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Pareidolia Example: Giant Face on Mars

This page relates directly to what is pareidolia and why is it important in the study of the Shroud? It helps to read that page first. Then return to this page.

Face on mars, an example of pareidoliaThis is one of the most famous examples of pareidolia: the giant face on Mars from a NASA photograph.

Michael Malin, president and chief scientist at Malin Space Science Systems, in 2001 wrote an article, "Unmasking the Face on Mars," which was published on NASA’s official website. He wrote:

Twenty five years ago something funny happened around Mars. NASA's Viking 1 spacecraft was circling the planet, snapping photos of possible landing sites for its sister ship Viking 2, when it spotted the shadowy likeness of a human face. An enormous head nearly two miles from end to end seemed to be staring back at the cameras from a region of the Red Planet called Cydonia.

There must have been a degree of surprise among mission controllers back at the Jet Propulsion Lab when the face appeared on their monitors. But the sensation was short lived. Scientists figured it was just another Martian mesa, common enough around Cydonia, only this one had unusual shadows that made it look like an Egyptian Pharaoh.

Many people (and many people still are) were convinced that this was a gigantic monument of some sort created by humans or human-like aliens who once lived on Mars. NASA re-photographed the mesa from different angles. They used the same ray tracing technology that is used to show the height-field produced (3D) image of the face on the shroud in order to show that the Martian face was not a face at all. Had it been, the results would have been similar to the results obtained from the face on the shroud. The face was a pareidoliac image. But some people, remain convinced that it was a face.

Examples of Pareidolia:


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