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NASA has released a new image captured from its Curiosity rover on Mars that appears to show a strange doorway on the Red Planet. The rover captured the grainy image from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Sol 3466 (7 May), which appears to show a cleanly-cut hole in a rockface. While the space agency has not given an official explanation as to what the structure could be, many have been quick to generate theories of life on Mars.

One social media user described the scene as “a formation on Mars which appears to be a portal and a wall nearby that looks artificial.”

Meanwhile, another concluded, “swear to God, there are at least 5 Martians camouflaged in there.”

However, scientists quickly dismissed these alien theories, noting the surrounding geological structures offer researchers an idea of how the “doorway” was formed.

A large crack to the left of the doorway suggests that rock cracking events are common occurrences in the region,

The boulder in the foreground of the image is also believed to be the rock that split apart, creating the opening.

Sanjeev Gupta, a professor of earth science at Imperial College London, and one of the scientists of Nasa’s Curiosity rover mission stated the hole was formed through “normal geological processes”.

He said: “The boulder likely just got eroded off a hillslope and tumbled down,” he said. “It does not require a meteorite strike.

“The crack is a fracture and they are abundant on Mars and Earth – no need for marsquakes to produce them.

“There is nothing at all strange in the image – these are just normal geological processes.”

Mars images released by NASA have frequently sparked conspiracy theories about alien life on the Red Planet.

In 1977, NASA’s Viking 1 spacecraft captured an image of what appeared to be face starting at up from the surface of Mars.

This led to many theories at the time about ancient Martian civilizations that constructed monuments like the Sphinx

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However, this theory was disproved when the space agency’s Mars Global Surveyor flew over the same area 11 years later, this time capturing images 10 times sharper than the original Viking pictures.

The clearer images showed that the “face” was actually just a shapeless rock formation, with the apparent facial features actually being the result of shadows.

This image comes at a time that the U.S. Congress is to hold an open hearing next Tuesday about UFOs for the first time in over 50 years.

The US House Intelligence Committee’s Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee will tackle the subject.

Panel chair, Rep. André Carson, stated: “The American people expect and deserve their leaders in government and intelligence to seriously evaluate and respond to any potential national security risks — especially those we do not fully understand.”

The US government released a report on documented cases of so-called ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’ (UAP) in Summer 2021.

In it, the Director of National Intelligence examined 144 cases of UFOs, but could explain only one.

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