Baloo, Vinnie and the Care Bears now have company in the firmament of famous bears: NASA has discovered a strange geological formation on the surface of Mars that resembles the head of a bear cub.
Interestingly, the photo was taken last month by the US space agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which orbits the Red Planet with an onboard HiRISE high-resolution camera, the most powerful ever sent by humans in the solar system.
“Bear on Mars?” asks the Twitter account of the HiRISE project, which posted the photo on Wednesday.
According to the University of Arizona scientists who are leading the project, the animal’s snout is actually formed by “two craters” that form the eyes and a gutted “mound” that looks like a snout. These features are surrounded by a “circular fault” that delimits the contours of the head and may be formed by lava or mud deposits.
All this creates the impression of a smiling face of a teddy bear. What a coincidence to get a geological formation stretching over two kilometers.
The HiRISE camera is one of six instruments aboard this NASA satellite, which has been orbiting Mars since 2006. The ultra-precise camera captures highly detailed images to map the surface of the red planet for future robotic missions. or people.
Within a decade, scientists who succeed were able, for example, to photograph avalanches on Mars and found dark trails that could be salt water flowing down ravines.
They also spotted dust swirls on the planet’s surface and another geological formation that looks suspiciously like the emblem of the Starfleet force tasked with exploring space in the Star Trek television series.
But even with high-definition images, the little green men that the popular imagination was supposed to inhabit Mars have so far proved elusive.