Faces of Mars


Photographer Viking 1 & Mars Global Surveyor


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(Left)New “face” on Mars. Image taken by the Mars Global Surveyor in 2000 or 2001
(Right) Twenty five years ago something funny happened around Mars. NASA’s Viking 1 spacecraft was circling the planet, snapping photos of possible landing sites for its sister ship Viking 2, when it spotted the shadowy likeness of a human face. An enormous head nearly two miles from end to end seemed to be staring back at the cameras from a region of the Red Planet called Cydonia.
There must have been a degree of surprise among mission controllers back at the Jet Propulsion Lab when the face appeared on their monitors. But the sensation was short lived. Scientists figured it was just another Martian mesa, common enough around Cydonia; only this one had unusual shadows that made it look like an Egyptian Pharaoh.
However, explainable these photographs are still very interesting to look at.