Early in the eventful and historic year of 2008, Bigfoot was sighted on Mars. Rational explanations flooded in, assuring us that once again life was not discovered on the Red Planet. The figure in question was only two inches tall, and would have to remain in a fixed position for several hours to have come out in the photo. It also resembles natural rock formations we find here on Earth.
Still, it is pleasing image, a furry female – note the breasts, like on the famous and controversial bigfoot footage from the Sixties – strolling on the wind-swept Martian landscape.
Some have suggested a certain resemblance to Copenhagen’s statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid. It was shown how, with Photoshop, you could make the Little Mermaid into the Martian Bigfoot. What they didn’t explain was how it could be inserted into Mars Rover photo, but where there's a will, some twisted imagination will find a way.
The summer of that same year, Em and I went on a road trip through Northern Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. We saw a lot of weird natural rock formations. None of them looked like the Martian Bigfoot, but a lot came close.
These formations are referred to as "hoodoos," and sometimes "goblins" – there is even a place in Utah called Goblin Valley. You don’t have to see many of them to understand why. They seem alive, and evoke memories of fairy-tales in which people are turned to stone. Which is exactly how the local Native American tribes explain them, Coyote being the culprit.
Hoodoos are formed when layers of sedimentary rock are worn away by wind-blown sand. Snow freezing and expanding in the cracks adds to the process. There are wind, sand, and even snow on Mars, so hoodoos are possible.
There is one thing that makes the Martian Bigfoot different from Earth’s hoodoos: size. The smallest Earth hoodoos I’ve seen are about as big as a compact car, that largest one are mountainous. I’ve never really seen a two-inch high rock with the complex sculpting in the Martian Bigfoot. This may be the result of the differences in atmosphere, gravity, and rock density between the planets, still, I’d like to see a rock from our planet of that size and structure.
It’s not like we need still another rational explanation, but it is nice to be able to say that there are hoodoos and goblins on Mars.
And if you go back to photograph PIA 10214: Spirit’s West Valley Panorama (False Color), the bigfoot is only one of many interesting things. Besides the other figures, and goggle-eyed lizard, there are rocks with sharp-angled edges like bricks and others that look, well the term is architectonic. They are most likely Martian flagstone rather than ruins, but they sure are interesting.
And the more I think about the idea of Mars being inhabited by two-inch high, furry, busty leprecauns, the more it makes me smile.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
HOODOOS, GOBLINS, AND BIGFOOT ON MARS
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