NASA offers explanation for photo of ‘man’ on the moon

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A photo taken from Google Moon claims to have captured the shadow of a human figure, alien -- or even that of an ancient statue.

But NASA says that is probably not the case.


The photo being circulated is either from the Apollo 15 or Apollo 17 mission, Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission told PIX11.

YouTuber Wowforreeel posted a video of the find made by another user last month. "An irregularly shaped dark spot he noticed on Google Moon looks like it could be a cast shadow from a massive standing object, or figure," the user wrote. "At first I thought maybe it was something drawn into the picture but going to G. Moon, whatever it is or isn't...uh, is there."


Since the photo and video began going viral, there have been various theories of what the photo actually shows.

Several news outlets suggested the shadow bears a resemblance to the ancient statue "The Colossus of Rhodes."

Wade Sisler, a spokesperson for NASA, told PIX11 the photo reminds him of the "man on Mars" image that circulated in 2008.

Sisler said, "[As humans] we spot patterns, and especially gravitate towards human shapes and forms."

Noah Petro, a deputy project scientist for the Lunar Renaissance Orbiter mission that is currently orbiting the moon, or LRO, said the image appears to be from Apollo 15, NASA's manned mission to the moon in 1971. A current LROC image of the same location doesn't show anything that would cause that pattern on the ground.

The figure isn't in current lunar photos. (Photo: NASA)

The figure isn't in current lunar photos. (Photo: NASA)

Petro says there is no nearby mountain or boulder that would cast the shadow.

"My best guest," Petro said in a statement to PIX11, "is that its something (dust, an eyelash, scratch on the negative) was on the film. Remember, this was in the pre-digital days when all sorts of nasty things could happen to film."

As for the "man" on Mars, it turned out to be just a rock.


    • Sinket

      Love this jσb, since I’ve been bringing in $120/h… I sit at home, music playing while I wσrk in front of my new iMac that I got now that I’m making it σnline. All I do are easy tasks from this one cool site. Check this out!..

  • Ramakrishna

    Man on moon is very very small thing.. Do you know Indian brahmins know,how live on origion of planet of sun… Yes we know all that mantras…..

  • Sinket

    Love this jσb, since I’ve been bringing in $120/h… I sit at home, music playing while I wσrk in front of my new iMac that I got now that I’m making it σnline. All I do are easy tasks from this one cool site. Check this out!..

  • johnny

    Not only one site you can watch this shadow and always the same
    27°34’26.35″N 19°36’4.75″W
    26°47’35.88″N 3°10’30.59″E

  • Rob

    It’s literally just dust on the lens. You can see the exact same dark shape every 30-35 km going east for the span of the satellite image ribbon. It’ also accompanied by a slender wormy looking dark spot NW — 14km from the ‘statue’ and a tiny black dot 9km west of the statue in a triangular fashion. It’s not a series of colossal statues lol–it’s a piece of dust that is photographed every time the satellite takes a photograph at a regular interval that is equidistance from the other same pieces of dust in every photograph. It’s not hard to be rational people. I’m surprised NASA didn’t figure this ridiculously easy answer out sooner–it took me literally 5 minutes of “OOooh this IS cool” to “OH WAIT–ahahaha–it’s just dust.”

  • Walter

    Dust on the lens would appear to grow in contrast to it’s apparent surroundings (or disappear altogether) when you zoom in on the image. This thing remains at a static aspect in relation to it’s surroundings. That means it’s something on the surface.

    • Matthew

      Wow someone here actually has a working brain. You are exactly right Walter. Whatever this image is it is not dust on the lense. It is something on the surface of the moon.

  • Dave

    Nobody, including NASA, seems to notice that the shadow goes the wrong way. Notice that the landscape features all have a shadow on the lower right. Your brain tricks you into thinking those are hills. But they are not hills, they are craters. The place where the shadow goes in a crater is reversed from that of a hill. If the shadow on a crater is in the lower right of an image, then the light source is also to the lower right. That means if there is a figure on the moon, its shadow would be going up and to the left in the image. Personally, I was thinking flawed hoax. But I’ll accept lense goo.

    • Human Being

      “Dust”…, nice try NASA.
      They’re so full of crap….. An acronym for Never Ask Stupid Answers

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