Squirrel on Mars? Nope.

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Did NASA Put a Squirrel on Mars?

Recent pictures released by NASA show the rocky and barren landscape of Mars, as taken by the Curiosity rover. One picture (here), in particular, has caused a lot of speculation, as people claim to clearly see a squirrel-like rodent hanging out among the rocks. If you care to search for it yourself, follow the link above. Below the picture on NASA’s site, there is a link to view the “Full Size” image. Click on that… The anomaly is on the left-hand side of the picture, a little less than halfway up. Here is a close-up if you don’t feel like searching:

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Click to enlarge.

Okay, so it does resemble a squirrel. And Richard Hoagland is undoubtedly unable to sleep, searching for more woodland creatures on Mars.

Needless to say, the photo has generated a lot of theories. One is that NASA itself put a squirrel on Mars to observe how it would react when released on the planet. Not as far-fetched as other theories, though it has its problems. For one, it’s pretty clear how a squirrel would react on Mars without actually sending it to Mars… it would quickly die. I suppose it may be possible that someone very powerful at NASA had a vendetta against a particular squirrel, and wanted to scare the hell out of it before a lonely, painful death. It seems unlikely.

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close-up of the squirrel on mars

The other problem with the Squirrel-on-Mars-as-Experiment theory is the fact that NASA published the photograph of it – in high-definition, no less. If an experiment of that sort took place, the space agency would certainly understand that it would cause a lot of anger among animal-rights supporters. It would take particular care to NOT release a detailed photograph showing the squirrel in it’s final frightened moments.

On the website of the True Democracy Party, a self-described “Anti-Masonic” political party, there is an article called “Martian Ground Squirrel Photographed by NASA”. The administrator notes at the end that “There are Cities on Mars far more advanced than ours and 10 times bigger to start. And all we get to see is a damn Martian Squirrel.” I admire his enthusiasm, but I’m convinced it’s a rock. He does go on to say that the site will be presenting pics and videos soon that will “simply amaze”, and I hope he’s right.