NASA: That 'Thigh Bone' on Mars Was Really a...
...rock. Sorry.
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2014 6:15 PM CDT
A bone-like rock is seen on the surface of Mars in this photo snapped by NASA's Curiosity rover.   (NASA)

(Newser) – Sorry, ET lovers: That "fossilized thigh bone" spotted on Mars this week was really just (can you bear the tension) a rock, NASA says. "No bones about it!" writes the agency on its website. "Mission science team members think its shape is likely sculpted by erosion, either wind or water." The Houston Chronicle calls NASA scientists "space agency killjoys" for explaining that any life in Mars' history likely existed at the microbial level, owing to a lack of oxygen to support complex life forms. And CNET notes that the rock was too crooked to be a thigh bone anyway. But today's alien enthusiasts aren't the first to dream: Astronomers claimed to see canals on Mars in the 1800s, and fans interpreted a "face" amid the light-and-shadow play of a 1976 photo of the planet's surface, reports.

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Sep 1, 2014 12:33 AM CDT
Trust your government, they gave you Obozo the Clown.
Aug 28, 2014 10:58 AM CDT
As a long-time rock hound and lapidary hobbyist, I know of no water or wind erosion process that will result in the type of shapes seen, at this apparent scale, with ONE exception other than fossils in that type of environment... As most people aren't aware of this exception, they're simply going to assume NASA is lying, and the conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day. The one exception that I know of and have seen is fulgurite, which is sand and/or other minerals fused by a lightning strike. Given the appearance of the other broken stones, the disturbance in the immediate area, and the colors, I'd say that there is a very good possibility that this is "fossil lightning", weathered out of the sand. We've known that there was lightning on Mars since at least 2008, so it's not at all unlikely to come across sand fused by it, with the chances probably even better than finding meteorites on the surface, which as you know have already been identified. So while strictly speaking there is a very slight possibility that we're seeing something like fossil bone, I strongly suspect we're seeing our first example of "fossil lightning" on Mars.
Aug 26, 2014 6:52 PM CDT
Stirrup bone.