Rodents on Mars: Did Curiosity kill the rat?

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marsrat1If looked at just the right way, a recent picture relayed from Curiosity, the NASA Rover craft currently snapping photos on Mars, appears to contain a rock that looks just like a rat. Taken on September, 28, 2012, at the “Rocknest” from Sol 52 location, recent analysis by Internet bloggers has created a loud squeak.

Are there martian rats? That look exactly like earth rats? That would be unlikely, as an earth rat (or any other mammal), might have problems adjusting to the environment on Mars. Because its atmosphere is so thin, the air pressure on Mars is only 0.6% of earth’s.

Almost all of the fluids in the rat’s body, except for its blood, would leak off into the Martian atmosphere, boiling as it goes. This would cause the rat to die almost immediately, and its shrunken, shriveled body would not look like the nice round rock we see in the picture imitating a live rat. The rat’s blood wouldn’t boil away until its heart stopped beating.

Speaking of the thin air, the lack of oxygen would suffocate the poor rodent, perhaps killing it faster than the lack of air pressure. If not, the normal temperatures of minus 200 degrees would freeze the little guy to death, if it wasn’t already dead. No, it doesn’t seem likely that a rat that evolved on the Red Planet could look much like an earth rat. So the rock must not be disguised as a rat from Mars. It must be from earth.

Currently vibrating across the web is the theory that NASA managed to keep a rat alive for two months in a space ship, then carefully landed it safely, just to toss it out of the airlock without a rat spacesuit. I don’t think NASA would do that. If ethics didn’t prevent them, common sense would.marsrat2

What we have here is not extra-terrestrial life, it’s pareidolia. This is a trait of human psychology, maybe a survival adaptation. It manifests as our seeing patterns, shapes, faces, and rats, where there are only rocks and shadows that kind of look like a rat. Or whatever our brain can make of it.

Here’s a video of the discovery of a rat on Mars:


  1. bleepingdeadalien

    June 3, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    light and shadow…

  2. Lazlo57

    June 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    But if any critter was to stowaway on a rocket it would no doubt be a rodent. Mankind has distributed them all over the planet. Off planet would be the likely next move for a rat.

  3. treknalong

    June 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Dam it Jim I’m Doctor not a Rodent expert

  4. Michael Ward

    June 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    At one point they said that Mars looked a lot like California and everybody laughed but if there is rat in the picture then maybe the rover is actually in California and not on Mars – just joking.

  5. Mikey

    June 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Lack of oxygen? Seriously?

    Think about it, folks: Why is The Red Planet red in the first place? NASA scientists will tell you it’s because of a high concentration of oxydized iron (rust) in the Martian soil.


    Where did the oxygen come from to oxydize the iron? Seriously.

  6. Transer

    June 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Job Well Done NASA…

  7. paul

    June 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm


    Lack of oxygen is still operative. The oxygen in rust is chemically bound to iron and is not extractable for use by a critter with lungs such as a rat.

  8. Agha

    June 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm


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