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Outer Space

Is that a rock or cat spotted on Mars?

Depending on which way it might deemed be facing, observers have deemed the cat is either getting ready to pounce, or relaxing in the so-called loaf position.

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A quirky rock spotted on Mars has been compared to a cat. ( NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU via SWNS)

Via SWNS

A quirky rock spotted on Mars has been compared to - a cat.

The public has voted a picture of boulder in the shape of a feline as Image of the Week.

It was snapped by NASA's Mars Perseverance rover on September 8, or Sol 551 in Mars days.

Depending on which way it might deemed be facing, observers have deemed the cat is either getting ready to pounce, or relaxing in the so-called loaf position.

A cat loaf sees it resting on its belly, with forepaws tucked underneath its chest.

The rover has been exploring the ancient lakebed of Jezero Crater, were it has found sedimentary and volcanic rocks.

Respected science commentators have offered their opinions, with tech website CNET's Amanda Kooser dubbing it "cat loaf rock," while iflscience described the left side of the rock as "the backside of the cat in a pouncing (or biiiiiig stretch) position."

The space agency stated: "NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Right Mastcam-Z camera. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mast."

The photo was selected by public vote and featured as "Image of the Week" for Week 82 (Sept. 4 - 10, 2022).

Pareidolia is the tendency for perception to impose a meaningful interpretation on a nebulous stimulus, usually visual, so that one sees an object, pattern, or meaning where there is none.

Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations, seeing faces in inanimate objects, or lunar pareidolia like the Man in the Moon or the Moon rabbit.

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