Is that a rat on Mars?
A photo from the mast camera on NASA's Curiosity rover reveals the dusty orange, rock-strewn surface of the Red Planet — and what starry-eyed enthusiasts claim is a dusty orange rodent hiding among the stones.
The photo, taken Sept. 28, 2012, depicts the "Rocknest" site, where NASA's rover took a scoopful of sand, tasted it, and determined it was full of weathered basaltic materials — not unlike Hawaii, the space agency's scientists said last year.
No word on how the rodent tasted, however.
The "creature" was identified on the UFO Sightings Daily website, where its finder, ScottCWaring, held tight to his opinion: That's one darn cute rodent on Mars.
"Note its lighter color upper and lower eyelids, its nose and cheek areas, its ear, its front leg and stomach. Looks similar to a squirrel camouflaged in the stones and sand by its colors,” he wrote. “Hey, who doesn’t love squirrels, right?"
Others pointed out that the similarity in coloring and position mean it was most likely just a rock, fingering the psychology phenomenon known as pareidolia, a propensity to pick out faces from everyday objects and structures.
Not all animals immediately succumb to high carbon dioxide and can resist for varying lengths of time according to the AVMA guidelines:
On the day of birth, rats and mice ex posed to 100% CO2 required exposure times of 35 and 50 minutes, respectively, to ensure death. By 10 days of age, exposure times of 5 minutes were sufficient to en sure death.272,273 For adult mink, 5 minutes of exposure is sufficient to ensure death using 100% CO2, but not using 70% CO2. Rabbits of the genus Oryctolagus also have prolonged survival times when exposed to CO2.
… It’s possible that earth animals released on Mars may survive for extended periods – enough to be monitored in secret experiments.
There are three possible conclusions over the squirrel/rat photo taken on Mars. One, the photos depict rocks that appear to be animals in a case of pareidolia, as sceptics insist. Two, terrestrial animals have been released on Mars in some secret NASA experiment monitored by the Curiosity mission. Finally, the percentage of carbon dioxide and oxygen on Mars is not what NASA is telling us and indigenous animal life exists on Mars.
Full sized image on nasa web site here: http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/694114main_Watkins-2-pia16204_full.jpg