Is there life on Mars? Maybe, and it could have dropped its teddy
Yogi, Paddington and Winnie the Pooh, move over. There’s a new bear in town. Or on Mars, anyway.
A cute-looking teddy bear with a beaming face appears to have been carved into the surface of our planet’s closest neighbor while it waited for a passing satellite to find it.
That’s exactly what happened when the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter flew by last month, carrying the most powerful camera ever to enter the Solar System.
The data that made it back to Earth were crunched by scientists operating the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment), which has been circling Mars since 2006. A picture of the face has now been published.
According to researchers at the University of Arizona, which runs the kit, “There’s a hill with a V-shaped collapse structure (the nose), two craters (the eyes), and a circular fracture pattern (the head).”
There is a possible explanation for each of the features on the face, which is 1.25 miles wide and 2,000 meters high, which suggests how active the planet’s surface is.
According to the scientists, “the circular fracture pattern might be due to the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater.”
“Maybe the deposit is lava or mud flows, and maybe the nose is a volcanic or mud vent?”
HiRISE, one of the Orbiter’s six instruments, takes super-detailed pictures of the Red Planet to help map the surface for future human or robot missions.
The team has been able to capture images of avalanches as they occur over the past ten years and has discovered dark flows that may be liquid.
They’ve also discovered dust devils twirling across the surface of the Martian planet, as well as a feature that some thought resembled the Starfleet logo from Star Trek.
They have, however, not discovered the tiny green men that were once widely believed to inhabit the planet.