Strange Object On Mars Surface
See Update Below

Dave Nelms

From Dave Nelms
From Chris Burt
The whole purpose of the Mars mission is to find evidence of life on Mars. If they wanted to hide or destroy that evidence they'd do it simply by not sending rovers or satellites. Secondly, the rover headed toward the outcropping of rocks in these pictures, not to driver over the object on the ground in front of the rover, but to get to analyze the rock to see if it is in fact Hematite, a mineral which only forms in the presence of liquid water. Liquid water means life. I don't see how that's trying to destroy evidence of life.
Dear Chris,
Every statement you made is wrong. You have not done one single page of your homework.
1) The stated purpose of the Mars mission is to conduct a geological survey, one of the goals being to see if conditions have ever been favorable for the evolution of life. They aren't looking for life itself. They carry cameras and geological instruments only.
2) The rover headed toward the outcropping of rocks in these pictures because those rocks are visibly layered. Layered rock can form in many ways, but the most likely two are: volcanic activity and water/wind deposition. The rover went after those rocks first because finding out what caused them to be layered is the most exciting question of the day.
3) Hematite does not only form in the presence of liquid water. It can also result from volcanic activity.
4) The layered rocks that the rover went toward are neither composed of hematite, nor are they surrounded by sediment that is rich in hematite (comparatively speaking). The hematite-rich areas of the crater wall lie farther to the left. (see mineral map for details)
Better luck next time,
This picture shows where it is with a green square then progressive blow-up sections:

There are two objects approximately ten feet apart. This picture shows them
up better by increasing the brightness and the contrast.
The inset shows the relative sizes of the objects.
From Lensman
I downloaded the large version (9MB) from the Nasa site right after it appeared on it. I noticed something in the foreground, but dismissed it as a piece of the chute/balloon assembly. When I saw the piece on Rense the other night, I immediately pulled the downloaded jpeg up and simply did an unsharp filter twice in Photoshop, and then lightened the overall tones a bit to get more fine detail, without distorting pixels.
There is something extraordinarily strange on the ground there. It looks as though it could be a number of things. A vestige of dead "vegetation" of some kind? A fossil of a dead martian insect or animal? Or, some living thing? It just doesn't look like anything on the lander and its surrounding deflated impact balloons, or anything else that might explain such an unusual object. Some have speculated that it might be a piece of the lander's descent and impact system that fragmented during impact, but when anyone who examines this in Photoshop can see that this thing looks "organic."
From: Veomega
Hey Jeff,
Just to let you know, the big image is still up, it's here:
They archive things every few days so you have to look around. Personally i think the anamolies are pieces of debris from the landing craft. If you look in the lower right, there's another scrap that's blue, red, and foil in color, clearly NASA related.

From Dave Jackson
Hi Guys!
I was able to download the image today and there are a number of peculiar items in the image. Besides the two that were pointed out previously, there is one item, in the bottom right hand corner, which sits on top of soil that was disturbed by the lander either during landing or airbag retraction.
All of the items of interest in this picture all appear to have been "blown" in the same direction (roughly right/forward of the lander). With this information, and looking at the item resting on top of the disturbed soil, my best guess is that these are items that were used to tie the lander down during flight/entry, and have blown right/forward once they were "cut" away from holding the lander on it's platform.
Dave Jackson
From Dave Nelms
Howdy Dan,
Thanks for your kind words. You sound like
my kind of guy.
Yes, when I first spotted the object, friends and I joked about it being shot in Arizona. And the possibility of a fossil being planted by the rover to enhance Dubya's chances of a Mars mission, thus re-election. We'll see, but for now, I'll tell you this: there's more to come!
Keep an eye on Rense!
At 10:16 PM 2/6/2004, you wrote:
Hi Dave:
Saw your article on Rense.
Here's my (conspiracy) theory.
The rover is not on Mars. It's a hoax. It's out in some desert somewhere and the govt wants us sheeple to think we made it to Mars. The dried vegetation or dead animal you spotted would have proved this is a fabricated, staged event, so they had to hide it.
Reasons? USA can boast we are the first to get there. Make China, Russia etc spends billions trying to get there too. They must try now, to prove they have the engineering, finances, and skills to compete.
Second, government big-shots siphon billions off of the NASA budget for their buddies (contracts for parts, etc.)
Third, keep the stupid American public busy while they steal the country while nobody is watching.
Yes, I am a conspiracy theorist. It's a hoax, and you busted them.
I'm assuming that you are the one who posted the rense article.
I believe that it is likely a fulgurite:
Scroll down to the pictures of fulgurites with branches.
ful·gu·rite (P) Pronunciation Key (flgy-rt, -g-, fl-)
n. A slender, usually tubular body of glassy rock produced by lightning striking and then fusing dry sandy soil.
It sure looks like it could be dry and sandy soil.
Keep looking - I'm the guy who found the 'trailer park' at Cydonia.

From David Maynard
Dear Jeff:
The picture in question is still available at Nasa's excellent "Astronomy Picture of the Day" archive .
I believe the object is a Martian fulgurite. A fulgurite is made from sand fused into glass by a lightning strike. They have a characteristic branching shape reminiscent of the object in the photo. is an good explanation of Earthly fulgurites. is a very nice photograph of fulgurite from Arizona.
Even though the Martian atmosphere is only about 1% as dense as the Earth's, Martian dust storms are thought to put enough statically charged particles into the air to cause Martian lightning. High voltage Martian Lightning is described here: .
Nasa should use this Opportunity to investigate the object and publish its findings.
Thank you for creating such an informative and entertaining web site that constantly explores that fractal boundary between knowledge and speculation.
David Maynard
Speculative ExoBioInformaticist
From Kim Burrafato
We got lots of press about some angularly shaped, smooth rock named Adirondack, photographed by the Sprit rover. But we haven't heard nary a peep from JPL/NASA or the mainstream press about the patently strange object photographed by Opportunity, within mere feet of it. What's wrong with this picture?
From Wilson Lindsey
If the surface of mars consists of a fine dust-like consistency reported by the media, it is unlikely that this object was created by lightning striking sand. The object looks organic, perhaps some ancient under sea life form fossil. I downloaded the original tiff file from JPL and have studied it to the best of my photo enhancing ability. It is disturbing for some reason. In any case, if NASA wants funding, all they have to do is circulate this picture.
This could be the scoop of the century. Thank you.
From Marc Spess
Hi Jeff,
I want to say that the object is really fascinating! But as to what piece of the lander it could be - the air bags are one possibility. I have NASA TV, and I watched them do the tests on the air bags in a simulated vacuum room. The test they conducted was to blow up the air bags, then drop them with a pay load inside of them on an angled floor with large rocks glued to it. What the tests showed was that the air bags got ripped to shreds. And at one point they almost stopped the project because of the damage they found.
The reason the bags survive is because they are made up of several layers of a woven fabric. When the air bag hits, the outer layers shred - and absorb some of the shock. I believe in the tests, all but the last layer or two got shredded. A technician put his hand into a hole that was about two and a half feet in diameter, and the material seemed to be very thin. Almost like a very light silk material. That is the only thing that object might be. A piece from the air bags could have been ripped off, landing to the side. The only way to know is to take a high quality image of it, which NASA has not done. And if they did they either don't think it's important to address, or they are hiding something.
As for the thermal image, if you are a scientists where would you point the camera? Right in the middle of the rock formation where the most data is. So I don't believe that they are trying to avoid the object in that picture, it's just good science.
That said I am hope the truth comes out. The object does not look like fabric!

More Comments
From Dave Nelms
Object Sat Stationary for Seven Sols, then Vanished
"I was wondering if anyone has had the thought that maybe the object in the mars pan is actually a living thing?"
Dear Dave,
I was wondering if anyone has had the thought that maybe the object in the mars pan is actually a living thing? Maybe the reason it looks like it was destroyed was because it simply moved from the location. If all the speculation about mars' sky being blue due to the presence of O2 and water, why would it be hard to believe that mars could have a desert style eco-system? Very little would be visible during daylight hours, which is when the rovers are awake. Maybe it was a fluke that the rover took a picture at the exact time this thing was in the frame.
Yes Deborah, Several have. And In fact, I consider it to be an excellent possibility. But not something that crawls - maybe more like something with shallow roots, like a fungus or plantlike creature.
The object was photographed on Sol 2 for the first time. NASA took four pictures in a row with four different filters. At this time the rover was still sitting on the lander, largely unpacked.
The next clear picture of the object was the high resolution panoramic view taken on Sol 9. By comparing the shots, we can see that the object remained stationary for seven sols. This "blows away" the theory that the object was "blown away" in the pictures from Sol 7. Another question mark?
The object appears to have a biological shape, but if it was a fossil, it should have been settled into the dirt. Yet it sat above the dirt, and now it is gone.
Where did it go? If it is part of the spacecraft, which part is it? We're still waiting.
---Mr. Nelms,
I have been following the Mars expedition photos and was really
surprised to see the 'snail-like' item spotted on the surface.
The reason I was surprised, was, I had just seen a close copy in a game
I started playing last month.
In the new 'Myst' PC game released(11/03) , URU, which we received as a
Christmas gift from our granddaughter & her husband, is a similar 'creature's'
picture. It is in a sketch on a desk in a tower in the 'Teledahn Age'.
The resemblance is uncanny.
Sorry, I could not copy the 'snail' to send to you, as I don't know how
to use the PC's Windows' copy feature while playing a game.
Very strange indeed.
Marylyn McCullough
West Chester Pa.
Interesting point, since the Teledahn Age is associated with mushrooms, and object seems to me as though it could be a fungus of some sort.
Hey Bud!
I downloaded the Mars pan shot, and I've been looking at it. I'm no expert, but I see a couple of other objects in the photo as well.
On the lower right side, there's another piece of blue and silver like the "bird". It's inside one of the bounce prints. Also, among the far left upper "exposed" rock formations, there's a spot of blue that looks like a purse or something.
It's a great picture. I think the silver and blue stuff could be part of the balloons, but that "bunny rabbit" thing is just scary!
Amen Brother.
I emailed a PlayBoy contact us address trying to get them to take up the banner. It looks enough like a PlayBoy Bunny that they could use it somewhere on one of their Cover Pages. Just a thought! If we could get them interested enough to make NASA take notice. Maybe if someone else were to contact them it might give them the idea?
Terry H.
Great idea!
Y'now, my wife said that right off the bat, but I never
thought of putting the idea to action. Good work!
"Playboy Sues NASA for Running Over Bunny"
I've been reading your analysis with great interest and I can't believe these ALL CAPS posters who do nothing but complain. TALK ABOUT WHINERS! You're doing great work and I appreciate the presentation of material in such an interesting manner. It seems to me that NASA could easily afford to hire people like yourself to present this stuff to the public (They are a "public agency" right?). It figures that the dumbed down sheople (who can't even figure out where the "Caps lock" key is) would blindly support them in their obvious theft of public intellectual property..
Dave Smith
Many thanks. You're right: A more forthright presentation could do them a world of good.
Hi Dave,
First of all, thank you for pursuing the "rabbit eared mystery object" issue.
The silence thus far from NASA makes this situation all the more intriguing.
I have discovered three anomalies from the Spirit photos
I've yet to see posted anywhere else. You can find them at:
<> (one page site). I'd very much appreciate your thoughts on
them when you find a moment. I realize that different lighting and /or
angle could render these seeming anomalies unremarkable. But as
they stand now, I think you'll agree they are pretty interesting.
Now, I'm off to look into your HAMR system!
Happy Exploring,
Ron Streeter
Howdy Ron,
My thoughts on the objects you point out on your website:
Being an avid fossil hunter with a keen eye, my action with respect to every one of the objects on your site would have been to pluck them from the soil and stow them in my pocket. You have a gift - get out and look for some fossils.
And let me know what you think about the
From Conway Costigan
Hi Dave,
Interestingly enough, NASA no longer has any image on the Rover website that shows any areas past the main rock outcropping. They have studiously avoided any acknowledgement that there is anything noteworthy.
Not only that, but they have not acknowledged that anything outside of the usual rocks exist.
Sort of like, not only does the emperor have no clothes, but the emperor isn't there to start with. They could have said that the unusual items were parts of the balloon, or bits of explosive bolts or debris, but instead say nothing - how abysmally typical. If it weren't for some of us downloading the original panoramic image, there would no longer be any trace of it.
Instead of eliciting a bit if excitement in the possible advancement of knowledge by fostering debate - that could provide a public impetus to increasing their budget - they obfuscate, doctor images, stay silent, pull images from their website. If indeed the white "twig" image was an Mars native artifact, the news would be stupendous.
Tax dollars at work stifling knowledge yet again.
Regards, Conway Costigan
If you look at the overall shape of the mystery object, it has the overall appearance of a rabbit or jackrabbit. Last night I saw at Rense a picture of a rabbit that someone had reversed using digital enhancement. The result was an image virtually the same as the one we see magnified in the photo - with the two long earlike structure attached to small round shape at the front. The most parsimonious scientific explanation is that this is a rabbit, that we are not on "mars" (call it planet Ours) in these photos, and that the lander indeed simply ran over the desert animal to avoid the likely questions that would result - "Isn't it amazing that on Mars there are small rodents that look just like ours?" Your detractors efforts with comments that assure us the government would never fool us especially when they are "not looking" for life on Mars but conveniently only looking for geological information are just silly and juvenile rebuttals. Let's have the gov tell us what happened to this object when they got near it or went over it!
Paul, Milwaukee
Hi Dave,
One Possibility: it might a fossilized lightening strike, i.e, sand fused into glass. Lightening leaves an object like that behind when it hits sand here on Earth, then again, it could also be something else, either way, JPL should roll on over and have a look-see. Ooops, I just scrolled down and see I'm not the first to think of Lightening!
If you look at the top left corner of the picture, it clearly shows some sort of pyramid with stairs. It looks better if brightness and contrast are increased. Phil
From William Burke
"FUNGUS"? "Bunny ears"? Can all these folks POSSIBLY be looking at the same object I am, or are they blind men trying to describe an elephant?
What *I* see is a skull-like object with ANTLERS - check the shadows! So why is it not buried in the sands? Maybe winds recently "un-MARSED" it - or else the guy is right and this is not Mars at all....
William Burke
From Dave Nelms
"Not sure what it is? Here's an idea: take another picture of it from Opportunity's new vantage point."
"We've heard that thing described as all kinds of things," said JPL educational spokesman John Sepikas. "Bunny ears, a claw, a crab, a skull -- all sorts of interpretations. We think it's material that came off the airbag. There are other little pieces lying around the field."
Sepikas acknowledged that NASA's identification wasn't certain, but said the agency was sure enough not to waste precious machine time to check out. With only weeks or months of life in them, and a temperamental start, NASA wants to use the slow-moving rovers conservatively.
"I'm pretty sure that the nearby rock outcropping will be the focus of attention for the next week or so," he said. "Any destination has got to have a high scientific value and that's not the case in this situation. It would be nice for us to clear up the identity, but we'd much rather have the science."
My questions are, of course:
1) Why did the object disappear in almost all of the other pictures?
2) Why did NASA say they wouldn't check it out, then drive right across it?
3) Where did it go after they drove across it?
4) Why not take another picture of it from Opportunity's new vantage point?
. . . . oh, that's right. They want to do science.
All that's missing is a few crash-test dummies.
- Dave
Hey Dave,
It's pretty clear that if the object was nothing, NASA would have said so right at the very first. And if they really were looking for life and other stuff (which they're not) they would've taken more pictures close-up before trying to pick up the object which nothing was said about.
Most of these missions are low buget to make it look like theyre doing soming something, while all the real money is going to the Air Force black projects - which have most likely already been to the moon and Mars to look at all the stuff NASA won't.
Look on images for Opportunity Sol 2 Panorama Camera. NASA noticed it and took images just for it to study it. They know it is something of interest.
Yes, it's true that NASA can argue most things away. But we shall continue to investigate till we have the proof we need. I heard that they are doing a sweep of the crater and than they will leave it. Whoever is screening the images is not doing as good a job as they like. If I find something good, I'll send it your way.
From Max
Hi, Jeff. If possible I would like to add my comment to the story of the title as per the subject heading.
Hmm. Well I have literally just seen these photo's. On very first viewing it looks an awful lot to me like a small piece of a coral formation. Could it be possible that at one time Mars did in fact have seas and thus, possibly, coral reefs? Could this object be a fossilised remnant of just such a reef? I am no expert in these matters and, quite frankly, this is only a theory based on first impressions. Perhaps someone out there who has knowledge of reef formations might like to comment? Now wouldn't it be exciting if this photo is early evidence of life having existed on another world as even a fossil would indicate that it is highly unlikely "we are alone." In fact I think I'll e mail NASA with my theory. If they have time to respond I'll keep you all updated at
Best Regards
From Mark Wright
I'd love to think it's moved, but I think its another panoramic pic of Oppurtunity off the lander. Here's a comparison picture. If you dont want to open I can post it on a url. It's quite facinating to see it still there.
Use this on your site if you like guys:)
From: Dave Nelms
"Thank God for Jeff Rense. You know he says that the internet is the last free news frontier."
is this a comment for his mars strange object page?
From: Jim Hadey
Subject: Moon Landing - could I ask you a question
Hi Dave,
I read your article on OK, I have a question that you may be able to answer. Since you seem to keep up on space stuff and things like that could you answer a question for me.
I am sure you have heard the We did not land on the Moon VS Yes, we did. I saw a good movie about each. So I don't really know, I would put it at 50/50. Could you tell me if we landed on the dark side of the moon or the bright side? If we landed on the bright side could we just get a powerful telescope, maybe a $500 one from some shop or have an amature with a good and fairly powerful one and look and find the lander rover and flag?
It would be such an easy way to prove we landed - case closed. If you do not know I would appreciate it if you could forward my letter to someone who may know and will tell the truth.
Seems the truth is hard to come by now a days. Imagine all those people writing books about Oswald not being the lone gunman ( just kidding). Thank God for Jeff Rense. You know he says that the internet is the last free news frontier. I hate to say it but what if the government says there are medical pharmcies and illeagel pictures etc. etc. and we are going to put the FCC in charge. Wouldn't surprise me one bit.
If you got the time and can tell me if anyone has ever used a telescope and saw the lander rover or flag I would appreciate it.
Thanks in advance,

Related stories
Mars Rover Picks Up
The Strange Object
NASA Hides, Destroys Possible Evidence Of Life On Mars

Mineral Map Of Crater
Misses Target Rocks, Object
Impressions NOT
A Mars Anomaly



This Site Served by TheHostPros