Is there life on Mars? Nasa’s super camera spots ‘bear’s face’ on red planet
Nasa scientists have discovered what appears to be the face of a bear on the surface of Mars.
The image, taken by the powerful HiRise (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, captured a photo of the bear formation on the red planet last month.
"There's a hill with a V-shaped collapse structure (the nose), two craters (the eyes), and a circular fracture pattern (the head)," said scientists at the University of Arizona, who believe 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?" they asked, adding: "Maybe just grin and bear it."
HiRise, one of six instruments aboard the Orbiter, takes highly detailed pictures of Mars, which help to map the surface for possible future missions, either by humans or robots.
The camera, which has been circling Mars since 2006, is thought to be the most powerful camera ever to venture into the Solar System.
The University of Arizona, which operates the camera, shared the image last week.
Each one of the features in the 2,000 metre-wide face has a possible explanation that hints at just how active the surface of the planet is.
In the last decade, the team has managed to capture images of avalanches as they happened, and discovered dark flows that could be some kind of liquid.
Scientists have also found dust devils twirling across the Martian surface, as well as a feature that some people thought looked similar to Star Trek's Starfleet logo.
Last year, Nasa Solar Dynamics Observatory shared an image that looked like a “smiling sun”.