NASA Spots a Perfect Bear Face Made of Craters on the Surface of Mars

NASA's HiRISE Mars Orbiter has become a priceless tool in space exploration. This camera, which is on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, has captured detailed images since 2006. Last year, it photographed a dune-filled crater that was designated the zero longitude point of Mars. As it continues documenting key topographic elements of the Red Planet, it sometimes stumbles upon intriguing—or fun—formations. In December 2022, HiRISE photographed a truly remarkable find. The appears to be a bear face on the Martian surface.

This striking resemblance isn't a singular formation, though. It is a curiously positioned group of natural land masses. The outline of the bear's head is a circular fracture pattern, while the eyes are two twin craters. The most dramatic feature, the nose, is described as a “V-shaped collapse structure” by the University of Arizona. “The circular fracture pattern might be due to the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater,” the HiRISE team hypothesizes. “Maybe the nose is a volcanic or mud vent and the deposit could be lava or mud flows?”

The image was shared in late January 2023 and it didn't take long for it to capture the public's imagination. While our familiarity with cartoonish teddy bears makes the resemblance striking, the HiRISE team points out that a few people thought it resembled a chicken; meanwhile, a Twitter user found it looked closer to an Angry Birds character.

This isn't the first odd formation that has been spotted on Mars. In May 2022, NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover photographed a mysterious “alien portal,” a door-shaped structure that turned out to be just two fractures in a rock. Given that there are chances that Mars may have had conditions to support life, these optical illusions always make us daydream about them being more than curious apparitions on the Martian surface.

NASA's HiRISE Mars Orbiter photographed what looks like a bear face on the surface of Mars.

HiRISE: Website | Twitter
h/t: [Gizmodo]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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