What looks like a faceless sphinx, statues, and even petroglyphs have been discovered on Mars. The Curiosity and Opportunity rovers have captured photographic images that have had the internet buzzing for years with speculation about alien civilizations and the possibility that Mars, that barren, dusty red world just this side of the Asteroid Belt, one time harbored life of its own. News.com.au reported Oct. 28 that such speculation about ancient aliens, not to mention the possibility of ties with life on Earth, has become commonplace because of there being so many images that resemble familiar objects found on Earth.
There have been a plethora of Mars photos passed around the internet lately showing UFOs, familiarly shaped artifacts, and anthropomorphized rock formations. Among them have been objects that resemble a “thigh bone,” a “cannon” or gun, what looks like a statue of a human, a petroglyph of what appears to be a stick-like humanoid figure, a jelly donut, a sphinx (albeit faceless), and something that looks oddly like a “gear.”
Some have taken to making a cognitive (and sometimes fantastic) leap from strange natural formations and wind-scoured rocks to artifacts manufactured by ancient alien civilizations. The Ancient Aliens or Ancient Astronauts theories have been around for quite some time but have picked up considerable momentum in the past half century from the works of such writers as Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods) and Zecharia Sitchin (The 12th Planet and the Earth Chronicles series), among others. The History Channel television series “Ancient Aliens” has also contributed to the growing popularity of the theories, although most historians, astronomers, and archaeologists relegate much of the theorization to pseudoscience.
Suffice it to say, the theories contend that life on Earth began either somewhere else in the universe and made its way to Earth (in some form of what is known as Panspermia) or had a helping hand by guiding aliens throughout history. As presented by Michael D. Olien’s The Human Myth, alien astronauts, the theories attest, have aided humans, posing as gods and superior beings, at crucial periods over the millennia. Proof, they say, can be found in thousands of cave carvings, petroglyphs, paintings and unexplained phenomena — not to mention eye-witness testimony — experienced and/or detected through the centuries.
But is there really an Earth-Mars connection or just some fanciful wishful thinking on the part of those who are hopeful of the existence of extraterrestrial life? Did life on Earth actually begin on Mars? Or, as most skeptics are quick to point out (often with the help of NASA and various other space agencies’ corroboration and/or explanations), are the artifacts, monuments, and etchings all just manifestations within the human brain doing its best to make the alien just a bit more familiar? This is a cognitive process known as paridolia, a common enough mental activity that helps in suggesting common shapes and patterns from often unfamiliar and meaningless object arrangements — such a constellations from stars and animals seen in cloud shapes.