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As a NASA orbiter turned its camera toward Mars, the bear’s face appeared to stare back.
A camera on 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 shapes the head, while two craters resemble the eyes. V-shaped slope The texture creates the illusion of a bear’s nose.
Circular fractures may have resulted from emplacement of deposits over a buried impact crater filled with lava or mud. A nose-like feature is either a volcanic vent or a mud vent.
The University of Arizona, which developed the camera through Paul Aerospace, He shared the picture On January 25.
The photo is reminiscent of another celestial “face” seen by the NASA space probe in October 2022. The sun seemed to smile Because of black spots called coronal holes.
Last March, the Curiosity rover was discovered A rock formation resembling a flower in Mars.
The HiRISE camera has been taking images of Mars since the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter began orbiting the red planet in 2006. The powerful camera is designed to capture detailed images of the Martian surface, including features as small as 3 feet (1 meter).
The orbiter circles Mars every 112 minutes, flying from about 160 miles (255 kilometers) above the South Pole to 200 miles (320 kilometers) above the North Pole.
The spacecraft and its suite of instruments help NASA scientists study the Martian atmosphere, weather and climate and how they change over time. The orbiter searches for sources of water, ice and complex terrain and scouts for future landing sites for other missions.
Most recently, the orbiter returned Amazing pictures of what winter looks like on Mars.