Nasa astronomers have discovered a strange structure on Mars resembling a bear’s face, marking yet another instance in which rock formations on the Red Planet have triggered the human tendency to see familiar features in random objects.
The weird geological formation on Mars consists of two craters that appear to make up the eyes of the ”bear,” and a V-shaped collapsed hill for its snout, according to the University of Arizona, which runs a high resolution camera on-board Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
“There’s a hill with a V-shaped collapse structure (the nose), two craters (the eyes), and a circular fracture pattern (the head),” The University of Arizona noted in a statement.
“This feature looks a bit like a bear’s face,” it said.
Researchers say the circular fracture pattern could be due to the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater while the bear nose-like structure is likely a volcanic or mud vent.
They suspect that the material deposited over the crater might be lava or mud.
This isn’t the first time weird geological formations have been spotted on Mars.
In May last year, Nasa’s Curiosity Mars rover spotted a strange rock formation that looked like an “alien doorway” on the Red Planet.
Scientists said the rock feature may have formed as a result of natural stress fracture like from seismic activities.
Another rock formation spotted in February last year resembled a tranquil person hanging out on Mars.
This phenomenon to see familiar objects in random places is a human tendency called “pareidolia.”
Psychologists and neuroscientists describe it as the way that humans tend to see something meaningful in objects that are just arbitrarily arranged.
The phonemenon isn’t just confined to Mars.
In December 2021, China’s Yutu 2 lunar rover appeared to spot a “mystery hut” on the Moon.
It was a weirdly shaped rock that was unusually symmetrical with a flat top which researchers might be an alien hut.
New images found that the object is actually a small lumpy rock sitting on the edge of a crater which scientists named “jade rabbit” after its shape.
Michael Shermer, an American historian of science and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, once called this nature of humans to spot such strange features “patternicity” – the tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise.
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