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'Spoon' on Mars catches hungry UFO hunter's attention

Dinner is served...on Mars. An eagle-eyed UFO fan spots a formation that resembles an eating utensil like we use here on Earth.

It's time to stir the soup.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Red circle by Amanda Kooser/CNET

While scientists puzzle over important Mars questions -- Is there evidence of past life there? Liquid water? -- some of us are left to ask more mundane questions, like: Was there once soup on Mars? YouTube user UFO Hunter spotted what looks like a spoon half-buried in dust on the surface of the Red Planet.

The image in question comes from NASA's Curiosity rover, which snapped it back in May. UFO Hunter shared the sighting on Tuesday, suggesting it may be "left over from a lost civilization."

As thrilling as that sounds, the more likely explanation is that it's an odd spoon-shaped bit of regular old Mars landscape.

Humans have a propensity for assigning familiar characteristics to random objects, a phenomenon called "pareidolia." This is what lets us imaginatively see sheep in clouds and everything from a fish to Donald Trump's face on Mars.

This isn't the first time a spoon-like formation has been spotted in a rover image. A gravity-defying, shadow-casting "spoon" popped up in late 2015. Maybe someday we'll find an entire set of silverware so we can throw a formal dinner party on Mars. Let's just be sure to invite the planet's ancient gods.