Debunked: Curiosity repair man [Rover arm in retracted position]


Senior Member.
Various bastions of great reporting are saying that pictures show a person repairing the Curiosity rover.

Metro doesn't give a source, but some searching traces it back this page:

[Admin: Links on that page attempt to install Malware, here's the actual NASA pics:]

No evidence except a series of shadow pictures like the one above, leading to this conclusion:
And then buried waaaaay down the page

This one's actually pretty easy: The shadow is (mostly) that of the rover's arm in its retracted position, illustrated here in a picture of the arm before installation:

The hand, or tool, is the elbow joint of the rover, with the arm being the top length. You can also see the lower section outlined by the gap letting sunlight through between them - the gap appears more straight than triangular because the arms are spaced horizontally, designed to swing past each other, so the side profile minimizes the gap while sunlight shining mostly down would emphasize it. The "astronaut"'s head is the rover's tool platform, you can see the openings in the shadow, forming the "visor."

If it was a person, there's nothing there for them to work on - you can see the "tool" is working on something near the camera mast, but if you look at pictures or renderings of the rover itself, there's nothing there to be fixed:

A related claim on the ufo-blogger page is this:
Actually clicking Read More brings an explanation that, in 2009, Opportunity was much cleaner than its twin Spirit, despite having spent the same amount of time on the planet. However, it explains it as
Mars, being entirely dry (water can exist as ice in some conditions but most liquids want very much to be in any state except liquid) doesn't have "sticky" dust, it is quite easy to clear off of flat surfaces like solar panels, except that we have nobody there to do it and past rovers had no tools to do it themselves. It has been proposed that something as simple as a small electric fan could solve problems that Spirit and Sojurner experienced with dust covering solar panels, but has not been done.

Curiosity does not have this problem at all, since it's powered by radioisotope thermoelectric generators and has no solar panels.
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Pete Tar

Senior Member.
If a computer model of the rover is available, then playing with the lighting and view points in a 3d program might reproduce the effect.


Senior Member.
I've been trying to find a good Kerbal Space Program model for one, since it would just be a matter of fiddling with the angle and timewarping to the right time of day, but nothing I've found has an accurate and working robotic arm.


Senior Member
Am trying to find a record of ANY launch capable of sending a spacecraft FROM Earth...(using Earth's rotational velocity near the Equator in order to provide an "assist") that was somehow "missed" EVERYONE???

One that EVEN with the rotational energy 'boost" near Earth's equator....would STILL need to accelerate (in some way) achieve an orbit HIGHER(**) than Earth's current orbit, relative to Sol. This would NOT be "invisible", folks. MANY amateur sky-watchers alone can "de-bunk" this as a 'premise'.

Unless of course it used a "warp-drive" which case the Vulcans will soon be landing....


(**) meaning FARTHER from the current most gravitational source, Sol. (AKA....the "Sun").
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Senior Member.
i kinda hate to see this debunked as working on Mars without a helmet is very sexy indeed!

could it be this at a different (twisted) angle?



  • PIA16220-Mars_Curiosity_Rover-Rock-Jake_Matijevic.jpg
    237.9 KB · Views: 425


Senior Member.
Yep, that's the exact part I was talking about. It's a rotating drum with various instruments at the end of the robotic arm. When it's in the retracted position, it's turned vertically like the pre-assembly image shows.

Mick West

Staff member
The only reason this bit of pareidolia got triggered is because that one long stone looks a bit like a visor.
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Senior Member.
Sheesh! This 'anomaly' is from 2012. Bit slow on the uptake, these conspiracy folks!
NASA dumps a lot of images on the web, usually anything that's not making current headlines (like the two Rosetta debunk threads a couple months ago), they sift through at leisure. Combined with spending more time staring at pictures of rocks than hardcore geologists can muster professional enthusiasm for, it makes it basically impossible to keep up.

Also, I think at least some of them intentionally use old pictures, because they like to say, "It's been right under NASA's nose for years," and so forth.


Sadly this reincarnation from the old mold photos files, and previously explained/debunked has resurfaced to now somewhat disturbing main stream media Huffington Post (if you can callit that?). The real pity is that it sends folks to Scott Warrings' Pereidolia Daily web page. Do not be surprised as others will beging to see faces everywhere!
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