(WTAJ) — When you think of life on another planet, the last thing on your mind is probably an animal — but NASA seems to have found a “bear” on Mars for Friday’s Image of the Day.
A photo taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured a bit of “ursine pareidolia” on Dec. 12, 2022. A few craters and a V-shaped structure seem to have created the face of a bear on the Martian surface.
What is “ursine pareidolia?”
According to Merriam-Webster: “The meaning of pareidolia is the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.”
The meaning of ursine is simply “relating to or resembling a bear.”
You may be more familiar with face pareidolia — which is a tendency to see the shape of human faces in objects such as clouds, trees, and even rocks.
NASA believes the circular fracture pattern might have been caused by the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater. Meanwhile, two crater impacts make up the “eyes” while the v-shaped collapse forms a perfect-looking bear snout.
It’s unknown what the “snout” actually is, but NASA speculates it could be a volcanic or mud vent and the deposit could be lava or mudflows. They suggest we just “grin and bear it,” even though it’s clearly missing some ears.
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So don’t hibernate on us. Take a look and see if you can see the “bear” on Mars!