Humanoid Face on Mars
If you believe extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth in the past, it stands to reason they might also have visited Mars and set up bases there. When NASA’s Viking 1 orbiter began to send overhead photos of Mars in 1976, “ancient aliens” enthusiasts got excited about discovering formations that could possibly be the ruins of ancient alien-made structures. That excitement reached a fever pitch when NASA released a startling image.
It was a humanoid face with perfectly proportioned angular features, wearing some sort of helmet or headgear.
The face was an enormous object, and recognizable as a face only if viewed from high above (not unlike the mysterious Nazca Lines of Peru). Was it an “Alien Mt. Rushmore” monument? Or maybe a guidepost for arriving spacecraft?
NASA was perfectly happy to revel in the pop culture buzz the photo generated. At some time in the future, NASA would get a chance to photograph the object in greater detail – but in the meantime, why not just enjoy the free PR?
That time eventually came. As the 2001 NASA photo below reveals, the vaunted Face on Mars turned out to be nothing more than a natural land formation which – due to poor camera resolution and an odd sunlight angle – happened to resemble a human face in the earlier 1976 photo.
Alas, it was just another example of pareidolia – the human tendency to imagine faces and other objects in clouds and rock formations. The Face on Mars was no more real than the Man in the Moon. But the illusion was fun while it lasted.