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Nasa's Curiosity Rover Will Not Investigate The Lizard 'Found On Mars' (PICTURES)

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It's not unusual for people to find things in space that look like other things. From the Man on the Moon to the Martian mountain that looks like a face, humans are apparently just wired to find recognisable shapes in the chaos.

The phenomenon, known as pareidolia, is a fairly common human trait.

So when an alien hunter declared that he'd found a lizard in a picture of the Martian surface taken by Nasa's Curiosity rover in 2012, we weren't all that thrilled.

And, sadly, neither is Nasa.

mars

Above: The 'Space Lizard' in question (click here for the original).

Nasa has now confirmed that its rover will not be turning back - at a cost of several million dollars - to investigate the purported alien lizard/rat/rock.

"Clearly, it results from, you know, a lot of things like wind erosion and mechanical abrasion and breakdown chemical weathering of the rocks, as to why they get these weird shapes," said Curiosity deputy project scientist Joy Crisp, of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, according to Space.com.

Instead of turning back to the mysterious lizard, the rover will instead head to Mount Sharp - a journey of about five miles that will take up to a year - to search for signs of ancient microbial life.

Before that it will complete tasks including an assessment of hydrogen abundance in the bedrock.

Still, at least Nasa isn't too bothered that people are more interested in space lizards (which don't exist) than space microbes (which might).

"It's fun in a way, too, in that it will attract a lot of the public to look at the images and learn a little bit about Mars by pulling them in this way" said Crisp.

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