Is there any life on Mars? Perhaps, he could have dropped his teddy bear

It’s bigger than the average bear, say space scientists: there’s a two-kilometer-wide bear face on Mars.

Move Yogi, Paddington and Winnie the Pooh. There’s a new bear in town. Or on Mars anyway.

The bright face of a cute-looking bear seems to have been carved on the surface of our nearest planet, waiting for a passing satellite to discover it.

And when the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passed by last month, carrying the most powerful camera ever on board to venture into the solar system, that’s exactly what happened.

The scientists behind the HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Scientific Experiment), which has been orbiting Mars since 2006, have unpacked the data it brought back to Earth, and have now published an image of the face.

“There is a mound with a V-shaped collapse structure (the nose), two fossae (the eyes), and a circular fracture pattern (the head),” said scientists at the University of Arizona, which manages the collection.

Each of the features in the 2,000-meter (1.25-mile) wide face contains a possible explanation for how active the planet’s surface is.

“The circular fracture pattern may be caused by sediment being deposited over a buried impact crater,” the scientists said.

“Maybe the nose is a volcanic or mud vent and the deposit could be lava or mudflows?”

HiRISE, one of six instruments aboard Orbiter, is taking super-detailed images of the Red Planet that help map the surface for potential future missions, either by humans or robots.

Over the past 10 years, the team has been able to take pictures of avalanches as they happen, and they’ve discovered dark flows that could be a type of fluid.

They also found Orbiting across the surface of Mars, as well as a feature that some people think is a lot like Starfleet’s logo for Star Trek.

However, one thing they haven’t found is the little green men who were once thought to inhabit the planet.

© 2023 AFP

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