The adventures of Mars Rover Curiousity since its launch and arrival on the red planet on August 5, 2012 have captivated many. The data and evidence it has gathered about Mars is being thoroughly analysed by scientists each day.
However, this is not NASA's first Mars exploration project. They have been gathering data from Mars since decades. Viking 1, Spirit, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, etc. The discoveries during these programmes have led to lot of controversies and unnecessary hype.
Here are a few remarkable yet weird things that these exploration programmes found:
1) Mars Faces: Mars faces or "The Face on Mars" as they call it was discovered when Viking 1 mission returned photos of the Martian surface in 1976. This image was of a rocky face in the Cydonia region of Mars. The image which was officially released by NASA captured a lot of public interest.
On July 25, 1976, Viking 1 captured the image of a pile of rocks that greatly resembled a human face. When NASA released the photograph almost a week later, they described it as a "huge rock formation in the center, which resembled a human head."
2) Woman on Mars: The images of this mysterious woman was sent by Mars explorer Spirit in January 2008, which showed a woman perched on a rock with her outstretched arms. While G Madhavan Nair, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation called it an optical illusion, NASA did not confirm any details about it.
However, this image was sufficient to create the hype.
3) Spidery black objects: Strange black objects were observed from a height of 200 miles above the surface of Mars. The image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 27, 2010. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey from Hungary gave their proposed explanations but the one which was widely accepted was a bit unnerving. These spidery traces were accepted as clumps of dark, basaltic sand thrown from the geysers or colonies of photosynthetic Martian microorganisms, as predicted by a group of Hungarian scientists.
4) Shiny thing: The image was taken by Curiosity on January 30, 2013. The image shows what looks like a piece of shiny metal sticking out from a rock. Scientists have said that there might be a possibility of metals on Mars because of the winds and the of erosion of rocks.