We've all had those moments where we're confident we can see the outline of a cow, a dragon, or even a human face in the clouds above us. It's a common phenomenon that if we stare at something long enough, we will begin to see shapes forming. This week, after NASA released new photos of the Red Planet and revealed its giant crater, many curious fans got to work, examining its fine features. Sure enough, after a few hours of looking closely at the hole, they couldn't help but notice it looked a lot like a human body part...
The black and white photos in question were taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter probe, which has been orbiting the planet since 2006. The impact crater they depict is 1,800 meters (1.1 miles) wide and is believed to be located in Chryse Planitia, situated in the Northern Hemisphere of Mars. However, more than its remarkable size and detail, everyone wanted to talk about its shape. Even the space agency themselves couldn't deny it - the oblong-shaped hole with a left indent looked exactly like a human ear!
"Is it pareidolia, where we see features like faces and patterns where they do not really exist if the shape really does resemble something?" a NASA spokesperson commented, offering potential psychological reasoning for the instant recognition of the ear. "In this case, we're looking at an odd-shaped impact crater that looks a great deal like an ear. And once you see it, it's almost impossible to un-see." This is not the first time weird items have been identified from pictures released from a Nasa Mars Rover. In April this year, many pointed out the potato-shaped object that was eclipsing the sun.
In July, NASA was again forced to dispel theories of life on Mars when photos taken by the company's Perseverance rover appeared to show a plate of spaghetti on the planet's surface. They confirmed that the bizarre spaghetti-like substance was actually a shredded piece of Dacron netting which had come from a thermal blanket used during the rover's descent. Keep your eyes peeled, we're certain more discoveries await!