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NASA photo mystery: Alien and its shadow walking on the moon?

The Internet lit up in the past week after a NASA photo of the moon with a dark figure that appeared to be striding across its dusty surface began making the rounds. Speculation as to what is was, of course, was rampant. But what was it? Some naturally occurring phenomenon or could it be actual evidence of extraterrestrial life of some kind? Was there an alien walking on the moon? Or, like some ancient artifact from some lost civilization, could it be a lunar "Colossus of Rhodes?"

The Huffington Post reported Aug. 13 that the photographed figure, which looks as if it is in stride (its "shadow" stretched out beneath it), was picked up by Google Moon. It would seem that YouTube user Wowforreel started it all by looking into the strange shadowy figure, which looks every bit like a bipedal being out for a stroll on the moon's surface, back in mid-July. That particular video has been viewed over 4.6 million times.

In the explanation section, Wowforreel notes that "This video is not a claim" and urgest viewers to head over to an article at Examiner to get a "balanced look at this THING."

Tom Rose at points out the shadow figure's "uncanny resemblance" to the ancient "Colossus of Rhodes" statue, one of the wonders of the ancient world, that stood astride the harbor on the Greek Island of Rhodes. That particular entity was felled by an earthquake in 226 B. C. Rose also points out that the shadow image in the NASA moon photo could very well be a "trick of light" or a "camera lens glitch." The latter was used to explain the descending UFO image on Mars last month.

Whatever the image might be, lunar rock or shadows cast by an upflung crater's edge or something else, it is most likely just another example of pareidolia, which is the cognitive interpretation of an image or set of images to fit familiar or known patterns. This is best exemplified by constellations given familiar animal or heroic names due to their shape and the "recognition" of images in the shapes of clouds.

Still, could it be alien?

The possibility exists but don't get your hopes up that the NASA moon photo holds anything other than a very odd-looking shadow. Nothing more. All other examples strange-but-familiar-looking anomalies spotted on the lunar surface, not to mention Mars, Mercury, the Sun, and even, most recently, on the surface of Comet 67P by the Rosetta spacecraft, have been explained away by tricks of light, pixellation problems with cameras, computer glitches, simple shadows, and, of course, the wishful thinker's best mental trickster, pareidolia.

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