The Mars Curiosity rover has taken a picture of a rock formation that looks for all the world like a spoon that is floating above the ground.

NASA has identified the spoon-like object as a ventifact, which is a rock that has been shaped by the wind, slowly sandblasted over time into its present shape, and held in place on its parent rock formation at the end of it’s handle. Mars’s lower gravity, approximately one-third that of Earth’s, has also probably helped prevent the spoon’s snapping off under it’s own weight. There are a number of other ventifacts present in the picture as well, but none quite as dramatic as the levitating Martian utensil.

From the earliest Viking orbiter images which showed the famous face on Mars to the present, mysterious objects have been observed. 

Unknowncountry offers a vast archive of Mars anomalies. Among the strangest are the apparent mechanical wheel and the mysterious tool. The Mars Figure remains the most provocative image so far made on the red planet. This object was debunked on BadAstronomy.com as a trick of light, easily seen as a rock in three dimensional imagery. In fact, it appeared even more clearly to be a small figure in the 3D imagery provided. NASA did not offer another picture of the formation, even though the Rover may have taken more. If the rovers have ever returned to the site, the public has not been informed. Of course, if the figure was still present, that would solve the mystey.

Thousands of strange objects have been imaged on Mars over the years, but so far none of them have stood up to careful scrutiny. For a catalog of these images, click here.

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