0728 GMT April 20, 2018
So you may be thinking that the discovery of ‘stick-like figures’ on the Red Planet is just another bonkers story from the wilder corners of the internet, metro.co.uk wrote.
But that’s the exact phrase NASA has used to describe the new discovery it’s just made on the Martian surface.
Sadly, the figures are only markings etched onto a rock rather than being tall, thin alien creatures — although one expert suggested they may be fossilized traces of life.
The Curiosity Rover discovered the marks, prompting NASA to tweet: “Each is about a quarter-inch long.
“Maybe they’re crystals? Or they could be minerals that filled spaces where crystals dissolved away. Stay tuned!”
Barry DiGregorio, a research fellow at the University of Buckingham, said the markings resemble ‘trace fossils’ from the Ordovician era on Earth, which started about 485 million years ago.
“They look remarkably similar to Ordovician trace fossils I have studied and photographed here on Earth,” he said.
“If not trace fossils, what other geological explanations will NASA come up with.”
Trace fossils are not actually the remains of lifeforms, but the impressions made by them.
These types of fossils include footprints, tracks and even faces deposits left behind by ancient organisms.