The coffin. On Mars


There it is.  In the middle of the photo.

There could be a mysterious stone coffin on Mars. Or, more likely, it’s just the latest example of pareidolia — seeing faces and other objects in our surroundings.

The phenomenon refers not only to seeing things in objects, but spotting something significant in anything random. That includes hearing messages on records that aren’t there — and also common space-based sightings like that man in the moon or the Moon rabbit.

Scott Waring, a blogger who writes about examples of suspicious objects in space as well as other conspiracies, said that a coffin-shaped rock he spotted — which then went viral — should be enough to make the Mars rover turn around and go back and investigate.

“It looks to be about one meter across and a foot and a half wide and high. Lots of alien species are short, including a species of greys.” (Greys are the kind of alien often depicted in cartoons — with big heads and smooth grey skin, from where they get their name.)

This has nothing on the skull on Mars.  


But a look at the larger pictures show just how many potential objects of interested could be spotted in that one photo alone. There are hundreds of rock formations in the shot — any of which could have tumbled in such a way as to look like something else.

The phenomenon is part of our evolutionary heritage, according to some scientists, helping us to detect faces from birth.

Dr Nouchine Hadjikhani  told the BBC: “If you take a baby just after a few minutes of life, he will direct his attention toward something that has the general features of a face versus something that has the same elements but in a random order”.

Seeing something significant is almost always a better bet than not doing, in terms of evolution. Early humans unsure of whether a shape in the distance was an animal or just a nicely-formed rock, for example, would have almost always been better choosing the former option and running.

The best one so far, is this one I think



Some people believe that we used to live on Mars, but came to Earth to escape a dying planet.

It has always been believed that if there was a race of aliens (Martians)
on the planet Mars they would have been technologically advanced
and superior than our current civilization; however, theory number two
would suggest that Martians were somewhat close to our modern
age technology and knowledge.  This would make a mission to save
their race from a dying planet very difficult in means of preserving
everything they have amounted.  Picture a civilization with a
technology like that of the 1960 space program.  Could such a
civilization land on earth (where more humans could have existed) and
re-establish a technologically advance civilization again?  Perhaps
they did and our technological advancements have been knowledge
that has once existed and we are once again beginning to perfect it.

Our interest in Mars is one of “home sickness” and our desire to
re-visit our past.  If we truly are “beings” that came from Mars long ago,
then we are the descendants of the Martian people and going to Mars
to seek our history becomes more than just a journey into the Solar
System, but rather, our historic duty and obligation!

Jokes aside, the question remains:  what is our fascination with that planet?  As a species we’re spending a lot of resources on its (re?)exploration.   Is this part of human history, rather than the future?


– The Independent,



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  • Rick H

    Some say the sun is slowly running out of gas, and will gradually get cooler.
    Mars is now, and will only ever be too cold for life.
    With the sun reducing in heat over the next who knows how many millennia, it should be Venus we look to for our next living place, I would have thought.

    But, that is currently far, far too hot for anything from Earth to do anything at all with.

    • mark14

      I think it’ll take longer than that.

    • notrotsky

      The sun will get larger as it runs out of Hydrogen – Mars, venus and earth will all be consumed… it will be in the far distant future we will be long long gone by then one way or another.

    • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

      If its getting colder lets get some humans there to create some global warming. A few coal fired power stations would be a start.

    • rangitoto

      It gets hotter as it runs out of gas. Helium is a lot denser than hydrogen at the same temperature. As hydrogen gets converted in to helium the Sun’s core contracts and gets hotter and the rate of hydrogen to helium conversion slowly increases until the core runs out of hydrogen. Then it gets even hotter and starts converting helium into carbon and oxygen (red giant phase). Once there is no Helium left in the core then you end up with a white dwarf remnant mostly made of carbon. The Earth will be well and truly cooked long before then.

  • cows4me

    There are so many anomalies coming out of Mars photos these days it’s getting ridiculous. There have been many occasions NASA has claimed they are about to make earth shattering announcements but it turns into some pitiful trivial thing. It must be clear to the all but very stupid that life has and does exist throughout the universe, when will the so called authorities say, yep there is. Do our betters think such news would destroy our social fabric, do our betters think that people will panic and run amok ? Or perhaps it’s more a fear that the great unwashed will no longer see them as all knowledgeable all wise. Personally I can’t see such an announcement making a scrape of difference to the many lunatics that run this world, it will business as usual.

  • Monty Bank

    Our fascination with Mars is easily understandable: it is one of very few red coloured objects in the night sky visible to the naked eye.

    History? (More correctly – Prehistory?) Well not according to any known Biology.

    It is the second closed object to old Terra so it’s on the road ad astra.

  • RobT

    Yeh and that is a Mars bar wrapper in the top RH corner…I’m sure..really!

  • Dairy_Flat

    Surely the land shark thingy lying on it’s back behind the coffin with it’s front legs sticking up in the (very thin ) air is worth a look?

    • Wallace Westland

      That’s Russel Norman sunbathing at home.
      I always knew that sod was from another planet.

      • Eiselmann

        There’s also the upper part of a face showing in the upper right corner(two eyes, the nose and one cheek showing)…..the Greens will call for an enquiry soon…no doubt they UFO boy will be up for heading it.

  • zarzuelazen

    This is why I think that ‘Mars is the Stepping Stone to the Stars’:

    Mars has an atmosphere, whereas the moon does not. Although it’s not as thick as Earth’s one, the Martian atmosphere can shield the surface from harmful radiation, allowing plants to thrive under greenhouse domes. Mars has a surface gravity about 40% that of Earth’s. And the day/night cycle is also a similar length to Earth’s 24 hours –so plants and animals could one day thrive on Mars, whereas this will never be possible on the moon – the days/night cycle there lasts 28 earth days!

    Mars has enormous quantities of water. It has ice caps, just as Earth does. There is water in the ground. Water is the stuff of life. We can also extract hydrogen – a useful fuel – and oxygen – to breathe, from it. We know from our observations of geological features that water once flowed on the surface of Mars. There is also evidence of active volcanoes recently, which means there are geothermal hotspots; liquid water exists beneath the surface! The moon lacks these features, and has only a little water. This makes Mars a far more logical goal for colonization than the moon.

    Let’s consider the point about water further. If water once flowed on the surface of Mars, it means that Mars was much warmer and wetter in the past – it was likely just like Earth! Simple life forms may well have evolved. If we could find evidence
    of this, we would learn more about the origins of life here on Earth – and
    about the chances of extraterrestrial life on other planets. But Mars is not warm and wet now. It is cold and dead. What went wrong? By understanding these things, we will gain critical information about the workings of our own biosphere here on

    The recent Rosetta mission of ESA (the European Space Agency), was an audacious mission to achieve something that had never been done before – to literally catch a comet and put a robotic lander (called Philae) on the surface. It had been thought that comets may have been the source of much of Earth’s oceans- but the early data from the mission showed that the type of water on the comet doesn’t match the type of water we have on Earth. This demonstrates how
    important scientific results from space missions help us to better understand
    our own world.

    There is no doubt that robotic probes sent into space have yielded important scientific results. But, some would say, why not leave space exploration entirely to the robots? The argument they make is that unmanned missions are far cheaper and safer than human missions.

    However, science is not the sole aim, or even the most important aim, of space exploration. Human space missions nurture the human pioneering spirit, and open up new avenues for human civilization to develop – they provide incentives to develop new technologies, and allow the creation of entirely new cultures.

    Necessity is the mother of invention. In the process of colonizing Mars, Martian
    colonists will require energy sources – so the technologies of solar power,
    wind power and geothermal power will be advanced tremendously. New sources of energy will have to be developed. Fusion power is the form of nuclear power that powers our own sun – by mastering fusion we would not only achieve
    a new form of clean, practically limitless energy, but also obtain a new rocket
    propulsion system to one day reach the stars themselves. So that is why we can
    say that Mars is ‘the stepping stone to the stars’.

    The colonization of Mars inspires new culture. In the best-selling science-fiction trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, consisting of the books ‘Red Mars’, ‘Green Mars’ and ‘Blue Mars’, Robinson outlines a fictional future history where Mars is
    colonized, and he vividly imagines how new types of society, politics and philosophy could develop from this undertaking.

    One of the most amazing possibilities that Robinson imagines, is what is known as terra-forming, the process of transforming another planet to make it more earth-like. For instance, if we could warm the atmosphere of Mars sufficiently, this
    would melt ice and release water vapour and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,
    initiating a run-away greenhouse effect. One day, plants and animals, and even humans, might live on Mars under open skies. Mars would become a living
    world, with its own unique ecosystems.

    This isn’t just science-fiction. US engineer Robert Zubrin has devoted a
    significant portion of his life to examining the prospects for Martian
    colonization. In his 1996 book ‘The Case For Mars’, he convincingly showed that Mars does have the resources required for human colonization and that terraforming is possible. There is no doubt that humans could live off
    the land, and Mars could one day be made fit for large-scale human

    But isn’t all this hundreds of years in the future? Yes, but even if it takes hundreds of years to develop a new civilization on Mars it will be worth it. Hundreds of years may seem long in terms of our individual lives, but in historical terms, it’s the blink of an eye. The truly visionary path is the one that can take the long-view.

    Whilst the path will be difficult and expensive in the beginning, new technologies and the involvement of private enterprise can drastically lower costs and open up the frontier to large numbers of ordinary eople. Entrepreneur Elon Musk founded
    SpaceX, which was the first private company to successfully develop rockets
    capable of reaching Earth orbit. Musk’s Falcon Heavy spacecraft will transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA. But Musk is also deeply committed to the dream of Martian colonization, and he is developing colonial Mars transporters capable of carrying hundreds of people to Mars.

    These are not just pipe-dreams. Musk’s rockets are flying into Earth orbit right now- he has billion-dollar contracts with NASA, and his rocket designs are being built at this very moment. Musk has the expertise, vision and funds to make these dreams a reality.

    The task of Mars colonization channels our explorative yearnings in productive ways and inspires a new generation to become scientists and engineers. This is vividly illustrated by the case of inspirational 13-year old Alyssa Carson –a bright young woman from Louisiana who has known she wanted to be an astronaut and go to Mars since she was 3-years old! With strong support from her father, she’s
    working hard to meet the requirements to become an astronaut – already she’s
    attended all NASA space camps and speaks 4 languages. Alyssa’s story went viral this year, and she’s becoming an eloquent spokeswoman for ‘the Mars generation’.

    I also recommend the excellent Elon Musk interview in ‘Aeon’ magazine, in which Musk makes the case for the colonization of Mars via private enterprise. Musk argues we must put a millton men on Mars. Link here:

    • I.M Bach

      If it weren’t for dreams we’d not do anything at all. I think yours is a great post, cheers.

  • I.M Bach

    I’ve spent numerous summer holidays on Mars and I have to say I find the facilities lacking. Dusty, rough roads, no swimming pools and when we (my friend Stephen Hawking and I) travelled there on the latest laser beam as nano particles even the air conditioning broke down. Thanks GM, so much for the Cadillac of laser beams. Having said that; you do get lovely sunsets, albeit accompanied by replays of David Bowie songs questioning life therein. Not sure I’d go again but one needs a bucket list, doesn’t one?