Discovery of Life On Rocks at Opportuity Rover Site (MER B)

Jill England
February 2004

Mars Exploration Rover B, popularly known as opportunity, image compositions by Jill England.  January and February 2004.  All images are Copyright 2004 by Jill England.

  • Preliminary Paper can be reviewed here: martian_anomols.pdf
  • Full Scale Graphis are stored here: images
  • Comments may be sent directly to me at: Jill@Hyperfaceted.com

MER-B – Opportunity Discovers the “Anomols”


In late February of 2004 the JPL Rover MER B, also known as Opportunity, took a series of images of a small rock ledge in a crater and discovered what appear to be plant like life forms in the crevices of the rock.  It found these life forms by digging into the rock face with it’s RAT cutting tool and exposing deeper levels of the rock crevasse exposing the “Anomols”.

The anomalous features are short thin fibers, loops and strands of fibers, and squat ‘body’ items that sort of resemble anemones with a central ‘mouth’ and a flowery fringe.  These were found inside the crevasses and are clearly a part of or connected to the thin root fibers.

I have designated these items "Anomols" because;

  1. I don’t know if they are plants or animals or some other type of life entirely.
  2. I don’t even know, for a fact, yet, that these things are actually alive or even formed by biological processes though it does seem most probable at this time.
  3. That these objects are “anomalous” is without question.  I don’t know of any way to form fibers and “body” structures like these without biology.
  4. The “bodies” of these objects sometimes abstractly resemble an anemone mouth.
“The Universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.”
J. B. S. Haldane

A Note about the Billions of Round Blue Marbles

The blue round marbles throughout this area likely have nothing to do with these “Anomols”. The round marbles are likely made of glass and the result of a pyroclastic flow though some claim they could be aggregations. A picture of a marble sliced in half included below shows no obvious aggregation marks so I’m still leaning towards meteor ejectra. All this topic for a different paper however a connection between anomols and the blue marbles can not be ruled out yet.

Five Images of Anomols

First pictures Ever of possible Martian life, “Anomols” living in cracks in rock face.  These were uncovered by Mer B in February 2004, when the rat was used to scrape off the top half centimeter of the rock face. 

The images above are actually anaglyphs as well though there is very little stereo separation. The channels were taken from to separate images so combining them does increase resolution slightly when they are viewed with red-blue glasses.

NOTE: The small thumbnail images in this document have inadequate resolution to properly view these images. You should click on the

From left to right;

  1. Body in rock crevasse on middle left.  Note 'flowery' part and central 'mouth'.
  1. Much larger version.  This was over half a centimeter in the crack with the 'mouth' facing outward to the top of the crack.
  1. Root fiber cut off by saw possibly extended from body in image two above.
  1. Two more bodies at different angles along with root fibers coming out of depression.  This root fiber extends through this rock crack and downward at least two centimeters.
  1. Another body on the right top of main image showing another body with the top branches fanning outward.
  • Could all of these 'bodies' represent a single 'individual'?
  • Are they lichen like or fungus like?
  • What is their DNA structure? 
  • Are the related to life on earth at all?
  • If so how long ago were we separated from them? 

Are they totally new life forms and do we need to create a new phylum for them?

Anaglyph Context

Anaglyph of the drill area which exposed this little colony of Martian life.  Most of the images here are within this context.

Each of the following anaglyphs are taken from this larger anaglyph and specifically red blue channel shifted for best resolution viewing of each item under study.

Anaglyph of Marble cut by RAT

Anaglyph of the drill area which exposed this little colony of Martian life.  Most of the images here are within this context.

Each of the following anaglyphs are taken from this larger anaglyph and specifically red blue channel shifted for best resolution viewing of each item under study.

The Large Anomol with root Thread

There is an additional one in the crack in the middle of the image.  These creatures or plants are living underground on mars in the cracks of the rocks.  This particular rock is honeycombed with hatchet slots and we dug it up.  I'm afraid it will die now that it is exposed to the weather.  Note also the roots and tubers running through the cracks.

Long Threads

In this image a root thread can be traced down the side of the depression and others can be seen including one that winds through the rock slash to the bottom left of the image

Torn out Area Contrast Corrected

This section shows the depression with the contrast corrected to show detail in the shadows better.  This revealed another Anomol (or two) like the one in only from a different angle.  It also shows an additional root thread in a small loop.

Citing of Prior Work

These image compositions are not supported by nor do they represent any work by scientists or other Mars researchers. They are purely my own compositions to satisfy my own curiosity. Any assertions that they ‘prove’ any particular theory should be backed up by further, actual, scientific, research.

The discoverers of these Anomols, whatever their ultimate disposition, are the MER teams of researchers and engineers.  Congratulations to them and thank you for these incredible discoveries.

JPL has pointed out in press releases in the last week that fibers have been discovered and they will very soon make an “official” announcement of their discoveries.

Background and Image Credits

Mars Exploration Rover B, MER B, popularly known as Opportunity, image compositions by Jill England, February and March 2004. All images are copyright 2004 by Jill England, permission is granted to all persons and entities for any non-commercial or news media use.

For additional use permissions or intermediate construction files please contact Jill England, 206.427.2620.

The original source images are the property of JPL, NASA, and the United States of America . You can find all of the original images on the NASA and JPL web sites under raw images. Anaglyphs are created by adjusting image orientation and matching appropriate images together then overlaying the appropriate color channels in a red left, blue right manner.

Nasa’s web site is; http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all

Visit Efrain Palermo's Web Page at the Palermo Project!