A blogger claims to have spotted a lizard in a photograph of Mars.

While studying a picture of the Red Planet taken by the Curiosity rover, an alien-hunter in Japan found something unusual between the rocks.

And while it might look like just another rock at first, squint your eyes and something very different seems to emerge - the shape of a lizard.

Or, if you have a good imagination, an actual one.

mars


The picture (which is at least based on a real Nasa image) was first brought to conspiracy theorists' attention in March, but after it was recently published on a popular English-language blog its fame has exploded.

Needless to say, it is essentially impossible that any lifeform of that size (especially one that looks so similar to lizards on Earth) could survive on the freezing, toxic surface of Mars. Nasa's spacecraft on the planet have recently found conditions that suggest ancient microbial life was once possible - but that's not quite the same thing, unfortunately.

Undeterred, UFO Sightings speculates that Nasa might be involved right from the start:

"With water existing on Mars in small amounts, its possible to find such desert animals wandering around...although very rare mind you. Then again, is Nasa placing animals from tiny cyogenic chambers inside the rover onto the surface of Mars to conduct tests?"
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  • Non-Habitable Rock vs. Habitable Rock

    This set of images compares rocks seen by NASA's Opportunity rover (left) and Curiosity rover (right) at two different parts of Mars. The rocks observed by Opportunity were determined to have been uninhabitable due to high acidity, but the rocks observed by Curiosity were likely submerged in a more neutral liquid environment, raising the possibility that they could have once hosted life.

  • Drill Sample

    This image from Curiosity shows the first sample of Mars rock extracted by the rover's drill.

  • X-ray Diffraction Patterns

    X-ray diffraction patterns of samples from two different areas on Mars' surface. On the left, a windswept, rocky environment that was likely uninhabitable; on the right, a lake-bed environment with likely neutral pH that may have been capable of supporting life.

  • Earth Analog

    A modern, Earth analog to the area NASA's Curiosity rover is currently exploring. Left, clay-bearing lake sediments exposed in a pit in southern Australia. Right, a core sample from the lakebed.

  • Soil Quality

    Left, a rock abraded by instruments on the Opportunity rover, showing reddish brown soil indicative of hematite, a substance not especially conducive to hosting life. Right, a hole drilled by Curiosity, showing the greyish, iron-rich rock underneath, which may be more compatible with habitability.

  • Curiosity Neighborhood Map

    This map depicts the area in Gale Crater where the Curiosity touched down. The "John Klein Rock" is where Curiosity drilled its first soil sample.

  • Chemical Analysis

    A chemical analysis of a sample taken by Curiosity indicates the presence of water, carbon dioxide, oxygen, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide released on heating.

  • Carbon-Compound Analysis

    The "John Klein" sample reveals the presence of simple carbon-containing compounds chloro- and dichloromethane in Mars' soil. These detections indicate that the analysis instruments are functioning properly and can continue searching for organic compounds.