Curiosity has many a space nerd hooked to its updates, providing huge quantities of images and data to trawl through, and inspiring endless speculation over the Red Planet’s features (and inhabitants).
To mark Curiosity’s five years roaming our nearest planetary neighbor, RT.com takes a look back at some of the strangest images it beamed back to Earth.
1. Dust devils
Curiosity captured this amazing footage of dust devils whirling spectacularly on Mars as summer winds blew across the Red planet. Dust devils form as a result of sunshine warming the ground, causing the convective rising of air.
2. Bone-shaped rocks
In 2014, Curiosity set pulses racing with this incredible image reminiscent of a thigh bone. NASA was quick to dismiss such ideas, saying it likely shows rocks sculpted by wind or water erosion.
3. Star destroyer
This Curiosity image of its rocky Martian surroundings prompted UFO enthusiasts to claim it as evidence of an alien spacecraft on Mars. Funny how alien craft are eerily similar to those thought up by movie writers here on Earth!
4. Monster on Mars?
The rover’s mission is to study Mars and determine if it hosts – or ever hosted – life. This photo of dusty, jagged rocks looks pretty innocuous at first glance, but some eagle-eyed observers claim it clearly shows a ‘space crab’ lurking in the shadows. One Mars exploration fanpage on Facebook even suggested it bore an eerie resemblance to the creepy facehuggers from the Alien movies.
5. The Coffin
Aliens don’t bury their dead – apparently, they just leave them in coffins on Mars’ surface for all eternity. At least that’s what was suggested when this oblong shape was snapped by Curiosity in late 2014.
Curiosity channeled its own narcissistic celebrity with a series of images last year. The Red Planet selfie, looking somewhat like a holiday snap, comprises of 60 images taken while drilling into rock.
7. The breasted alien
A raw image taken by the curiosity rover got the attention of many UFO fans who claimed to have spotted an alien “woman with breasts and long hair” who is “attentively watching” from afar.