It is no secret that Elon Musk wants to travel to Mars, take hordes of humans with him, and set up a permanent colony where he can be the ultimate leader. While there are many who believe Musk can do this – despite his age, lack of a rocket to get him there, no Twitter there, etc. – there are others who claim it is impossible … and not for any technological reasons either. In fact, these ‘Mars truthers’ seem to pop up whenever the public gets excited over photos and videos posted by NASA that the organization says are from one of the Mars rovers. It happened again this week on Twitter (could this be a subtle dig at former buyer turned lawsuit filer Musk?) when users spread their word that the Mars photos are from Devon Island in Canada and part of a a) New World Order conspiracy; b) Hollywood plot; c) Reptilian takeover; d) all of the above. Is there, as is the case with most conspiracy theories, a tiny element of truth hidden in this? Why has it popped up now? And what about the fake Mars landscape in Bulgaria?
“Uhm people Mars is Canada Devon island @NASA is hollywood its a big scam they already kolonised planets @elonmusk is an ALIEN LIKE @Grimezsz the #ANNUNAKI #reptilians took over our planet and tryna role out a New world order they enslaved us to digg up the gold they cloned us”
This recent Twitter post was a response to one by wannabe Red Planet emperor Elon Musk saying, “Mars may be a fixer upper of a planet, but it has great potential!” Another recent post on Facebook claimed that “Mars looks exactly like Arizona, Nevada or parts of the Australian outback desert” and NASA is merely tinting Earth photos red to fool us, before joining the Devon Island conspiracy by pointing out a nugget of truth in the theory: “NASA has already admitted to carrying out simulations at Devon Island.”
“The Perseverance Rover captured a stunning Rainbow on Mars.... Devon Island rainbows are eerily similar to the rainbow captured on Mars. NASA is selling you science fiction AND "Mars" is located in Canada.”
The tweets just kept on coming about the alleged Devon Island hoax being perpetrated by NASA. Unlike Mr. Musk, NASA has been planning its trips to Mars for decades and has been conducting simulations for almost as long to help rovers (and someday humans) operate and navigate on the planet. To prove it is no secret, NASA has pages devoted to the Haughton Mars Project (HMP) being carried out near the Haughton impact crater on Canada's northern Devon Island in conjunction with SETI and the Mars Institute. The site gets its name from the Haughton impact crater which does give it an outer space connection from 32 million years ago – material from the 2 km (1.2 mi) in diameter space rock has been found 1,700 m (5,600 ft) deep. However, it is the surface that somewhat resembles Mars in both barren terrain and sub-zero temperatures.
“NASA Lies: The “Mars Rover” Is Not On Mars, Is The Island Of Devon, Canada.”
Despite the evidence, Devon Island conspiracy theorists are not convinced, and the recent plethora of photos and videos from the roving Perseverance and its little chopper partner Ingenuity have whipped them into the recent frenzy of denials and alternative explanations. Like the ‘fake moon landing’ conspiracy, this is not the first time the ‘Devon Island hoax’ has arisen. Just two months ago, a video made the rounds on social media purporting to be ‘proof’ of the hoax by ‘revealing’ comparisons of photos of alleged locations said to be on Mars by NASA and photos from Devon Island that match them. The website Lead Stories does a nice job of debunking these claims, pointing out that one comes from a satirical YouTube video. In 2018, the hoax came up again with some conspirators accusing NASA of photoshopping a red tint into the photos from Devon Island to fool the public which thinks the Red Planet is really red and not brown.
"This is kind of mind boggling considering I actually believed they sent a rover. If they are just on this island though, where is NASA's money actually going to? The rabbit trail begins."
Perhaps the biggest flurry of Devon Island conspiracy theories occurred in 2017 when posts on the Reddit thread r/conspiracy brought it up and debated it to life rather than death. At that time the ‘fake’ photos in question were coming from the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers as well as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. At that time, Laurie Cantillo, a spokesperson for the space agency, spent considerable time on social media offering seemingly irrefutable proof that "NASA has rovers on Mars." As this writer has pointed out before, it would take an awful lot of people keeping an awful lot of secrets for an awfully long time to hide the awful truth that NASA has used Devon Island to fake all of the Mars rover missions and the U.S. government spent the budget money instead on secret organizations that run everything.
OK, then what about Bulgaria?
In July of 2020, a Facebook post showed two images – one in red of a rock column labeled “Original NASA photo of MARS” and one looking like a color image of the same pillar labeled “Pobitite Kamani, Bulgaria.” The photo (view it here) went viral with the usual "NASA lies exposed!" captions, prompting NASA to issue a statement that neither image came from the space organization. USA Today conducted an investigation in January 2022 and found the meme actually dating back as early as 2018 and had been debunked previously by Reuters, AFP and Check Your Fact to no avail. USA Today was able to locate the site of the "Pobitite Kamani, Bulgaria" image – it is a natural area in Bulgaria with unique rock columns and similar photos show up on Bulgarian travel websites and on Google Maps with no reference to Mars.
Why do so many people continue to believe the Mars rover missions are an elaborate hoax staged on Devon Island in Canada? Perhaps Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie “A Few Good Men” was right when he screamed:
“You can’t handle the truth!”