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Faux Image - Double Sunset on Mars

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Circulating image is claimed to depict two suns setting over the Martian horizon as taken from the Curiosity Rover.

Brief Analysis

The image is faked. It was digitally created by combining components from two separate images. The source picture does indeed show a sunset on Mars. However, the double sun was taken from a scene in the movie Star Wars.



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Hoax Picture - Double Sunset on Mars

Detailed Analysis

The above image is currently circulating via social media sites and the blogging community, often with a description claiming that it depicts a double sunset taken by the Curiosity Rover from the surface of Mars. Some versions suggest that the picture shows moons rather than suns. None of the posts provide a satisfactory explanation as to why there would be two suns (or moons) setting over Mars, although some have suggested that the shot is a result of a camera lens anomaly.

However, the image is fake and does not really show two suns (or moons) from Mars. The image is a result of some clever digital tomfoolery by which the two suns have been added to an original photograph. The source image (shown below) does depict a sunset from Mars. However, it was not taken by the Curiosity Rover. In fact, the photograph of Mars was taken from the Spirit Rover in May, 2005.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell
Sunset on Mars from Spirit Rover

The two suns were lifted from the following iconic scene from the movie Star Wars:

Star Wars Double Sunset

A version of the picture that places the two images together is also circulating:

Combined Star Wars Mars Sunsets

Thus, it is clear that the prankster has removed the real sun from the original Spirit Rover picture and added in the two alternative "suns" by lifting them from the Star Wars still.



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Last updated: August 14, 2012
First published: August 14, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by David White, Brett Christensen
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NASA Sunset on Mars