Orbiter captures image of a bear’s face on Mars

Orbiter captures image of a bear’s face on Mars

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As a NASA orbiter aimed its camera at the surface of Mars, a bear’s face seemed to look back.

A camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter called the High Resolution Imaging Experiment, or HiRISE, captured an image of the unusual geological feature in December.

A circular fracture pattern on the Martian surface forms the head, while two craters resemble eyes. A V-shaped collapse texture creates the illusion of a bear’s nose.

The circular fracture may be due to the deposition of a deposit on top of a buried impact crater that had been filled with lava or mud. The nose-like feature may be a volcanic vent or a mud vent.

The University of Arizona, which co-developed the camera with Ball Aerospace, shared the image on January 25.

The photo is reminiscent of another celestial “face” glimpsed by a NASA space observatory in October 2022, when the sun seemed to smile because of dark spots called coronal holes.

And last March, the rover Curiosity was spotted a rock formation that resembled a flower on Mars.

The HiRISE camera has been taking pictures of Mars since 2006, when the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter began orbiting the red planet. The powerful camera is designed to capture detailed images of the Martian surface, including features as small as 3 feet (1 meter).

The orbiter orbits Mars every 112 minutes and flies from about 255 kilometers above the South Pole to 320 kilometers above the North Pole.

The spacecraft and its array of instruments will help NASA scientists study Mars’ atmosphere, weather and climate, and how they change over time. The orbiter searches for evidence of water, ice and complex terrain and explores future landing sites for other missions.

The orbiter recently returned stunning images of what winter looks like on Mars.

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