Did we just see a bear on Mars? A NASA image shows what looks like a bear’s face on the Red Planet. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that has been circling Mars for 17 years captured the image on December 12, 2022 – drawing mixed reactions on the internet.
The orbiter has been sending high-resolution images of Mars for almost two decades and is part of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, also known as HiRISE, managed by the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona.
Is it a bear? The doge meme dog?
When the image found fame on Twitter, many use thought that it resembled “Doge,” the famous internet meme that became a cryptocurrency. Many others thought it had some resemblance to an owl’s face. Others came up with something that seems more fitting – the children’s book character Paddington Bear.
Unfortunately, it is none of those things. Researchers say that it is actually a hill with a V-shaped collapse structure that appears like the bear’s nose. The two eyes are actually craters and what makes up the head is a “circular fracture pattern.”
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“The circular fracture pattern might be due to the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater,” HiRISE researchers say. “May be just grin and bear it,” the researchers said jokingly, according to The University of Arizona.
How does the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter camera work, you wonder? HiRISE states that the camera “operates in visible wavelengths, the same as human eyes, but with a telescopic lens that produces images at resolutions never before seen in planetary exploration missions.”
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“These high-resolution images enable scientists to distinguish 1-metre-size objects on Mars and to study the morphology in a much more comprehensive manner than ever before,” HiRISE website states.
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