Is it a bear? Wolf? “Dose”? The Internet has mixed opinions about a picture released by NASA showing what looks like a bear’s face on Mars.
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the Red Planet and has been sending high-resolution images for about 17 years, took the image on December 12. The orbiting camera is an element of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, often called HiRISE, which is managed by the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona.
When HiRISE shared a photograph of the bear on Twitter, the web had its own ideas about what the character looked like. Some said it looked more like “Doge”, a famous cryptocurrency that became a web meme. Others said it was the face of an owl. Some speculated that it was a well-liked character from Paddington Bear movies and youngsters’s books
Scientists say it is definitely a hill with a collapsed V-shaped structure (nose), two craters for the eyes, and a “circular fracture pattern” that forms the pinnacle.
“The circular crack pattern could also be resulting from sediment deposited over a buried impact crater,” the HiRISE researchers said.
“Maybe just smile and hold on,” they joked.
According to HiRISE, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s camera “operates in visible wavelengths, the identical wavelengths because the human eye, but with a telescopic lens that produces images at a resolution never before seen in planetary exploration missions.”
“These high-resolution images enable scientists to differentiate 1 meter (about 3 feet) objects on Mars and study the morphology (surface structure) in a rather more comprehensive way than ever before,” in accordance with the HiRISE website.