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NASA photographs “avocados” on Mars

NASA photographs “avocados” on Mars

There’s still a long way to go before humans set foot on Mars, but that doesn’t mean we’re not there. The Red Planet has been explored for 25 years by rovers sent from Earth, and one of the latest is the Perseverance rover, which has collected strange images in recent months, including an avocado-shaped stone, taken on September 8.

The latest image was recorded using Mastcam-Z, a camera mounted above the “head” of the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on the 907th sol of the Sol mission on the red planet. (The “sun” on Mars lasts longer than a day on Earth, about 24 hours and 40 minutes.)

NASA’s Perseverance rover captured this image of an avocado-like rock on September 8, 2023. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

Other examples of Perseverance sightings include a “serpent head,” a doughnut-shaped rock, and even a “part of spaghetti” on the planet’s floor. One such rover, Curiosity, has photographed a “dragon fossil” and a “kennel door” in the Martian landscape, to name a few. See more details here.

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The Perseverance rover has already taken more than 520,000 images of the surface of Mars

All of these are, of course, just impressions of the mind resulting from the position and shape of the stones, light and perspective – what is commonly known as an “optical illusion”.

These are actually effects caused by pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon common to all humans, which causes a person to recognize images of human or animal faces in objects, shadows, light formations, and any other random visual stimuli. It is a very common trick of the mind, for example, when we see clouds in the sky and identify familiar shapes.

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During more than two years of operation on Mars, the Perseverance rover has already taken more than 520,000 images. In addition, it has already collected 20 rock and soil samples, established the first extraterrestrial sample repository, produced oxygen with the MOXIE instrument and many other achievements.

The mission may have just begun. Taking its “cousin” Curiosity as an example (active for more than 11 years), Percy still has a lot to work on and discover on the Red Planet.

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