Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Forgive the bad pun in the headline.  I couldn’t resist.

I don’t know if anyone out there still actually believes in the notorious “Face on Mars” located in the Red Planet’s Cydonia region, but just in case, those of you with any lingering trepidation may put your fears to rest.  PhysOrg.com has just published an article outlining a new photograph of the area at a much higher resolution that confirms (again) the face is nothing more than your common, garden variety Martian mesa and reaffirms those who’ve been shouting the Face was simply a byproduct of optical illusion and pareidolia.  (Go figure that the originating citation from the PhysOrg.com article emanates from FOXNews.com, which has surprised me for the second time in a week with a well-reasoned article.  Murdoch must be losing his sensationalist touch, but take a quick skim through the comment boards, and you’ll see there are still a handful of clingers-on that chalk this newest photo up as further spin from NASA, released to embolden the space agency’s vast conspiracy aimed at keeping us in the dark about alien life on Mars.)

Imagine my surprise — disclosure: glee — that the Wikipedia article about pareidolia to which I linked actually uses the Face as its primary visual example.  Other examples of the phenomenon include, of course, Jesus Christs on burnt toast, figures we see in cloud formations, and this eggplant that looks like Richard Nixon.  Pareidolia also applies to perceived patterns related to senses other than sight.

An eggplant.  What will Tricky Dick think of next?

Other Resources:

“Extreme Close-Up of the Face on Mars” – Universe Today
This article gives the most in-depth analysis of the progression from the original Viking Orbiter photo to the current one.  You’ll see a brief timeline of photos taken, each one clearer than the next, and it should have been abundantly clear even after the 2001 photograph that there wasn’t anything even particularly odd about the mesa, at least insofar as it resembles a face because, of course, it doesn’t.  There are a few anomaly hunters in the comment boards on this article too.  This article is also cited in the PhysOrg.com release.

This article was originally posted at The: Foolish Human.