Elephant Face on Mars image taken by NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera revealed (Photo)

By on Apr 7, 2012 in Astronomy, Weird Comments

An image of the so-called elephant face on Mars, as shown in the photo below, was recently taken by NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), using the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.

‘Elephant face’ on Mars
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

According to a report by HiRISE on its official website on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, the “elephant face on Mars” is a classic example of pareidolia, a phenomenon where images of things or animals can be seen but are not actually there.

As noted in the report, the image of the geological feature covers the margin of a lava flow in Elysium Planitia, the youngest flood-lava province on Mars; and was once being believed to be emplaced extremely rapidly, like a flood of water.

“Most lava floods on Earth are emplaced over years to decades, and this is probably true for much of the lava on Mars as well.” University of Arizona planetary geologist Alfred McEwen wrote at UAHiRISE.org.

“However, there is also evidence for much more rapidly flowing lava on Mars, a true flood of lava. In this instance, maybe this elephant couldn’t run away fast enough.” McEwen added, noting the image the subimage is not map-projected, which means North is down.

Nevertheless, this latest image was noted to be only among the great popular culture pareidolia on Mars, including the so-called “Martian Yeti” when an image of what looked like a man but was later found out to be a great formation of rocks.

However, the most popular pareidolia on Mars was noted to be the 1976 Viking 1 photograph of the Face on Mars, which become a pop icon and was even used in the 2000 Hollywood film “Mission to Mars”.

Related post: Lava spirals on Mars discovered, first time identified on an extraterrestrial setting (Photo)

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