Forget the man in the moon, it’s all about the bear on Mars now.
On Wednesday, NASA researchers shared a satellite image of what looks like a bear’s face on the surface of Mars. The photo was taken on Dec. 12, 2022 by the agency’s High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, which is attached to NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
“This feature looks a bit like a bear’s face. What is it really?” the HiRISE Twitter account asked.
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
Though researchers couldn’t say for certain what the bear face was made of, the University of Arizona team tasked with operating the camera said the space-gazing bear is likely made from craters and a circular fracture.
The team wrote that the bear’s nose is a “hill with a V-shaped collapse structure” and its eyes are made from two craters. The bear’s head is “a circular fracture pattern” that may have been formed by a lava or mud deposit settling over a buried impact crater.
On social media, there was debate as to what the grouping of craters really looked like. Some said the image resembled an Angry Bird or the once-popular Doge meme of a Shiba Inu.
It's a Mars bear 😆
Image resembling Paddington Bear is seen on the surface of the Red Planet taken by a #NASA orbiter using a very powerful HiRISE camera.
They said it could be a buried impact crater, volcanic or a mud vent. pic.twitter.com/WAlUcvcpCd
— Mr Pål Christiansen 🇳🇴😍🇬🇧 (@TheNorskaPaul) January 27, 2023
yeah? Really bear? pic.twitter.com/lbHjpFRxcI
— Piotr, "Mrówa" (@PPmruwa) January 26, 2023
Doge ain't no bear pic.twitter.com/moTFSKQjGO
— Rob Manuel 🧻 (@robmanuel) January 25, 2023
Humans are known to see faces in inanimate objects like electrical sockets or car lights as a result of a phenomenon called facial pareidolia. Due to the brain’s priming, humans often attempt to find meaning or a pattern where there is none. Even seeing the face of the ‘man in the moon‘ is caused by facial pareidolia.
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