May 11, 2021 I Nick Redfern

Martian Mushrooms and Photos: There’s Much More Weirdness on the Surface of Mars

Many of you will have read the very recent stories concerning nothing less than "mushrooms on Mars." Mysterious Universe's Paul Seaburn put together a good, solid summary of the data so far. He stated: "What would you say if a team of legitimate scientists released a research paper claiming they have analyzed numerous photographs of Mars taken by the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers and concluded that there are mushrooms, algae, lichens and fungi growing not just on the surface of the planet but also on the surface of the rovers themselves?" Paul notes: "Dr. Regina Dass of the Department of Microbiology at the School of Life Sciences in India responds in a press release with: 'There are no geological or other abiogenic forces on Earth which can produce sedimentary structures, by the hundreds, which have mushroom shapes, stems, stalks, and shed what looks like spores on the surrounding surface. In fact, fifteen specimens were photographed by NASA growing out of the ground in just three days!'" In light of all this, I thought that today - taking into consideration the nature of the article and its content - I would share with you some more photos from Mars that have provoked controversy, but in very different ways.

As NASA noted in 1997: "Launched November 7, 1996, Mars Global Surveyor became the first successful mission to the red planet in two decades. After a year and a half spent trimming its orbit from a looping ellipse to a circular track around the planet, the spacecraft began its prime mapping mission in March 1999. It has continued to observe the planet from a low-altitude, nearly polar orbit ever since." Not only that, NASA added that Mars has "very repeatable weather patterns" and that a "panoply of high-resolution images from the Mars Global Surveyor has documented gullies and debris flows suggesting that occasional sources of liquid water, similar to an aquifer, were once present at or near the surface of the planet."  That same panoply revealed something else; something amazing, if the data was not being misinterpreted.

Tucked away among a wealth of less controversial images from the Mars Global Surveyor were a number of astounding images that appeared to show nothing less than vast areas of vegetation; trees, even. They looked eerily like what on Earth are termed Banyan Trees. They are, essentially, trees that grow and thrive by living on other trees. It wasn’t long before the media – and the late Arthur C. Clarke – caught wind of these extraordinary photographs and what they seemed to show. He wasted no time at all in giving his opinion on this new development on Mars. Clarke made no bones about it when he said that the collective images were "“so striking that there is no need to say anything about it." Clarke was also excited by the fact that Mars’ very own Banyan Trees appeared to alter in appearance, according to the seasons on Mars. On this particular point, Clarke could not forget NASA’s words that Mars had "very repeatable weather patterns" when he said, "Something is actually moving and changing with the seasons." To this day, the debate goes on.

Trees on Mars? (NASA)

Now, let us take a careful look at some of the other imagery that has been collected, studied and placed into the public domain as evidence that there was (and possibly still is) life on Mars. One particular case - that I personally think has a high degree of merit attached to it - concerns what has become known as the "Face-Hugger photograph." Taken in July 2015 by NASA’s Curiosity Rover, it appears to show a strange creature that looks astonishingly like the monstrous face-invading creatures that appear in the phenomenally successful series of Alien movies. The article included the words of Seth Shostak, a skeptic when it comes to the matter of life on Mars, and the Senior Astronomer and Director of the Center for SETI Research; "SETI"” standing for "search for extraterrestrial intelligence." Shostak said of the strange looking thing and other allegedly anomalous photos that reach him from time to time: "Those that send them to me are generally quite excited, as they claim that these frequently resemble something you wouldn’t expect to find on the rusty, dusty surface of the Red Plane. It’s usually some sort of animal, but occasionally even weirder objects such as automobile parts. Maybe they think there are cars on Mars."

On the other side of the coin were the words of Scott Waring who, at UFO Sightings Daily, said that: "It does appear alive. It may be a crab-like animal, or it also may be a plant. This object has many arms and one of them goes to the left of the picture a very long ways. That arm is longer than all others. Plant or animal it really doesn't matter. The significance of this is that it shows signs that it is alive. That is everything, but not to NASA." And, that’s pretty much how the online debate went on.

A real-life Face-Hugger...on Mars? (NASA)

Now, onto a certain Face on Mars. No, not the face that just about everyone has heard about and seen in NASA's very own pictures. Rather, the other, far-lesser-known face. A photo taken in the Libya Montes area – a ring of mountains on Mars - by the Mars Global Surveyor appears to show a large face, with a pointed chin, a pair of eyes and a nose. Nostrils, too. Also, what appears to be crown-like headgear - hence the name that has been attached to it, – whatever “it” may be. Pareidolia? Certainly, it could be. The mysteries of Mars (and the attendant photos) continue to provoke controversy.

An ancient carved head on Mars or the equivalent of seeing the face of a dog in clouds? (NASA)

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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