Bear's face on Mars? NASA’s MRO snaps intriguing photo; see post
Though NASA has not clearly clarified anything about the viral photo, the University of Arizona tried to explain it in its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory blog
It’s not a new thing to see illusionary images or facial representations on other objects. This sort of illusion is a basic human tendency and is termed “facial pareidolia” by scientists. There are several instances where people are able to find bizarre faces on clouds. However, one could hardly imagine finding a similarity to a bear’s face on the surface of Mars. But this actually happened after NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured a crater resembling a bear’s face on the Red Planet. The image has gone viral across social media with the space agency dropping the photo on their Twitter page named ‘HiRise: Beautiful Mars’.
HiPOD: A Bear on Mars?
This feature looks a bit like a bear’s face. What is it really?
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona#Mars #science #NASA https://t.co/2WUNquTUZH pic.twitter.com/1k2ZnLcJ5o
— HiRISE: Beautiful Mars (NASA) (@HiRISE) January 25, 2023
The picture was shot by the MRO’s High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera and depicts a rocky formation that looks somewhat like a bear’s face. Given that it is one of the most precise and clear photographs of a Martian structure to date, the image has been generating a lot of discussion among scientists and the general public as well.
Though NASA has not clarified anything about the viral photo, the University of Arizona tried to explain it in its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory blog. According to them, the bear’s nose is a V-shaped collapsed structure, while the eyes are nothing but two craters. The settlement of a deposit over an underlying impact crater may be the cause of the circular pattern which gives it the shape of a bear’s face. The V-shaped nose may be a volcanic or mud vent and the discharge may be lava or mudflows.
The photograph has garnered hundreds of likes and retweets so far since being uploaded on 25 January. The comment section had mixed reactions from users. While some joked about the photo, others expressed their curiosity about the newly-discovered structure.
A person sarcastically wrote, “So this is the proof that they are intelligent bears on Mars.”
So this is the proof that they are intelligent bears on Mars 😊
— Nyck Slyder (@NyckSlyder) January 26, 2023
Another user quipped, “It’s a zoomed-in choco chip cookie.”
It’s a zoomed in choc chip cookie
— Jarrod Wood (@JarrodWood37) January 26, 2023
An individual attempted to anticipate the reason behind such structures and noted, “Subsidence of shallow sediment layers fill into a paleo-impact crater in the subsurface. Perhaps due to differential compaction or movement of the mobile ice layer. Disruption at the centre could indicate the crater had a central peak, or perhaps it’s due to diapiric ice.”
Subsidence of shallow sediment layers and fill into a palaeo impact crater in the subsurface. Perhaps due to differential compaction, or movement of mobile ice layer. Disruption at centre could indicate the crater had a central peak, or perhaps it’s due to diapiric ice.
— Barry Keeling (@I_am_foxbat) January 26, 2023
Here are some other reactions:
Doge ain’t no bear pic.twitter.com/moTFSKQjGO
— Rob Manuel 🧻 (@robmanuel) January 25, 2023
The fact that NASA is hiding the truth about life on Mars is unbearable.
— Don Hammond (@bluestatedon) January 25, 2023
Gonna be honest, a bear isn’t what I saw first. pic.twitter.com/belwUCJOda
— timsplosion (@timsplosion) January 25, 2023
Since its launch in 2006, the MRO has been orbiting Mars and has made a number of ground-breaking findings, including the finding of water ice on the planet’s surface and the location of suitable landing locations for future missions.
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