New proof of life on Mars? Sadly, no

A stunning new image taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter creates an optical illusion.

What looks like trees on the Martian surface are actually veins of basaltic sand along sand dunes.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

A stunning new image taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter creates an optical illusion. The image might look like rows of trees on the Martian surface. But in actuality, they are probably veins of basaltic sand along sand dunes, Candy Hansen, a member of the MRO team, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

This isn't the first time images from the Red Planet have piqued the public's interest. Images released last year appeared to show forests of trees ; in 2008, NASA released an image that appeared to be a person sitting on a rock but turned out to be a small rock itself; and way back in 1976, one of the first images sent back from the Viking 1 spacecraft showed a surface formation that resembled a human face.

About the author

James Martin is the staff photographer at CNET News, covering the geeks and gadgets of Silicon Valley. When he's not live-blogging the latest product launches from Apple, Google, or Facebook, James can be found exploring NASA, probing robotics labs, and getting behind-the-scenes with some of the Bay Area's most innovative thinkers.

 

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