On Monday, NASA made the very exciting announcement that after years of speculation and finding various pieces of evidence, they'd officially discovered liquid water on Mars. The new discovery means that there is a greater possibility that we'll eventually find some form of life on the red planet — perhaps the most tantalizing aspect about Mars exploration for scientists and the general public. Our culture has had a long fascination with Mars. The planet has been prominently featured in pop culture, particularly in science fiction movies, television and books. The fixation and wonder surrounding the fourth rock from the sun has prompted people around the world to imagine what might lie on and below its surface. Some people have been more imaginative than others, and thus we have more conspiracy theories about Mars than we can shake a satellite at.
They say that the truth is stranger than fiction, but I'm not sure that sentiment really applies in the case of these bizarre ideas about the unknowns of Mars. Suffice it to say that when it comes to Mars conspiracy theories, NASA is almost always behind a cover-up, and there are many, many blurry photos involved. In honor of the very real discovery of flowing water on Mars, let's open our minds and hearts and take a look at some of the "best" conspiracy theories out there.
Mars Will Be Used To Sell Climate Change
Class-A blowhard Rush Limbaugh has already chimed in with his two cents on the confirmed discovery of liquid water on Mars. On his radio show Tuesday, Limbaugh hypothesized:
Don't know how long it's going to take, but this news that there is flowing water on Mars is somehow going to find its way into a technique to advance the leftist agenda. I don't know what it is, I would assume it would be something to do with global warming and you can — maybe there was once an advanced civilization. If they say they found flowing water, next they're going to find a graveyard.
So according to Limbaugh, the discovery of water on Mars is just a ploy to advance a climate change agenda. Makes perfect sense.
NASA Is Lying About Life On Mars
A commenter on the site Conspiracy Outpost has suggested that NASA has long concealed information about life on Mars, and that the announcement about flowing water Tuesday was merely to warm the public up to the idea of life there. The poster suggested that the lead-up to the announcement was just to "create drama." But if drama was what NASA wanted, I think it would just tell us about life on Mars. But what do I know?
The Face On Mars
The "face on Mars" was first observed in the 1970s, after NASA sent Viking 1 and Viking 2 to orbit the red planet and take photos. Conspiracy theorist Richard Hoagland looked at the photos and thought he saw an image of a face, which he claimed was definitive proof that there was alien life on Mars. Hoagland also wrote that NASA edited the images of "the face" to make it look less ... like a face, in order to cover up the discovery of alien life.
The Hidden Martian Army
This is a really good one. In April of this year, a Canadian man named Andre Gignac claimed that upon examining photos taken by a Mars rover (like the one pictured directly above ...), he spotted a bunker with at least one soldier near it. According to The Daily Mail, Gignac further theorized that the bunker could be an access point to another, larger bunker. He also stated that he was able to see missiles and other weapons near the bunker.
The Mars Lady
In July, the website UFO Sightings Daily (yep, it's a real thing) posted a black-and-white NASA photo which they claim shows an alien woman watching the Mars rover. The analysis of the photo included observations such as "The woman seems to have breasts ... indicated by the shadow on its chest." Martian boobs. Who knew?
My favorite by far is the fossilized Martian iguana. In November of 2014, The Huffington Post wrote a story about conspiracy theorists who had claimed to have discerned perfectly preserved fossilized iguana on the surface of Mars. Basically, it's just a rock that looks like an iguana from the right angle, which I agree is cool. But I'm still not clear on how these people imagined an earthling reptile was surviving up there. Maybe the little guy had a special astronaut suit made for him by the soldiers who are up there.
The Nuclear Crater
I bet this theory delighted the daylights out of Andre Gignac. An Indian probe captured some photos of Mars that appeared to depict a crater from a massive explosion on the surface. The image caused conspiracy theorists to believe that NASA nuked an alien civilization and was trying to cover it up. The idea was, of course, thoroughly debunked by many scientists from around the world. But that never stopped a true believer.