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Insects on Mars? Ohio scientist claims NASA images show life on red planet.

Entomologist William Romoser of Ohio University says NASA images depict insect- and reptile-like creatures on Mars.

Image source: NASA/JPL; William Romose / Ohio University
  • Entomologist William Romoser gave a presentation this week in which he claimed NASA photos show evidence of creatures, some still living, on the red planet.
  • Romoser has worked as a professor of entomology at Ohio University for four decades.
  • It's likely that the real phenomenon in Romoser's work is pareidolia — the tendency to "see" recognizable shapes among random visual data.



Photos captured by NASA's Mars rovers reveal the greatest scientific discovery of all time: proof of alien life.

Or, you know, proof of alien rocks. You be the judge.

Entomologist William Romoser gave a poster presentation on Tuesday, November 19, at the national meeting of the Entomological Society of America in St. Louis, Missouri. He claimed that his analysis of NASA images demonstrates convincing evidence that life exists on Mars, including insect- and reptile-like creatures, some of which still live there today.

"There has been and still is life on Mars," Romoser said. "There is apparent diversity among the Martian insect-like fauna which display many features similar to Terran insects that are interpreted as advanced groups — for example, the presence of wings, wing flexion, agile gliding/flight, and variously structured leg elements."

(NASA/JPL; William Romoser/Ohio University)

"Once a clear image of a given form was identified and described, it was useful in facilitating recognition of other less clear, but none-the-less valid, images of the same basic form," Romoser said.

To analyze the photos, Romoser played with factors like saturation, brightness and contrast, but he didn't add or remove any content from the photos, according to a press release from Ohio University.

(NASA/JPL; William Romoser/Ohio University)

"An exoskeleton and jointed appendages are sufficient to establish identification as an arthropod. Three body regions, a single pair of antennae, and six legs are traditionally sufficient to establish identification as 'insect' on Earth. These characteristics should likewise be valid to identify an organism on Mars as insect-like. On these bases, arthropodan, insect-like forms can be seen in the Mars rover photos."

(NASA/JPL; William Romoser/Ohio University)

Romoser said some of the creatures he saw in the images resemble carpenter bees and snakes. It's a bold (and probably false) claim. It's also not the first time Romoser has reported "evidence" of life on Mars.

In 2017 and 2018, he published two reports describing "unidentified aerial phenomena" on the red planet. As Amanda Kooser wrote for CNET, the more likely phenomenon driving Romoser's findings is pareidolia, which is our tendency to "see" recognizable shapes in just about anything, from pancakes, to the flames of the Notre Dame fire, to photos from the Mars rovers.

Back on Earth, Romoser has spent 45 years as an entomology professor at Ohio University, where he co-founded the Tropical Disease Institute. He also worked as a researcher for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, and has authored and co-authored four editions of the widely-used textbook, "The Science of Entomology."

(NASA/JPL; William Romoser/Ohio University)

At the very least, Romoser said this week, his findings suggest scientists should keep looking for life on Mars.

"The evidence of life on Mars presented here provides a strong basis for many additional important biological as well as social and political questions," he added. "It also represents a solid justification for further study."

Next year, the Mars 2020 rover plans to do just that, only its main focus will be searching for past microbial life.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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CRISPR-edited babies born in China may have enhanced brain functions

The brains of two genetically edited babies born last year in China might have enhanced memory and cognition, but that doesn't mean the scientific community is pleased.

YouTube
Surprising Science
  • In November, Chinese scientist He Jiankui reported that he'd used the CRISPR tool to edit the embryos of two girls.
  • He deleted a gene called CCR5, which allows humans to contract HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.
  • In addition to blocking AIDS, deleting this gene might also have positive effects on memory and cognition. Still, virtually all scientists say we're not ready to use gene-editing technology on babies.
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Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

Sex & Relationships
  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
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What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.

Could this former river island in the Indus have inspired Tolkien to create Cair Andros, the ship-shaped island in the Anduin river?

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
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Surprising Science

Giant whale sharks have teeth on their eyeballs

The ocean's largest shark relies on vision more than previously believed.

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