It’s NOT A Martian Yeti!


The local NBC affiliate ended the news cast this evening with a silly little story about “humanoid like figure” found on Mars (by the Spirit rover, although I don’t believe he mentioned that detail). It’s a rock.

Like usual, Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Society does a great job of reporting the facts.

The color photo of Bigfoot, in all its graininess, seems like a snapshot that Spirit took with the color camera on its mobile phone, catching a space alien visitor in motion as it dashed across the crater floor. It’s easy to forget that color images from space are almost never taken all at once, in one snapshot. Nearly all cameras sent to space have monochrome detectors. To obtain color images, they have to take a photo of the same spot at least three times, each time with a different-color filter placed in front of the lens. In this case, Spirit took aim at that particular spot first with blue filters over both its left and right eyes. A minute later, having saved the first files to memory, it rotated the left-eye filter wheel to place an infrared filter over its left eye, and shot the scene again, and saved that image to memory. Then, about half a minute later, it was ready to shoot the scene a third time, with a green filter over its eye. Do you see what I’m getting at here? That weird little twisty piece of dark rock that looks like a humanoid figure stood perfectly still while the three images were taken, between 11:58:53 and 12:00:13 local time at Spirit’s landing site.

And it’s not the only time the rock’s been photographed.

The Navcam version of the panorama was captured fully three days earlier than the Pancam version and you can see that Bigfoot is in exactly the same position on sol 1,364 as it was on sol 1,367.

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