Have you heard, Mardi Gras has made it to Mars!!! Yesterday there were rumors flying about the internet about a massive discovery of plastic found on Mars. With only a quick glance it seemed to be a legit press release from Jet Propulsion Lab in California. However, for anyone that looked at the article for more then 30 seconds it was obvious that this was a nicely executed hoax. Phil Plait from Bad Astronomer wrote a great post last night listing all of the ways that this hoax outed itself. The prankster obviously wanted to take advantage of the “earthshaking” announcement from last week that something was found on Mars. Its been later determined that even that previous press release was an over exaggeration by a reporter after an interview with a Curiosity team member.
Massive scientific hoaxes aren’t new, they have been around for ages. Sometimes they are a lot harder to spot then this one, and cause a lot more confusion then this little prank. One of the greatest achievements of the scientific method is the ability for correction over time. No matter how elaborate the hoax, science will be able to eventually prove or disprove a skeptic. There are times that hoaxes almost get by without detection, and as a reminder to stay ever vigilant to the proof here are five of the greatest scientific hoaxes of all time.