There's a UFO site which claims that the below image is captured by the Mars Global Surveyor and is

of what looks like pine or other similar type of trees. I think this image is important because the trees seem to be on a hillside, and for the first time tree trunks can be seen from this perspective rather that just an overhead view which makes the trees easier to identify as life on Mars. They look like a rugged type of tree you might find at higher altitudes and in tough environments.

enter image description here(image credit)

Is there any evidence that this is a genuine image taken by the Mars Global Surveyor, and is there an official explanation from NASA or any other space agencies? I would expect that these images, if real, are of a specific type of rock formation.

  • There's something odd about this question that I can't quite put my finger on. It is about the idea that NASA is responsible for "official explanations" about Mars, rather than (maybe) having an explanation that is more parsimonious with other evidence than the ridiculous notion about trees.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 3, 2012 at 2:52
  • @Oddthinking The Mars Global Surveyor is a NASA endeavour, I was just hoping that if anyone had released some text accompanying the image, it would be them. I'm sure the image is of something interesting (not trees), but I've no idea as to what. It was posted with no context other than the ridiculous claim.
    – John Lyon
    Aug 3, 2012 at 2:57
  • plenty of images available here, though 15 mins of browsing didn't show me anything like the ones above (I'm not sure of the scale of any of the ones above): hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/releases/all_captions.php
    – John Lyon
    Aug 3, 2012 at 6:34
  • These photos should make a good litmus test for conspiracy theorists: "There is life on Mars!" vs "NASA photos are faked in Southern California!" Jul 16, 2014 at 8:03

1 Answer 1


The first and second panels bear streaks that look like what has been tentatively described as ejecta from 'sand geysers'. These may occur when subsurface solid carbon dioxide (dry ice) deposits sublime, resulting in outgassing that blows dust into the air.

See for instance this image from the wiki article, originally published by Piqueux et al. in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The unidirectionality of the ejecta streaks due to prevailing winds gives the impression of shadows being projected from tall structures.

enter image description here

An alternative to sand geysers is the possibility of sand cascade tracks, such as seen in this fantastic picture from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, aptly filenamed 'almosttrees_mro.jpg':

enter image description here

In both scenarios, the streaks lie on the ground.

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