'Spoon' on Mars? You're seeing things

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What appears to be a 'floating spoon" on Mars is just a rock eroded by wind, NASA said. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
491 CONNECT 36 TWEET 5 LINKEDIN 4 COMMENT EMAIL MORE Remember the nursery rhyme in which the cow jumped over the moon and dish ran away with the spoon?
It appears the spoon wound up on Mars, according to a curious recent photo snapped by the Curiosity rover.
In yet another optical illusion that's stirred hyperactive imaginations on Earth, the so-called floating spoon seen in an image taken Sunday is just a rock shaped by wind, what geologists call a ventifact, NASA explained.
Curiosity captured the strangeness on its 1,089th day exploring the red planet, where it landed in August 2012.
As Space.com points out , there's "a long history of seeing strange shapes" on Mars, especially the "face" photographed by the Viking 1 lander in 1976.
Since then, other shapes, including a rat, woman, jelly doughnut and — more recently — a crab, have been reported by eagle-eyed observers poring over NASA's photos. So far, they're all rocks, though. Every last one.
No word from NASA about any lunar bovine sightings, however.
Here's a look back on some of the biggest moments in space history. Oct. 4, 1957: Sputnik 1 was the first satellite in space. Launched by the Soviet Union, the satellite's success triggered the Space Race, an integral part of the Cold War. NASA Fullscreen April 12, 1961: This undated photo shows cosmonaut Maj. Yuri Gagarin in his spacesuit. It was the Soviet Union's own giant leap for mankind, one that would spur a humiliated America to race for the moon. It happened on April 12, 1961, when the Air Force pilot became the first human in space. AP Fullscreen May 5, 1961: Alan Shepard sits in his Freedom 7 Mercury capsule. Shepard was the second person ever to fly into space and the first American. NASA Fullscreen Dec. 21, 1968: This famous 'Earthrise' photo was taken by the crew of Apollo 8. Crewmembers were the first humans to orbit the moon. NASA Fullscreen July 20, 1969: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon. Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the moon. NASA Fullscreen April 11, 1970: Apollo 13 commander James A. Lovell, foreground, speaks during a news conference in Cape Kennedy, Fla., before the spacecraft launched on its ill-fated journey to the moon. The unsuccessful journey was made famous by the movie, Apollo 13. NASA classified the mission a "successful failure." because of the experience gained in rescuing the crew. AP Fullscreen May 14, 1973: Skylab, the first United States manned space station, was launched in 1973. In this image, it is shown in orbit at the end of its mission in 1979 when it crashed back to Earth. The orbiting lab was designed by engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. NASA, Associated Press Fullscreen July 17, 1975: Astronaut Thomas Stafford, left, and cosmonaut Alexey Leonov shake hands after a successful Apollo-Soyuz linkup in space. The U.S.-Soviet mission was the first multinational manned mission. NASA Fullscreen April 12, 1981: Space Shuttle Columbia launched into orbit from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle was the first reusable spacecraft. The shuttle and its crew were tragically lost in 2003. NASA Fullscreen June 18, 1983: This NASA file photo shows America's first female astronaut Sally Ride as she communicates with ground controllers from the flight deck during the six-day space mission of the Challenger. Ride first launched into space in 1983 on the seventh U.S. space shuttle mission. AFP/Getty Images Fullscreen Jan. 28, 1986: The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after lifting off from Kennedy Space Center. All seven crewmembers died in the explosion, which was blamed on faulty O-rings in the shuttle's booster rockets. The disaster shattered NASA's image and the belief that flying on a spacecraft could become as routine as flying on an airplane. BRUCE WEAVER, AP Fullscreen April 24, 1990: The Hubble Space Telescope, the first of NASA's Great Observatories to reach orbit, launched. It remains in operation today. NASA Fullscreen Dec. 4, 1996: Mars Pathfinder was designed to show that the development of "faster, better and cheaper" spacecraft was possible. It was the first operational rover on another planet. NASA Fullscreen Nov. 20, 1998: The International Space Station is launched. It becomes the first multinational space station and the largest man-made object built in space. Astronaut Jerry Ross adjusts his tools from his perch at the end of the space shuttle's robot arm as he works on the station module Unity on Dec. 7, 1998, in this image from NASA television. NASA TV, Associated Press Fullscreen Nov. 26, 2011: Curiosity is a robotic rover exploring Gale Crater on Mars. This photo released on June 23, 2014, by NASA shows Curiosity's self-portrait. NASA announced on Sept. 11, 2014, that the rover has reached the base of Mount Sharp, its long-term science destination. Uncredited, AP Fullscreen May 25, 2012: SpaceX becomes the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station. In this image released by NASA, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lift off on May 22, 2012, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA/HANDOUT, EPA Fullscreen June 28, 2015: Space X's Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from space launch complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Fla, with a Dragon CRS7 spacecraft. The unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded minutes after liftoff. It was meant to be a routine cargo mission to the International Space Station. BRUCE WEAVER, AFP/Getty Images Fullscreen July 14, 2015: Pluto nearly fills the frame in this image from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, taken on July 13, 2015. This is the last and most detailed image sent to Earth before the spacecraft's closest approach to Pluto on July 14. NASA, Getty Images Fullscreen July 23, 2015: This artist's rendering made available by NASA shows a comparison between the Earth, left, and the planet Kepler-452b. It is the first near-Earth-size planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a sun-like star, found using data from NASA's Kepler mission. T. Pyle, AP Fullscreen Like this topic? You may also like these photo galleries: Replay Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last Slide Next Slide 491 CONNECT 36 TWEET 5 LINKEDIN 4 COMMENT EMAIL MORE Read //usat.ly/1UxGcNR TOP VIDEOS