Years-old phallic imagery from Mars rover sparks a fresh wave of titters
When some people look at this nine-year-old picture from NASA's Spirit rover, they see a vision of manhood, complete with testicles. Actually, it's standard operating procedure for making a turn on Mars.NASA / JPL / Cornell
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Some Mars maniacs just won't grow up: A picture of the track patterns left behind by the Mars rovers' standard turning maneuver has drawn giggles and gasps — merely because it looks like a penis scrawled on the Red Planet.
"The rude drawing has emerged in a series of images taken by one of its rover machines. ... The latest pictures beamed back from one of the rovers show signs that the project's controllers have started to get a bit bored," The Sun, a British tabloid, reported on Wednesday.
Even Sarcastic Rover, one of Twitter's top parody personas, got into the act: "Since everyone's asking, let me just say that some other robot did this ... definitely not me," it tweeted.
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All those rovers have six wheels, three on each side, and they leave behind two parallel tracks when they're traveling in a straight line. When the rover has to make a turn, the wheels rotate in place to put the robot in the desired direction for the next leg of its trek. If the turn is significant enough, you get a nice set of circles at the end of a pair of parallel tracks.