A few weeks ago, news broke — and I should clarify that the word “news” in this instance is used at its most liberal and adulterated — that NASA’s Curiosity rover, currently zipping around the surface of Mars, had quite possibly found a mouse on the red planet. At least, it had stumbled upon a distant object that seemed to resemble a mouse.

The internet, of course, went berserk over this shit. I’m now here to quickly debunk how and why this is so wrong so we can all move on with our lives and pay attention to other, bigger things in life, like the new Star Wars movie, and the miracles of hairiness.

If there is life on Mars, than we wouldn’t be looking for large rodents scurrying around for excess Martian garbage. The first thing we’d expect to find are signs of microbial and bacterial life. It’s not simply because these single-celled organisms are the most basic forms of life — and therefore would be the first kinds of extra-terrestrial organisms that would spring up on any planet or moon not named Earth. It’s also because microbes are, in some cases, equipped to survive extreme environments. They’re called extremophiles.

Mars is a very cold and very dry planet. So the kinds of extremophiles we’d be most on the lookout for on Mars are psychrophiles, which can grow and reproduce in below-freezing temperatures. They are often found in pockets of salty (or briny) water — which is exactly the kind of water NASA described when they announced the discovery of liquid water on the Martian surface.

There are other kinds extremophiles, too, that we might end up stumbling upon. Hypoliths, found here on Earth in Arctic and Antarctic, are capable of living underground in extremely cold deserts, protected by the harsh ultraviolet radiation and winds. Xerophiles, which are able to grown dry and desiccating conditions like deserts, could exist in warmer yet dryer parts of the planet.

More than likely, we’ll be seeing some sort of combination of the aforementioned traits and more capabilities observed in other extremophiles. If there’s life on Mars, it’s probably what we call a polyextremophile — capable of surviving in multiple types of extreme conditions that more accurately encompass the Martian climate.

Let’s also not forget the fact that the Martian atmosphere is about 100 times thinner than Earth’s — and 95.97 percent is carbon dioxide. Just 0.146 percent is oxygen. There is no way a mammalian life form like a mouse is living and running around on the red planet. Besides the unanswerable question of what it would subsist on, that mouse would likely resemble nothing like Earth’s own mice species.

If all of that isn’t enough to persuade you not to pay attention to Mars reports like this, than you should at least pay closer attention to the source of this hoopla: amateur astronomer Joe White, host of ArtAlienTV on YouTube. He first posted about this “discovery” on November 11.

As you can see, basically his only source of evidence is that he zooms in on the image, and then proclaims it looks like a mouse — like he’s some sort of goddamn genius.

It’s flimsy stuff, but not out of the ordinary for White. He’s an avid conspiracy theorist, and writes in the video description:

“When will the mainstream media take notice of the intelligent structure finds on Mars, Moon, Ceres, Pluto and other planetary bodies in our solar system?

“Is there a concerted effort to keep this from the public? The press only seem to publish very low quality finds the are very blurry and easy to dismiss with some childish headline or comment by someone who has never researched these planets for more then a minute on Google. The so called science media have a mental age of around 6 years old.”

I don’t think he gets out much.

When people stop paying attention to stories like this, they’ll stop trending. If you need to get your fill of articles about Mars, here’s several that should satiate that hunger.

And with that, I’ll also leave with you a better mouse on mars video to watch:

Photos via ArtAlienTV/Nasa