FACT CHECK: No, This Is Not A ‘Photo From Mars’ Fabricated By NASA

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a fake photo of a landscape on Mars fabricated by NASA.

Verdict: False

NASA didn’t produce the image or claim that it was a real photo taken on Mars.

Fact Check:

NASA landed its Perseverance rover on Mars on Feb. 18, according to CNBC. The craft was the first Mars rover to film its own landing, and NASA released the footage on Feb. 22, the outlet reported. The Perseverance rover took a variety of photos of the Martian surface, with many being posted on NASA’s website.

Now, a March 1 Facebook post claims to show an “original NASA photo of MARS.” The photo shows a red rock formation with a black background. A second photo in the Facebook post, labelled “Pobitite Kamani, Bulgaria,” shows the same photo, except the rock formation is grey and the sky is blue in the background.

“NASA = Liars and thieves,” the Facebook post’s caption states. (RELATED: Did NASA Spend More Than $165 Million To Develop Pens That Work In Space?)

While the bottom photo does, in fact, show the Pobiti Kamani rock formation in Bulgaria, the top photo is not a photo of Mars taken or published by NASA. Rather, it appears to be a doctored version of the photo of the Pobiti Kamani.

A reverse image search found no results of the image on the Mars exploration image gallery on NASA’s website, which includes real photos taken on and above the planet’s surface and concept images produced by artists. Had NASA tried to pass an altered photo of the Pobiti Kamani off as a photo from Mars, media outlets likely would have reported on it, yet none have, except to debunk the claim.

“I can confirm that this is not a NASA photo of Mars,” NASA’s Glenn Research Center news chief Jan Wittry told Check Your Fact in an email.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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