Does picture at left show a rock? A Universe Today article, “Scientist Explains the Weird Shiny Thing on Mars,” offers mundane explanation for anomalous object spotted last week by Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars (original left, closeup right). The article explains “… images from the Curiosity rover showed what looked like a piece of shiny metal sticking out from a rock. Some of our readers suggested that it might be a handle or knob of some kind. It’s a knob, yes, says Ronald Sletten from the Mars Science Laboratory team, but a completely natural formation. Sletten, from the University of Washington, explained that, not surprisingly, it is actually a part of the rock that is different — harder and more resistant to erosion — than the rest of the rock it’s embedded in…As far as why it appears shiny, Sletten said, ‘The shiny surface suggests that this rock has a fine grain and is relatively hard. Hard, fine grained rocks can be polished by the wind to form very smooth surfaces.”
The greater question is whether you buy explanation, and possibly, a measure of how far gone your ability to engage in critical thinking? Howard Hughes interviewed Richard C Hoagland recently on The Unexplained (.mp3), who asserts virtually every Mars panorama shows debris from ancient technology! “NASA is lying,” believes Hoagland and offers opinion, people are conditioned to uncritically accept explanations provided them. People also have a great need to trust, and Hoagland suspects, their world would fall apart if they could no longer trust authority. Do you see a rock or a piece of shiny metal?