Is this object photographed streaking through the Mars sky proof of alien life?
No. No, it isn't.
Captured by Nasa's Mars Curiosity Rover it is much more likely to be one of the other hundreds of possible objects that streak through all of space all of the time.
But that hasn't stopped serial pedlars of conspiracy cobblers from claiming it is something more.
It's not the first time - we've already had an iguana, rats, igauna-rat hybrids, a woman, alien skulls and of course a giant drawn penis.
Scientology Alien Space Cathedral - January
In the New Mexico desert is an alleged <a href="http://huff.to/WcH6Rg" target="_blank">secret Scientology installation</a> that reportedly includes a giant message in the ground -- looking like a crop circle from above. The church supposedly created the dual-circle design to guide other Scientologists returning from outer space.
UFOs Near The Moon - January
Earth isn't the only place where people claim to see UFOs. Some report watching unusual lights and objects photographed near the International Space Station by NASA cameras. And there are also individuals who use cameras attached to telescopes that reveal, they say, <a href="http://huff.to/10zOOgw" target="_blank">UFOs flying away from and toward the moon</a>.
Billions Of Potential Earth-Like Planets - February
While this isn't exactly a UFO story, it certainly touches on the enormous possibilities of other Earth-like planets that science now knows exist and could harbor other forms of like -- perhaps even intelligent life. Thanks to the amazing Kepler spacecraft, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/06/all-planets-kepler-discovered-nasa-mission_n_4226566.html" target="_blank">NASA announced in November</a> that more than 800 new planets may have been discovered by the "little spacecraft that could" -- bringing its total up to 3,538 potential planets. In February, scientists suggested that <a href="http://huff.to/WzsJcu" target="_blank">billions of Earth-like planets are much closer</a> than ever before imagined. The illustration at left depicts an Earth-like planet with two moons.
Most Popular FBI UFO Document - March
In 2011, the FBI created <a href="http://vault.fbi.gov/" target="_blank">The Vault</a>, an electronic reading room made available to the public. In March of 2013, <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2013/march/ufos-and-the-guy-hottel-memo/ufos-and-the-guy-hottel-memo?utm_campaign=email-Immediate&utm_medium=email&utm_source=fbi-top-stories&utm_content=189999" target="_blank">the agency issued a memo</a>, declaring that one particular UFO document had become -- with more than a million views since 2011 -- the most popular one with the public. <a href="http://huff.to/XddLgq" target="_blank">The document tells a story</a> from 1950 of how three flying saucers and alien bodies were allegedly recovered in New Mexico. There are quite a few discrepancies about this story, and the FBI ended its 2013 memo this way: "Sorry, no smoking gun on UFOs. The mystery remains..."
Ata, The Humanoid From Chile (Or Beyond) - April
The story of a 6-inch-tall mummified humanoid -- nicknamed Ata (from Chile's Atacama Desert where it was discovered 10 years ago) -- was, by far, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/07/tiny-alien-humanoid-among_n_3017854.html" target="_blank">the most controversial and intriguing alien-related story</a> of the year, and it's ongoing. In early publicity for a documentary, "Sirius," which featured the story of Ata, filmmakers claimed DNA analysis of the creature couldn't be medically classified. But a stem cell biologist, who conducted DNA research on Ata, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/sirius-documentary-dna-re_n_3135628.html" target="_blank">concluded the little humanoid was human</a> and had lived to the age of 6 to 8. Others claimed Ata was an unborn fetus. The story is still evolving as researchers continue to look closely at Ata's DNA.
Former Members Of Congress Hear UFO Testimony - April
In what some called nothing more than a "mock" congressional hearing, others hailed as a step forward in getting political figures to pay more attention to UFOs. At the end of April and into May, six former members of Congress, assembled for five days at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. They were part of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/citizen-hearing-on-disclo_0_n_3175272.html" target="_blank">Citizen Hearing On Disclosure</a>, a 30-hour event where 40 international researchers and military/agency witnesses testified about their own encounters and how serious other countries consider UFOs. In the end, the majority of the ex-congressional members felt there is enough credible information about UFOs that warrants a real investigation by Congress.
Ex-Air Force Officer Claims To See Submerged UFOs And Aliens - April
One of the highlights of the Citizen Hearing On Disclosure (from previous slide) was the appearance of retired <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/alien-beings-repaired-und_n_3240437.html" target="_blank">Air Force Lt. Col. Richard French</a>, who told the committee of former members of Congress a startling story. French explained how, in the 1950s, he was part of the Air Force's <a href="http://www.archives.gov/foia/ufos.html" target="_blank">Project Blue Book</a> UFO study. He recounted how he was sent to Newfoundland to investigate two UFOs that had reportedly submerged in water. French claimed to have seen the two circular craft below the water surface, as well as two "beings" in the water near the ships. He felt the 3-feet-tall humanoids seemed to be performing repairs on one of the ships. Eventually, according to French, the two craft lifted out of the water and sped away. He told the Washington committee he was convinced that he saw alien beings that day.
UFO Over Muiderslot Castle - May
Faster than the eye could follow, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/08/ufo-with-fin-photographed-in-netherlands_n_3399256.html" target="_blank">an unusual object was photographed</a> at the end of May above the landmark Muiderslot Castle in the Netherlands. When photographer Corinne Federer looked at images she took of the castle, she discovered an unexplained tubular shaped object that had an S-shaped fin on it. Former FBI Special Agent Ben Hansen looked at the images and suggested that this was merely an insect captured by the camera. What do YOU think?
UFO Hoax At Canadian Baseball Game - September
It was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/12/canada-baseball-game-ufo-hoax_n_3908612.html" target="_blank">the ultimate UFO video hoax of 2013</a>. And it wasn't perpetrated by an individual or group of kids flying a sophisticated build-it-yourself remote controlled device: this involved a science center's deployment of a drone. On Sept. 3, during a baseball game in Vancouver, British Columbia, an object resembling a flying saucer, ringed by a row of bright lights, rose above some trees beyond the right field section and was briefly videotaped. In a press release subsequently issued by the nearby H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, they admitted building a drone in the shape of their new planetarium and flying it around Vancouver (including the baseball game) to create an "extreme teaser campaign" to get the public to visit the planetarium. The image here shows (left) how the drone looked at the baseball game; (center) the actual drone during a test flight; and (right) a digital promo version of the drone. As 2014 approaches, we can only wonder how many drone UFOs will be reported and filmed.