I was chilling out at my cubicle after a quick lunch today, reading news about the potential prelude to World War 3 that is playing out in the Turkey-Syria border with disdain. But I was distracted by some other articles talking about Mars conspiracies.
I guess it is understandable that my interest was stoked with any news items related to Mars, after getting myself hooked with that novel by Andy Weir, The Martian. I mean, I have always been fascinated with space travel and Mars when I was a kid, but that fascination was pushed aside as other priorities manifested in my life. The novel merely rekindled my fascination.
I was soon reading up articles after articles on Martian aliens and conspiracies by the government to cover up their real discoveries. I found myself closely scrutinizing countless photos captured by Mars rovers that supposedly indicated building remnants or suspected animals or even a Martian spider. Truth be told, I do agree that most of those claims are products of overactive imaginations by those so-called “alien hunters”.
But there were two photos that made even me dumbstruck. First one,
And the second one,
Here, another one with a closer zoom.
These are actual imagery taken from the MARS Curiosity Rover earlier this year, released by NASA. NASA did not come out to claim these photos are fake or Photoshop-ed, so I assume they are authentic.
I’m not saying these are evidence that there are alien species alive on Mars. There are many conspiracy theorists coming out and claim these are evidences of aliens, but there are even more experts coming out to debunk these conspiracy theorists.
What drew my interest was how most of these experts do their debunking. They kept using this word: pareidolia. Yeah, I learned a new word today. Pareidolia basically means “the eyes see what the mind wishes them to see”, or you can call it “hallucination”. Basically what they are doing are just to discredit the theorists. But none of them came out to give plausible explanations on what might have caused the pictures to turn out like these.
You know, it sounds unsettlingly similar to how a certain Malaysian minister said to us some months ago: “Actually GST does not impact our lives at all. It is all a matter of perception. You are all just imagining it.”
I don’t know what to think. I mean, I think these photos probably do not mean much. It does not prove anything. The pyramid could be a coincidentally deformed rock, and the woman could be just effects of some Martian dust blowing. But I’m unsettled that so many academia are so quick to come out and shoot down theories that differ from the established standards without providing much reasoning to support their own arguments. I thought these are what medieval age priests do.
We are in the 21st century, we are supposed to be a more open minded and intellectual bunch. The idea that our highly educated scholars are displaying the mentality and attitude of medieval clerics are more terrifying to me than the idea of us discovering extraterrestrial intelligence, to be honest.
We are but one planet out of billions in the galaxy, and there are billions of galaxies in the Universe. If you ask me, the probability of us being THE ONLY intelligent lifeform in the Universe is small. Very much smaller compared to the probability of there being millions of other advanced civilizations out there.
I’m not sure if I want us to discover them (or them to discover us) in my lifetime.
Heh… such a strange topic for me to write about today, isn’t it? 😛