NASA finds the face of a bear on the surface of Mars

An image captured on December 12 by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals a peculiar rock formation on Mars that reminds us of the face of a bear. The HiRise camera, on board the probe, was responsible for capturing this image, at an altitude of 251 km above the surface of the red planet.

The screenshot shows a rock formation that resembles the head of a bear, but the University of Arizona reveals the true nature of this illusion. Two small craters make up the bear’s eyes, while the snout and jaws would be formed by a collapsed V-shaped structure. The outline of the head, on the other hand, could be due to sediment settlement in an impact crater. According to the team behind the discovery, it could also be a volcanic or mud vent.

This is not the first strange phenomenon observed on Mars. In 1976, the Viking 1 spacecraft captured a grim image of a rock structure in a region called Cydonia. Here, it revealed a formation resembling a human face. Later, in 2001, images taken by NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor probe showed that the supposed human face was due to the poor resolution of Viking 1.

In addition, structures that resembled a door, a woman, and even a smiling face have been observed in the past. All of them, of course, are nothing more than an illusion produced by the rocks, the light and the observation perspective. The most recent are the strange deep formations whose origin is still being studied.

The strange formations of Mars continue to raise eyes

3D map of the north pole on Mars

Mars is under constant surveillance, either from its surface or from above. This is why it is not surprising that these optical illusions appear periodically on the Martian surface. While they may resemble something familiar, they are simply a manifestation of nature and have no extraterrestrial significance.

However, these images are valuable to scientists, as they help them better understand the red planet and its geological processes. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, in orbit around Mars since 2006, continues to capture detailed images of the planet’s surface and send data back to Earth for study by scientists around the world.

NASA has partnered with different companies to bring humans to Mars. Thus, it is likely that within a few years the first manned spacecraft will take off for the red planet. This will not only mean a great achievement for our species, but also for the understanding of our planetary neighbor, being able to study these strange formations first hand.