A short history of Bunnies on Mars

After all the blog posts, press releases and statements from NASA stressing how Curiosity wasn’t going to Mars to look for life, it seems that the rover may have landed close to an advanced lifeform after all – one that was spotted from orbit by the cameras onboard the MRO orbiter, it’s so big…

A hare. An enormous one…

Ok, I’m joking of course! I was just struck by how much an area of the dark dust dunes to the south of Curiosity’s landing site resembles a hare! šŸ™‚

This is the feature in question – an area of dust dunes, blown and shaped by the wind, into the very distinct shape of a hare…

Now there’s a lot – a LOT! – of rubbish talked and written about places on Mars that look like other things. People have “discovered” or “spotted” Aztec Cities, bridges, glass tunnels and, of course, the famous “Face” on Mars over the years. But I defy anyone to argue that that field of dust dunes doesn’t look like a hare…! šŸ™‚

Just to go back to being serious for a moment, this feature has actually proved very useful to people – pro and amateur – trying to figure out exactly where the rover set down on Mars. It was clearly visible on the low resolution images taken by the descent MARDI camera, under the heatshield as it fell away, and it was obvious looking at those images that Curiosity set down not far from it…

This isn’t the first “bunny” to have been seen on Mars, oh no. Back in 2004, shortly after the rover Opportunity landed on Mars, the internet was abuzz with people claiming a photo taken of the ground close to the rover showed a rabbit sitting on the dusty surface…

Some people even claimed that there was PROOF it was a rabbit because – and I’m not making this up – there were piles of rabbit droppings on nearby rocks…

No, seriously. Even though there’s no air on Mars for a rabbit to breathe… and no food for it to eat (or poo out, leaving droppings!)… and no water for it to drink, there were people insisting that NASA had inadvertently photographed a rabbit – or at least a rabbit-like martian life form – hopping about inside Eagle crater, close to the rover, maybe even taking a look at the newly-arrived machine…

Of course, the “martian bunny” was just some fabric off the rover’s airbags and insulation, come loose, and the droppings were hematite berries, collected in a hollow in the rocks. There aren’t any rabbits on Mars.

But the Gale Crater hare is cute, don’t you think? šŸ™‚


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