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Martians, flying saucers discovered on Mars, report extremely unreliable sources (+video)

Online news outlets that should not under any circumstances be trusted report that NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has captured images of advanced life on the Red Planet.

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White dot UFOs (aka Photoshopped)

In a YouTube video that has racked up more than 400,000 views since it was posted by "ParanormalCollection" on Aug. 7, two small white dots trek across the Martian sky in a time-lapse sequence supposedly shot by one of Curiosity's hazard avoidance cameras and then accidentally "leaked" by NASA. The footage would be very curious indeed, and deserving of the widespread media attention it has accrued — if it were real, that is.

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The images that appear in the footage are in fact the very first ones released by NASA, on Aug. 5, in which the impact cloud from the sky crane can be seen rising like a plume near the horizon. The difference is that no white dots appear in the original images.

This leaves viewers to contemplate which is more likely: that Curiosity happened to capture UFOs in the very first photos it took of Mars, that NASA removed the UFOs and released the scrubbed photos, then accidentally leaked the originals to "ParanormalCollection" — or that this YouTube user simply took the photos released by NASA, added a sequence of white dots to them in Photoshop, and posted the creation to YouTube? [7 Huge Misconceptions about Aliens]

Ancient finger, shoe, animal (aka rocks)

StephenHannardADGUK, he of dead pixel fame, also stumbled upon a few items that may or may not be leftover props from a David Lynch film miraculously transported to the floor of Mars' Gale Crater. "Mars Curiosty[sp] captures a possible ancient finger, a dome shaped object, a shoe or sandal and a possible Martian creature," Hannard wrote in the video description. "Are these anomalies real, tricks of the light or something else, as always you decide."

When Hannard zooms in on the rocks — which is what we have decided they are — one sees that the finger rock does indeed have a faint, shadowy outline at one end that looks somewhat like a fingernail, and the shoe rock does bear a resemblance to a carelessly overturned sandal. Likewise, a roughly round rock could be described as a dome-shaped object, and a crevice on another boulder does give it the vague look of a grinning Martian animal.

It's the logical leap of deciding that the rocks might actually be these things that most people don't take.

Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @nattyover or Life's Little Mysteries @llmysteries. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Copyright 2012 Lifes Little Mysteries, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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