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My favorite "proof" of life on Mars came from a 2008 blowup section of an image taken by the Mars rover Spirit which shows what looks like a person perched atop a rock. The image, shown here, was grabbed from panoramic images taken November 6-9, 2007.
A NASA spokesman said that the "man" on Mars is actually "a 2-inch sedimentary rock that has been eroded by the wind."
And of course we can't forget the original photographic "proof of life on Mars." An image taken in 1976 by the Viking 1 spacecraft showed a formation in the Cydonia region of Mars that resembles a human face. NASA scientists quickly interpreted the image as having been caused by the angle of the sun and the resulting shadows. But that didn't prevent claims that the "Face on Mars" proved there was intelligent life on the Red Planet.
The European Space Agency's Mars Express, equipped with its High Resolution Stereo Camera, revisited Mars' most famous feature in 2006. It showed a normal rock formation that resembled a face when an image of it was taken well overhead with the proper shadows.