NewsNASA spots unusual round dunes on Mars, with one resembling a teddy bear's head

NASA spots unusual round dunes on Mars, with one resembling a teddy bear's head

Screenshot from NASA
Screenshot from NASA
Images source: © NASA

11:56 AM EST, January 11, 2024

The spacecraft from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration captured a remarkable picture depicting round dunes, an unprecedented sight on the Red Planet. The image was taken by the MRO High-Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) color camera.

"Sand dunes of many shapes and sizes are common on Mars, but in this case, the dunes are almost perfectly round, which is unusual" - stated planetary geologist Alfred McEwen in a press release reported by "".

Interestingly, the dunes are slightly asymmetrical with steep slopes on their southern fringe.

"This suggests that the sand generally moves south, although wind direction may vary" - explained McEwen.

These peculiar dunes were captured in November of the previous year. Scientists were studying this area to monitor changes in seasonal frost coverage and discovered that they weren't frosted then.

This unique image of the dunes came to light after scientists studying the surface of the Red Planet found an interesting formation "smiling" at them. This particular landform created an odd shape, notably resembling a teddy bear's face.

This phenomenon is explained as facial pareidolia. This refers to the high tendency or illusion of perceiving facial structures in inanimate objects. As per NASA's interpretation, the teddy bear's eyes are actually craters on the planet, and a round crack pattern visible in the head could result from "deposition buildup over a buried impact crater".

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