The “gateway to Mars” in the NASA image is just a rock formation

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Some people on Twitter say NASA photos show a gate on Mars. It is actually a rock formation.

On May 7, NASA’s Curiosity rover captured an image of what appeared to be a doorway on the surface of Mars.

Since the image was posted, social media users have been asking if there is a real gate on Mars, which would be an amazing find since no intelligent life has ever been found on the planet.

THE QUESTION

Has NASA’s Curiosity rover discovered a gate on Mars?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

According to a tweet from NASA’s Curiosity rover account, managed by NASA staff, there is no gate to Mars.

“Some of you may have noticed this image I took on Mars. Sure, it may look like a small doorway, but in reality, it’s a natural geological feature! It may just *look* like a doorway because your mind is trying to make sense of the unknown,” the tweet said.

The rock formation was found at the location of the planet’s eastern cliffs, NASA said, specifically on Mount Sharp. On Mount Sharp there are natural open fractures, and the one that appears to be a doorway is about 12 inches high and 16 inches wide.

“These types of open fractures are common in bedrock, both on Earth and on Mars,” NASA said. Additional photos captured by the rover from Mount Sharp can be found here.

It’s not uncommon for someone to mistake the fracture for a door – it’s a phenomenon that occurs when someone’s brain tries to “make sense of the unknown” called pareidolia, according to the tweet . NASA said “the human brain often tries to see familiar shapes, something we can relate to” – like when someone looks at the moon and sees “man on the moon”.

Some of the tweets about the door-shaped NASA photo has called into question the timing of the photo’s release and a congressional hearing on unidentified flying objects.

Congress held a May 17 hearing to discuss Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). There is still no government confirmation of extraterrestrial life, and Congress did not discuss the gate during the hearing.

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