A martian profile of Gandhi

Posted by Bill Andrews
on Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ah, Mars. We’ve always enjoyed looking up and imagining what’s there, and thanks to the latest technology, we can see it in pretty surprising detail. Imagine my surprise to find out what’s been staring right back at us the whole time: Gandhi!

Satellite photos reveal something very like the face of Gandhi (or Curly) staring back at us from the surface of Mars.
// Photo by ESA/Google Maps/Matteo Ianneo/Before It's News
Yes, after Googling one of the most improbable phrases of all time (“Gandhi on Mars”), you too can read all about the face of the famed Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi appearing amidst some rocky outcroppings on the martian surface. (Personally, though, I think it looks more like Curly from the Three Stooges.)

Let me quickly point out that the find, discovered by Matteo Ianneo of Italy as he perused Google Mars, is not an actual carving of a man’s face. Just like the famed Face on Mars, what we see here is merely a trick of the light — albeit a pretty convincing one. Should you wish to see for yourself, look for the new “face” at 33°12'29.82"N, 12°55'51.21"W (on Mars).

The illusion arises because human beings are just really good at spotting faces, even when they’re not actually visages on purpose. The phenomenon is known as pareidolia, and it’s responsible for some of the other interesting claims out there of seeing faces in inanimate objects.

As it turns out, this latest face on Mars is a mere trick of the light, illuminating a naturally created formation to make it look — quite a bit — like a face. // Photo by ASU Mars Space Flight Facility
Just something to keep in mind the next time you’re looking at Mars with your naked eyes, through a lens, or on a computer screen. Will Mars’ wonders never cease?

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