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‘Doorway’ on Mars has social media abuzz

Sandy landscape with rock at left and rectangular-looking doorway at right in steep rocky bank.
Mars Curiosity rover took this image of Mars on May 7, 2022. Social media is abuzz with theories on this “doorway” on Mars. But what is it really? Image via NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ MSSS.

Curiosity, a rover on Mars, took this image of the Martian landscape on May 7, 2022. Many are looking at this image and claiming to see a “doorway.” The doorway-like feature is a linear fracture in the rock. The feature is about 12 inches by 18 inches (30 cm by 45 cm); even a hobbit would have trouble squeezing through it. Remember the recent mystery hut on the moon spotted by a Chinese rover? It turned out to be just a boulder.

Human brains often picture more familiar items when faced with something new or unknown. This phenomenon is called pareidolia. This happens when we see a man on the moon, shapes of animals in clouds, or a flower on Mars.

And many also interpret the rock-cut feature on Mars as something familiar: a doorway.

Mars doorway on social media

Rough orangish landscape of rocks and sand.
View larger. | Here’s the panorama of the area around the doorway. Can you see the doorway in the larger image? Hint: look toward the center top. Image via NASA.

Bottom line: Mars Curiosity rover took an image of what some people think looks like a “doorway.” But it’s just a natural feature on Mars’ surface.

May 16, 2022
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Kelly Kizer Whitt

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