There's a Crater on Mars That Looks Like a Bear

Facial pareidolia is the human tendency or illusion of seeing facial structures in an everyday objects – such as seeing the “man in the Moon,” or the face of Jesus on a piece of toast. But here’s a newly found crater on Mars that might be a case of ‘bear-adoilia.’

There’s no denying, the crater looks like a bear’s face. We’ve seen some crazy craters on Mars over the years from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera (HiRISE)  – like the famous smiley face, or an elephant and a bird. But what could possibly create the weird feature in the middle of the crater that is shaped like a bear’s snout?

A view of the area on Mars with the bear-like crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona.

“There’s a hill with a V-shaped collapse structure (the nose), two craters (the eyes), and a circular fracture pattern (the head),” said HiRISE principal investigator Alfred McEwen. “The circular fracture pattern might be due to the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater. Maybe the nose is a volcanic or mud vent and the deposit could be lava or mud flows? Maybe just grin and bear it.”

Guess we’ll just need to go to Mars ourselves one day and explore this crater to find out exactly what makes this crater look like a bear. I’m sure we’ll use the maps created from HiRISE data to get our bearings. Without such a map it would be impawsible, and we’d bearly get a start on such an adventure, and the rest of the trip would be unbearable.

Those Martians obviously have a sense of humor. This 2-mile-wide (3 km) unnamed crater was photographed in 2008 by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona
Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

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