NASA Explains Giant Bear Face on Mars

Hey there, Pooh?
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2023 9:20 AM CST
You'd Think It's a Bear —Except It's on Mars
Pooh, is that you?   (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona)

There's a giant bear on Mars—or rather a rock formation that looks remarkably like one. NASA shared the intriguing image, captured last month by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, in a Wednesday release. Taken from 156 miles above Mars' southern hemisphere, it shows two circular craters above a muzzle-shaped structure, enclosed in a circular stress fracture which forms the face. And it's a big one. The image covers an area some 6,560 feet across, per CNET. Of course, there are no bears—giant or otherwise—on Mars. This is an example of pareidolia, the tendency to see recognizable objects in random or natural shapes.

This isn't the first time the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has spotted something very familiar to humans on Mars. In 2019, it captured what looked to be the Star Trek Starfleet logo on the Hellas Planitia plain, also in Mars' southern hemisphere. Mars also boasts a formation that, in a 1976 image taken by the Viking 1 spacecraft, looks remarkably like a human face, per Insider. The Hubble Space Telescope has also captured a cluster of galaxies in the shape of a smiley face. NASA scientists believe the bear face formation to be a buried impact crater. The muzzle-like structure could be an old volcano or mud vent, per the release. (More Mars stories.)

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