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A Bear on Mars?

A geographical feature on Mars looks like the face of a bear in this black and white image acquired by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured this bit of ursine pareidolia on Dec. 12, 2022. While it resembles a bear we might see on Earth, this is actually a hill on Mars with a peculiar shape. A V-shaped collapse structure makes the nose, two craters form the eyes, and a circular fracture pattern shapes the head. The circular fracture pattern might be due to the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater.

Launched on August 12, 2015, the MRO studies the history of water on Mars and observes small-scale features on the planet’s surface. See more examples of pareidolia—the human tendency to see recognizable shapes in unfamiliar objects or data—from Mars.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona