The "Face on Mars"

This is a really unusual mountain on Mars which looks like a face from atop, and was discovered by the Viking orbiters in late 1976. Perhaps it resembles somehow Australia's famous "Ayers Rock". The Mars Face rock gave rise to jokes, science fiction, and space romanticism. The current (1996-8) Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft has started to investigate this landform further.

  • Marsface homepage at Malin Space Systems
  • Marsface Factsheet (Nasa HQ PAO)

    Mars Face stuff collected at SEDS:

    marspyra.gif  Mars pyramids and face
    marsface.dat  Technical information on Mars Face Frames 
                  f035a72 & f070a13
    33a72pr.gif   The "Face on Mars"
    70a13pr.gif   The "Face on Mars"
    f035a72.fts   Original "Mars Face" Frame "f035a72" in FITS format
    f070a13.fts   Original "Mars Face" Frame "f070a13" in FITS format
    view_n.gif    Projected Mars Face View From North
    view_ne.gif   Projected Mars Face View from North East
    view_s.gif    Projected Mars Face View from South
    view_sw.gif   Projected Mars Face View from South West
    The FAQ (part 10) gives account to and some data on the "Face on Mars":

    There really is a big rock on Mars that looks remarkably like a humanoid face. It appears in two different frames of Viking Orbiter imagery: 35A72 (much more facelike in appearance, and the one more often published, with the Sun 10 degrees above western horizon) and 70A13 (with the Sun 27 degrees from the west). The feature, about 2.5 km across, is located near 9 degrees longitude, +41 degrees N latitude, near the border between region Arabia Terra and region Acidalia Planitia.

    Science writer Richard Hoagland has championed the idea that the Face is artificial, intended to resemble a human, and erected by an extraterrestrial civilization. Most other analysts concede that the resemblance is most likely accidental. Other Viking images show a smiley-faced crater and a lava flow resembling Kermit the Frog elsewhere on Mars. There exists a Mars Anomalies Research Society (see address for "Mars Research" below) to study the Face.

    More detailed discussions of the Face, including raw and processed imagery and discussion of plans for observation by the upcoming Mars Global Surveyor, are at

    Some references:

    Mars Global Surveyor has now taken a first hi-res image of the Face and revealed that it is probably an interesting mountain or mesa; no signs for an artefact are obvious (a fact which was not much surprising for most investigators and scientists). More on these results is in preparation.

    Hartmut Frommert [contact]

    [Mars] | [Spider] @ [SEDS]

    Last Modification: April 13, 1998