Conspiracy theory fans never tire of spotting rocks which look like people, crabs or bears on Mars - but NASA’s Spirit Rover might have just spotted something really important.
The cauliflower-like minerals found inside a Martian crater may have been created by aliens, researchers from Arizona State University have said.
The protrusions - which the scientists refer to as ‘micro-digitate silica protrusions’ - were spotted by NASA’s Spirit Rover in 2008.
But recent discoveries of similar shapes in the Chilean desert means that the rocks might have been shaped by living microbes - ancient aliens, according to the Smithsonian Magazine.
Steven Ruff and Jack Farmer suggested in a speech at the American Geophysical Union that these cauliflower shapes might well be our best chance to prove life once flourished on Mars.
The scientists travelled to Chile’s Atacama desert to investigate whether the shapes - which bear a remarkable resemblance to those on Mars - were sculpted by microbes.
Similar features in New Zealand bear the fossil imprints of ancient microbes - which suggests that the ones in the Mars-like desert of Chile might have been, too.
If that’s the case, the rocks on Mars could lead to the biggest discovery in the history of space travel.