UFO Hunters Say They Found a Cannonball on Mars—Only Problem Is It's Tiny and Definitely Not a Cannonball

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Not a cannonball. UFO Sightings Daily/NASA

No, we do not have proof that ancient Martians blew each other to smithereens with cannonballs. Probably because that never happened, but definitely because the viral "evidence" of Martian warfare is quite literally not much to look at.

To bring you up to speed, the conspiracy site UFO Sightings Daily recently posted about a video purporting to show what was very generously interpreted as a "cannonball" on the Red Planet, and now people are proclaiming with absolute certainty that this cannonball is proof of Martian war.

"This metal ball is perfectly formed and about the size of a softball here on earth. Guess what? That also matches the size of a cannon ball," UFO hunter Scott C. Waring wrote on the website of the UFO Sightings Daily. "This is 100% evidence of a war on Mars. This projectile is sitting on the surface above all the wrecked stone structures around it. Fragments of a once civilization is sitting scattered in tiny pieces around this cannon ball."

It's not always helpful to pay attention to conspiracy theories, but in this case it's important to point out that the "cannonball" is nothing mysterious or unaccounted by science.

As NASA has explained in the past, these cannonballs are sedimentary rocks that have become rounded by a process called concretion. This involves minerals forming bubbles inside rocks that lie underwater (remember, there was once liquid water on Mars). As Tech Times explained, sediment is soft enough that when the water dries, the rock is left in a perfect sphere shape.

As Outer Places reported, the phenomenon is a pretty common one. NASA already explained the concretion process when a similar image made the rounds in 2014. Instead of civilization-ending cannonballs, though, NASA compared them to a rather more innocuous spherical object: blueberries, a moniker by which they've been known for years. These rocks are typically a few centimeters across, and were first spotted by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity in April of 2004.

A nice round Martian "blueberry" (concretion?) from sol 746, #Curiosity. Right side of image. pic.twitter.com/IDwVsCznz2

— planetaria (@planetaria_blog) September 24, 2014

The tradition of getting over-excited about Martian imagery goes back hundreds of years, as outlets like Live Science have explained. Most notably, 150 years ago a mistranslation from canali, the Italian word for channels, resulted in a rash of proclamations that there were canals (and therefore running water) currently all over Mars. The grooves that the Italian astronomer had been trying to write about were as dry then as they are today.