Today's Image

Teddy bear on Mars sweeping social media

Teddy bear on Mars: Black-and-white surface with round circle, two depressions for 'eyes' and V-shaped formation for 'snout'.
Does this look like a teddy bear on Mars to you? This image is from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft. The spacecraft’s HiRISE camera captured the un-bear-ably charming image on December 12, 2022, from a distance of 155 miles (251 km) above Mars’ surface. Image via NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ University of Arizona.

Teddy bear on Mars

A playful image of a teddy bear on Mars has been making the rounds on social media. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft has been orbiting Mars for 16 years, providing insights into Martian terrain and sometimes charming pics, too. On January 25, 2023, the University of Arizona featured this image that MRO took on December 12, 2022. It described the features that create the look of the teddy bear:

There’s a hill with a V-shaped collapse structure (the nose), two craters (the eyes), and a circular fracture pattern (the head). The circular fracture pattern might be due to the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater. Maybe the nose is a volcanic or mud vent and the deposit could be lava or mud flows?

Now on sale! The 2023 EarthSky lunar calendar. A unique and beautiful poster-sized calendar showing phases of the moon every night of the year. Treat yourself!

Other faces on Mars

Seeing faces on Mars or the moon is not new. Our brains want to make sense out of randomness, a phenomenon called pareidolia. That’s why we sometimes talk of the man in the moon.

Viking 1 captured an image in 1976 that came to be known as the Face on Mars on the red planet’s Cydonia region. Mars Global Surveyor took a better look at this region on Mars in 2001. The updated image of this raised region of Martian landscape demystified the legend. You can read more about the explanation for the Face on Mars at NASA.

Bottom line: The HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured an image of a teddy bear on Mars that is sweeping social media.

Via University of Arizona

February 5, 2023
Today's Image

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Kelly Kizer Whitt

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