The war between skeptics and crackpots has been raging online over images beamed back from Mars by the Curiosity rover. People continue to spy Martian hotties, space rats, and a Martian Lizard King that will one day rule us all, but these figures appear to be tricks of the mind and not signs of Martian life according to project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada, who spoke to CNN about the phenomena.
“We have no evidence of Martian iguanas or rats at this time,” he says. “One of the best things we found is that Mars could support life, (but) if anything we think it’s microbial life that’s possible at this time. Things like rats and iguanas would be way further up the food chain that we think Mars may have ever gotten to.”
So, is that a dose of reality for you, fervent believer? Or are you fixated on Vasavada’s use of the term, “we think” and the fact that, yeah, totally looks like a lady and also a lizard and certainly a rat?
To play devil’s advocate, it’s not like the first real image of Martian life is going to match what we’ve always imagined it would, and as Vasavada says in that same article, it’s stunning how “un-weird” the Mars surface appears to be and, “how much it looks like Earth.” With that in mind, can you blame people for wanting to believe that Martian life is both exotic and familiar?