The Mystery Of The Strange Vanishing Object On Mars Has Been Solved

Earlier this week, a strange silhouette appeared on one of the early pictures taken by the Mars Curiosity rover's Hazard-Avoidance Cams. Shortly after that picture was taken, the mysterious shadow was gone, causing a firestorm among conspiracy theorists worldwide.

The answer to the mystery was simple — and pretty cool too:

According to NASA, it was the impact plume created by the sky crane's crash on the Marian surface.

The images shown in this animated GIF were taken 45 minutes apart, which explains why you can see the impact plume on the first but it's gone on the second.


Comments

    To me... it looks like the silhouette of a Martian sticking his hand over the top of a hill and giving Curiosity the bird with his middle finger... (or tentacle?)... um... maybe it's just me having had too many beers perhaps?... cheers...

    Ahhh, modern technology, where would we be without it!!

    ... um...sorry... my name should read 'stickyfingers' by the way... those damn beers...

    I think that is complete Bollocks and Bullocks

    ILLUMINATI ( ALIEN CONSPIRACY )

    The famous astronomer Carl Sagan once said something like: if there are Martians, they will be us! Mars promises to have many surprises. It will also be a rich source of minerals, as well as a place to set up outposts for our civilization. There are people living today who will live their lives out on Mars in the future.

      Nicely said. Although I'm not as confident as you that anyone alive today will inhabit Mars, it's certainly going to happen at some point (providing we don't destroy ourselves first).

        you can't really address the author of that quote as "you" as he died over a decade ago.

          I'm pretty sure he's referring to Rudy K, rather than the late Prof. Sagan.

        Maybe visitors, but I doubt they will live out their lives there.

          I think its harder for them to make a 2 way trip so the first people who do go to mars will probably end up being stuck there for the rest of their life or at least a long time till they create a spaceship to go and get them back!

            Not really, we can already go there and back if the right political will was present.
            Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Direct
            Watch/read: The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet... (bizarely R18 on ps network, for absolutely no reason that I could tell.)

            We have the tech available NOW.

              Well thats pretty cool, if it can work. Not doubting it but the key factors are money and time.. probably they think its not worth bringing people back.... theres also this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_One

        Peak oil will happen sooner than allowing for us to inhabit mars. We won't be able to get to mars in the future, no efficient fuel source. Our days of playing in space are coming to an end sadly.

    Come on, it's a transformer, we all saw the movie, you can't fool us.

    I'm not convinced...

      In your world, what proportion of what NASA says is a lie?

    at 63 years old i have been lucky to have seen so much development in this world moon landings now mars landings wow what a time in the history of the earth to have lived wonderful

    I don't think it unreasonable to to believe that we will inhabit Mars one day. Modern science is wonderful and surely can implement the changes we would need. By the way, is that camera providing data for Google Street View?

    I wished they'd hurry up so we can colonize Mars... I wouldn't mind a change of scenery! :P

    I am not even convinced that there will be any humans at all in a few thousand years, considering how we are destroying our mother planet.

      just think how far we have come in 50 years. 1000 is probably impossible to predict

        The last 50 years have seen advancement in IT and communications. Other than that, we're pretty much doing everything the exact same way...

          Except cars that basically drive themselves, trains that could nudge 400kph in near silence, passenger jets that break the sound barrier... oh, and remotely driving on other planets.

          But yeah, pretty much the same as the 50s.

      Humans aren't "destroying" earth. Stuff like global warming is bad of course, but if humans and animal species suffer reduced populations because of it that doesn't matter to the earth at all. The planet will still be here long after we've gone and new animal and plant species will adapt to whatever conditions we leave the place in.

    I fear that we will destroy ourselves here first and then go and destroy everything on Mars. This may be cynical but we, homo-sapiens sapiens, are the only truly destructive animal on planet earth and we will continue on Mars when we have wrecked this one!

    Looked like the outline of the Emerald City to me.....maybe Curiosity will find a yellow brick road ;-)

    Agree Blackhawks. The environment can't support anything we need (agriculture etc. for our food supply, oxygen for our survival). It cost umpteen billion dollars to get one vehicle to the joint so how the heck do you get people there with any sustainability?? There may be many equivalents of "Earth" in the universe but I don't think we will ever have knowledge of each other.

      'Umpteen'. 2, I think you mean. You also have 'umpteen' hands and nostrils.

        Guess what, most of the atmosphere on Mars is CO2. Plants use CO2, water and light, to make sugar and O2 as well as fruit. Send a lander filled with plant seeds and water, a heap of solar panels to charge batteries to keep the lights on 24/7, maybe even a couple of RTGs to keep the temperature up. a little while later humans land and make use of the oxygen and food produced by the plants to survive, while they are refining steel (the reason Mars is red is because there is a lot of iron oxide) to make a larger more permanent shelter and plant more plants to support a larger group of people.

          Even a whole Amazon rainforest full of plants would take many decades to produce the oxygen needed for humans on Mars. I doubt many plants would survive the horrible atmospheric conditions... Maybe inside of huge inflatable climate controlled greenhouses?

    ALIENS

      Please tell me that was a very rimmeresque reference

        That one word should've been enough for you. Dont you get it? ALIENS!!

    Its very understandable that Conspiracy theories arise from events like this, because the matter of the fact is, we (the people) have no hard evidence that Nasa sent a rover to Mars except that they told us they did. We are simply believing they did because they told us they did and showed us some pictures. Which lets be honest here, could have easily been taken on earth.

      Remi, would you be happy if they sent you to Mars to confirm that Curiosity is indeed there?

      "Its very understandable that Conspiracy theories arise from events like this, because ..." Because what? Because many people are lazy and do not have the intellectual energy to distingush fact from fantasy, preferring to think of themselves as hapless "victims" of some absurd, impossible conspiracy, rather than think, expore, investigate, analyze, evaluate, and posit a reasonable explanation of verifiable phenomena? I'll bet the last book you read had lots of nice pictures, few words more than two syllables, and not too many pages. Tell me Remi, what "hard evidence" do you have for the existence of Mars itself? Or NASA? Or the physical universe? Or yourself? Take your time answering.

        +1. Gold

      You would have to soundstage it. The lighting is different, and a gust of wind would ruin the whole thing. Then I think it would be still impossible to do because you are not trying to fool the public but every single geologist.

      Mars is a conspiracy theory

      That could be said about everything though. The holocaust? Yeah, there are even people who believe that didn't happen. And why should they? People just told them it happened and showed them pictures.

      I'm not saying we should believe everything we're told, but we don't have much of a reason not to believe NASA about this. After all, we all know that we do actually have stuff in space. We can see it, we use satellites ALL the time, we've left things on the moon that we can use to prove that we (as a species, doesn't prove humans actually went - but I believe they did) went there.

    Wouldn't the sky have crashed long before the first pictures were taken? Seems to me a bit too lucky to have landed the rover, fired up the cameras and photographed the crash before the dust settled.. .

    Remi. you do realise how many people work at NASA. There are far too many people that work there to keep "A Rover conspiracy" secret and why lie about sending a rover to Mars? Oh well each to their own when it comes to conspiracies I guess.

      Oh man this, so much this! The same goes for the moon landing, if it was all fake how has NASA kept all those people silent for 40+ years?

        Agreed.

        The other thing that makes me angry is that when astronauts were training to go to the moon, 3 of them lost their lives in a fire inside a trial lander. All you conspiracy theorists should ring their families and tell them that it was fake. If conspiracy theorists think they are going to win this battle, show me your qualification in physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astrophysics, quantum mechanics and maybe I will spend more than 2 seconds acknwledging your existence.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    Send the rover over to the wreckage of the sky-crane to shush up half of the Conspiracy theories that this has brought up.

      Danger of explosions from unspent fuel exist. Not wasting a rover on that chance. Anyway HiRISE shots show that it is over there.

    The answer is 42

    I never stated my position on the matter. i merely said its understandable conspiracies arise.

    The fact that people get the bulk of their scientific knowledge from Hollywood makes it understandable that conspiracy theories arise.

    hi rudy k what you have to unerstand there will nobody live on mars in near future.share holders been there long time ago,as well on all other dead planets,jumping from one to another,untill they find them selves in the corner,and nowere to jump.all this had government approval,so there is nothing to worry about.before man destroys him self he will give nobel prize to him self for his destructive achievements.

      "before man destroys him self he will give nobel prize to him self for his destructive achievements."

      And the women will watch on and laugh at us all.

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