An eerie video claiming to show an ‘alien’ figure walking on the moon went viral earlier this week.

Theories ranged from shadows cast by a nearby boulder to an ancient alien statue placed on the lunar surface. Now Nasa has announced the figure is simply ‘dust, an eyelash or scratch on the negative’ of the film that took the image.

The video, showing the images, was posted by YouTube user Wowforreel and it has already been viewed more than two million times in less than a month. Noah Petro, a deputy project scientist for the Lunar Renaissance Orbiter (LROC) mission that is currently orbiting the moon, told Pix11 that the image was taken by either the Apollo 15 or 17 manned missions to the moon in 1971 and 1972 respectively.

He points out that a current LROC doesn’t show any lunar feature that could cause that pattern on the ground. ‘My best guess, is that something (dust, an eyelash, scratch on the negative) was on the film,’ Dr Petro told Pix11.

‘Remember, this was in the pre-digital days when all sorts of nasty things could happen to film.’ The popularity of the video can be explained by a psychological phenomenon called Pareidolia, which is the brain’s response to seeing faces and other significant objects in random stimulus. Wowforreel said he started investigating the shadow, which can also be seen on Google Moon at 27°34’26.35?N 19°36’4.75?W, after receiving an online tip from another web user named Jasenko.

‘An irregularly shaped dark spot he noticed on Google Moon looks like it could be a cast shadow from a massive standing object, or figure,’ Wowforreeel told UFO Sighting Daily. ‘At first I thought maybe it was something drawn into the picture but after going to Google Moon, whatever it is or isn’t uh, is there.’

Tom Rose, a paranormal explainer, wrote in the Examiner the figure bears an uncanny resemblance to what the ancient statue, ‘The Colossus of Rhodes’, is thought to have looked like before it was felled a massive earthquake in 226 BC. This isn’t the first time that Wowforreel has spotted strange objects after ploughing through Google’s moon series.

In January, the user highlighted controversial images which showed what some people believed could be a secret alien base or spaceship on the moon.

 The triangular anomaly, spotted on Google’s map of the moon, had rows of seven light-like dots along its edge. ‘Is it just a weird looking crater? or is it something else?,’ he asked.

‘It is really there, not faked and I have no clue what it is. I found nothing else like it in any of the other craters.’ According to website Tech and Gadget News: ‘The gigantic shape actually looks like the leading edge of an immense, triangular space ship, similar to, so far, super secret stealth aircraft technology, but is much larger than any airplane ever built on Earth. 

‘The regularly spaced, circular promontory shapes which make up the seven points on the perfectly formed triangle wedge seem to be intelligently designed. ‘To date, no other feature has ever been discovered which matches this shape on the moon, or any other planet observed by satellite or exploratory rover.

‘The anomaly is so huge, it’s possible it is some sort of moon base used as a facility for storing and launching alien UFO spacecraft.’ The same YouTube user also claims to have found a similar mystery structure on Earth, nestled under the ice in Antarctica. ‘It is also a triangular shape, measuring 125 by 90mtres.

‘It is unique in the area,’ he said. Tricks of light in space photography have led to a number of excited reports about alien life in our solar system. In November, paranormal researchers found what they believed to be evidence of a fossilised iguana on the surface of Mars.