If everyone with an active imagination and a blog is to be believed, Mars is a wonderland of jelly doughnuts, human bones and alien-built monuments to Elvis Presley.
The latest entry in the delightful world of bizarre formations on the Red Planet is a crab-shaped object hidden deep in an image snapped by NASA's Mars Curiosity rover in July. The picture got a big social-media boost when Facebook group Journey to the Surface of the Mars posted an enhanced close-up and discussion took off with commenters saying it looks like a spider, a facehugger from "Alien" or a rock lobster.
Odd-looking things pop up in Mars images all the time, but we can excuse them due to shadows, tricks of the light, strange angles and our very human propensity for assigning familiar names to random shapes, just like when we see dragons in fluffy clouds.
What's so catchy about the crab object is that it looks like the aliens and alien creations we often portray in sci-fi. It has tendrils sticking off of it. It looks like a baby Cthulhu or something that would land on your face and suck out your life force in an original "Star Trek" episode.
It's difficult to see the sea-creature-like rock clearly. You can crop and enhance the image to make its alleged appendages stand out, but it's still a far stretch to call it the work of an alien species.
At the end of the Martian day, the crab-rock is no more than a particularly enticing cloud. We can squint and smile and say, "Hah! That one looks like a crustacean!" and then move along with our lives.