Gandhi’s Face Found on Google Mars

An Italian space buff has claimed to have spotted the face of Mahatma Gandhi etched into the the rocks of Mars while scanning through latest pictures of the Red Planet.

Matteo Lanneo was surveying the amazing pictures sent from Europe’s Mars Orbiter back to Earth when he came across this uncanny resemblance to the father of the Indian nation, Daily Mail reported.

A Martian surface feature that one man says looks like the profile of Mahatma Gandhi.

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The head appears to have a moustache and shaven head and prominent eyebrows, just like Mahatma Gandhi, it quoted Lanneo as saying.

Natalie Wolchover at LiveScience.com reports —

To help sort out just what Ianneo is looking at, Jonathan Hill, a researcher at the Arizona State University Mars Space Flight Facility, which owns and operates a database of Mars images somewhat similar to Google’s, tracked down the photo Google used of the Gandhi face, as seen below. It is a low-resolution image taken by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Orbiter.

A higher-resolution image of the same geologic feature taken by a better camera, the CTX camera aboard the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter, erases the illusion. “As you can see, we’re actually looking at some sort of collapse pit, not a mound like it appears in the Google Mars image,” Hill told Life’s Little Mysteries.

Seeing things

“Pareidolia” is the scientific term for seeing faces (or other significant objects) where they aren’t. Face pareidolia happens, scientists say, as a byproduct of our heightened sensitivity to the details of human faces. Takeo Watanabe of the Boston University Visual Sciences Laboratory put it this way: “We’ve over-learned human faces so we see them where they aren’t.”

Last week, a self-described “armchair astronaut” discovered another anomaly while perusing the Google Mars map. In a viral Youtube video, David Martines claimed to have identified a human (or alien) base on the planet, which he dubbed Bio Station Alpha. The somewhat mysterious linear streak that he thought was a building on the Martian surface was later revealed to be a cosmic ray artifact — a distortion arising in the camera that snapped the photo of the surface when an energetic particle zipped through it.

People have been finding suggestive objects on the surface of Mars for centuries. By making our neighboring planet visible to everyone, Google Mars will likely increase the frequency of such finds.

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