Mesa or Mug?

If you want more proof that people are excellent at crafting narratives out of the sketchiest information, just look at what's going on with Mars. But first- back in 1976, one of the first spacecraft to visit Mars, Viking 1, took a picture of a mesa in the Cydonia region which seemed to show a face looking up out of the desert. NASA said it was just a trick of the light. Others weren't so sure.

After doing some "enhancements" that found more "details,"[ref] "Hey, so you see that dark patch that kind of looks like an eye? There's an eyeball in there! You can't see it, but it's totally there!"[/ref] it became clear that this was an alien artifact left for us to find. Personally, I think it would be more impressive to just burnĀ RESISTANCE IS FUTILE into the surface of Mars, or better yet, Earth, but who am I to question extraterrestrial intelligence?

Photographic technology (especially digital photography) has improved immeasurably since the Viking Missions, so when NASA sent the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to take a picture of the same rock formation, they found this:

Sigh. And so I continue counting down the days to April 5, 2063.[ref] For the uninitiated, this is when Zefram Cochrane's first warp flight leads to humanity's first contact with the Vulcans. Or so I've been lead to believe...[/ref]

Now, if you were David Wiegel, you might assume that because we can take sharper, more detailed pictures of rocks on Mars, it would be harder for people to see strange things that aren't really there.

Nope. The human imagination is an astounding thing, and it will always be able to- SQUIRREL!