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Mars Cydonia region has a face on the surface.


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Mars Cydonia Mensae (Cydonia Mars) Face on Mars is an albedo feature (region) on Mars. Cydonia Mars lies in the planet's northern hemisphere in a transitional zone between the heavily- cratered regions to the South, and relatively smooth plains to the North. Cydonia Mars itself is covered in numerous mesas and may have been a coastal zone if planetologists are correct in believing that the northern plains were once ocean beds.

Face on Mars.
The original batch-processed photo (#35A72) of the 'Face on Mars' taken by the Viking 1 orbiter and released by NASA/JPL on July 25, 1976. The black dots denote data errors. (Cydonia Region - North is to the upper right.)
Mars Global Surveyor.
The second 1976 Viking image (left, image #70A13) compared with the 2001 Mars Global Surveyor image (right). 20 meters per pixel resolution.
Face on Mars.
Mars Global Surveyor high-resolution photo of the "Face on Mars" (North is to the upper left)

One of the Cydonian mesas, situated at 40º45' north latitude and 9º26' west longitude, took on the striking appearance of a human Face on Mars in a photo taken by Viking 1 on July 25, 1976. It is generally understood to be an optical illusion, an example of pareidolia. A few, most notably Richard C. Hoagland, believe it to be evidence of a long-lost Martian civilization along with other features they believe are present, such as apparent pyramids, which they argue are part of a ruined city. NASA has stated however that "a detailed analysis of multiple images of this feature reveals a natural-looking Martian hill whose illusory face-like appearance depends on viewing angle and angle of illumination." On September 21, 2006, the European Space Agency published new photographs of the Cydonia region taken by the Mars Express probe. The new images are at a resolution of less than 14 m/pixel (46 ft/pixel).

On October 23, 2006, the European Space Agency published a 3D animation of the "Face on Mars" using a combination of digital data from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the Mars Express probe and the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on board NASA's Mars Global Surveyor.

On April 11, 2007, the HiRise team on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter released a new picture of the "Face on Mars" Popular Landform in Cydonia Region.

Originally, eighteen images of the Cydonia Mensae region were taken by the Viking 1 and 2 orbiters, but only seven have resolutions better than 250 m/pixel (820 ft/pixel). The other eleven images have resolutions worse than 550 m/pixel (1800 ft/pixel) and are virtually useless for studying the feature. Of the seven good images, the lighting and time at which two pairs of images were taken are so close as to reduce the number to five usable, distinct images. The Mission to Mars: Viking Orbiter Images of Mars CD-ROM image numbers are: 35A72 (VO-1010), 70A13 (VO-1011), 561A25 (VO-1021), 673B56 & 673B54 (VO-1063), and 753A33 & 753A34 (VO-1028).

Cydonia Mars in popular culture.

In Mission to Mars, a group of astronauts discover that the "face formation" is actually a structure built by the Martians. Inside is a holographic projector that shows the history of Mars and its destruction.

The rock band Muse are known to have been a bit fascinated with Mars and Cydonia, having written a song with an amusing film clip, called Knights of Cydonia.

The face on Mars was also featured in an episode of The X-Files.

In the TV show Invader Zim, the episode "Battle of the Planets" featured the face as an alien structure.

An episode of the TV show Futurama features the Face of Mars as the entrance to the Martian Reservation, the home of the native Martians.

In the classic adventure game Zak McKracken, players explore the face on Mars.

In the classic strategy game UFO: Enemy Unknown, the final assualt on the headquarters of the alien invasion is stated to occur in the Cydonia region. The map used for the first part of the mission contains numerous pyramids, presumably a homage to the Viking photos and surrounding conspiracy theories.




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