Look, we all know that space is the final frontier, that space is cold and unforgiving and that in it, nobody can hear you scream. But what you might not know is that, when it thinks nobody is looking, space puts on a frilly dress, covers its forearms in honey and spins around until it falls over ... because space is just flat-out crazy as hell. Oh, don't take our word for it or anything; we have photographic evidence.
#12. Jupiter in Motion
You know what Jupiter looks like -- kind of like a dirty marble -- and you know, objectively, that those bands and swirls you're looking at are all big storms. But it's one thing to know something like that, and another to see it in action. Here's a gif of what Jupiter's storms actually look like in motion.
IT'S GETTING CLOSER!
You might have seen this before in the movie Another Earth, but if not, well, now you have this time-lapse gif to haunt your existential nightmares for the rest of time. The way those bands all churn at separate speeds and writhe around on the surface in every direction at once -- Jupiter looks less like a serene gas giant and more like a behemoth, roiling mass of space tentacles. And if our totally reasonable and scientific predictions pan out, and Jupiter does indeed turn out to be the egg of Space Cthulhu, we know exactly where it was laid ...
#11. The Bottomless Pit on the Sun
What looks like a terrifying cavern in the middle of a Minecraft lava lake is actually a closeup of a sunspot taken from the New Jersey Institute of Technology's Big Bear Solar Observatory. We would've guessed all sorts of things from this image -- a retinal image from Sauron's annual eye exam, an extreme closeup of some kind of skin infection, a freshly violated orange -- but never the sun. Since when is the friggin' sun black? Well, probably since around the same time that ...
#10. Mars Grew a Bunch of Faces
Remember that famous face on Mars that turned out to be a big, fat nothing?
Or that "happy face crater" from Watchmen?
By God, that was one hell of an ARG.
Well, they ain't got jack in comparison to the masterworks of Mars' more gifted Renaissance sculptor: Libya Montes, most famous for her "crowned face" of Mars.
The Crowned Faces
Is that ... Prince?
Why have we never seen this before? That visage is way more compelling than the crude scrawl of the happy face or the expressionless mask of Martian Andre the Giant up there. You can actually make out details on this one: Those full lips, big, round eyes, perky little nose -- hell, we don't just see a face there; we can actually make out enough detail to definitively state whether or not we'd bone the model who sat for it.
(We would, obviously.)
But hold on to your space-monocles, ladies and gentlemen, because Mars gets way, way crazier from here ...
#9. Mars Is a Dali Fan
What is that? Kelp beneath the ocean? Black food coloring dropped in a glass of rose? A bitchin' new screensaver for the iPad? Nope, that's Mars. Those are "intersecting swirling trails" left by dust devils racing across the sand dunes. The dark streaks, however, are another matter ...
The first people to day-trip on Mars are in for a treat.
That looks like a surrealist's impression of a dozen mascara-laced eyes dribbling tears down their giant eyelashes. Or maybe it's an aerial shot of oases in an oversaturated desert. Or no, maybe it's just Mars being weird again: What you are looking at are actually "dark streaks of collapsed material running down sand dunes due to carbon dioxide frost evaporation."
Or hey, maybe for once your eyes aren't lying to you, and it's just the billion-eyed Lady of the Red Planet having a good eon-long cry. But why would she be crying? Well, maybe it's because Mars just misses you so damn much ...
#8. Hearts of Mars
Don't buy into any of that "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" crap. Mars has remembered Valentine's Day every year for the last several millennia, while Venus not only leaves the toilet seat up, it also rains fiery acid every damn day.
OK, OK, clearly we're overreacting to some very basic shapes formed by meteor strikes and such. But you know what we're not overreacting to? The goddamn Bigfoot sightings.
#7. Martian Bigfoot
H-Harry Henderson? This picture snapped by NASA appears to be the first official Bigfoot sighting on Mars. The mysterious figure in question can be seen in the bottom left of this image, just behind the piles of rocks.
The Planetary Society
No, next to the other rocks. The piles.
There you have it. That's why all those Bigfoot hunters were having such a hard time: The hairy lil' dude up and joined the space program. Of course, smart people point out all sorts of reasons why that's a very, very stupid thing to think (the phrase "Bigfoot on Mars" should've maybe been the first clue), but we're terminally dumb and panicky over here, and are therefore already preparing for the arrival of our Simian Martian Overlords.
We made cake. It didn't turn out very good, but we're hoping the thought counts enough to keep us out of those hellish Martian Banana Camps.