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‘Woman on Mars may be just an illusion’

tech-reviews Updated: Jan 24, 2008 01:19 IST

PTI
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Life on Mars? Well, bizarre images have emerged showing a mystery female figure walking down a hill on the arid planet.

The photo of what looks like a naked woman with her arm outstretched was among several taken on the red planet and sent back to Earth by Nasa’s Mars explorer Spirit, the Daily Mail reported today, citing an unnamed website.

“So far, scientific data available (worldwide) does not indicate life on Mars,’’ G Madhavan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation told HT in Bangalore. “I don’t think we even have a clue about life on that planet. This could be a case of optical illusion, just like seeing the shape of a deer or a person’s head on the Moon. Or the shape (of a woman walking down the hill) could be nature’s creation.’’

Nair added that “none can go by information posted on the Net or websites. Nasa has not said anything about these images, so we cannot be sure about the picture.’’

Though no official confirmation has come from Nasa whether the figure is an alien or an optical illusion caused by a landscape on Mars, it has set the Internet abuzz that there really is life on Mars.

As one enthusiast put it on the website, “These pictures are amazing. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what appears to be a naked alien running around on Mars.”

Days earlier, a team of French scientists claimed to have discovered proof that dense clouds of dry ice, which scud across the Martian sky.

Using data obtained by the Omega spectrometer on board the Mars Express, the team found the existence of ice clouds which sometimes become so dense that they throw dark shadows on the dusty surface of Mars.

“This is the first time that carbon dioxide ice clouds on Mars have been imaged and identified from above.

The images tell us not only about their shape, but also their size and density,’’ said scientist Franck Montmessin of the Service d’Aeronomie at University of Versailles.

(With inputs from B.R. Srikanth in Bangalore)