before-Seen Underwater ‘Road’)
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In the forefront of the image is a large boulder that may have fallen from the “doorway” despite gravity not being as strong on Mars as it is here on Earth, Live Science continued. The rock looks like it has a smoother vertical edge, suggesting it may have fallen out recently, the outlet noted. “It’s all very natural, and similar to outcrops you can see in many arid places on Earth,” Hodgson concluded.
Another theory is that the stone fell from the space during a “Marsquake,” which Live Science described as a seismic event on the red planet. Mangold liked the idea, but argued that “the whole mountain is seriously fractured, there’s no need of big Marsquakes.”