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Smiley Faces and Other Fun Photos from Earth, the Moon & Beyond

Updated on February 11, 2012
A heart-shaped mesa on Mars
A heart-shaped mesa on Mars | Source

I've recently published hubs about two seemingly unrelated topics: the supposed human face on Mars and the apparition of Jesus on a sock. These articles have something in common: the possibility of pareidolia. What's pareidolia? As defined by Dictionary.com, it's "the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist."

Mind Games

Our brains are wired to categorize information into pre-existing categories. This is why young children sometimes refer to every four-legged animal as a dog. It might also explain the face on Mars and the appearance of Jesus on laundry. In this hub I share additional "familiar" images from Earth, Mars & the Moon. Enjoy!

A human-shaped rock on Mars
A human-shaped rock on Mars | Source

The Person Chillin' on Mars

The image shown here was captured by Spirit, NASA's Mars rover, in 2007.

A NASA representative described the anthropomorphic object as a sedimentary rock that's been eroded by wind. It's supposedly only two inches high.

The structure has been compared to a waterfront statue of a mermaid in Copenhagen.


Smiley face craters on Mars
Smiley face craters on Mars | Source

Smile! You're on Mars

The first "happy face" shown here is the Galle crater on Mars. The illusion of a smile is created by a mountain range and the "eyes" are two small mountain clusters. This photo was taken in 1999 by the Mars Viking Orbiter I.

The second smiley face crater was photographed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2008. It's unnamed but equally cheerful. This crater may show evidence of water having carved the Martian surface.


New Hampshire's now-collapsed Old Man of the Mountain
New Hampshire's now-collapsed Old Man of the Mountain | Source

The Old Man of the Mountain

The Old Man of the Mountain, which is also known as the Great Stone Face or simply "The Profile," once gazed over Profile Lake in Franconia, New Hampshire. The 40' tall granite formation was reminiscent of an older man's profile.

Alas, the Old Man of the Mountain experienced serious forehead wrinkling by the 1920s. Despite valiant efforts at restoration in the 1950s, he collapsed from exhaustion in 2003. His image has been preserved on the New Hampshire quarter. That's the only state quarter featuring a profile on each side.

The Woman Tree

Gorgeous! The photographer and tree location are unknown to me. As far as I know, this image hasn't been Photoshopped.

The tree woman
The tree woman | Source

The Man in the Moon

I've got to admit, I never spotted the man in the moon until someone drew me an outline. These images from Stargazing.net show not only the man in the moon, but also the profile of a woman and that jumpy cow we've heard about.

The Man in the Moon, the Woman in the Moon, and the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon
The Man in the Moon, the Woman in the Moon, and the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon | Source

Conclusion

Our minds play clever tricks, creating patterns and coherence from meaningless data sets. Hopefully, some readers will consider how this relates not only to fun stuff, but also to the serious sides of life. How do our preconceptions shape what we see in ourselves and each other?

I hope you've enjoyed this brief exploration of pareidolia. For additional intriguing images, check out the links below.

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    • dipless profile image

      dipless 

      6 years ago from Manchester

      A pretty and interesting article, thanks for sharing :)

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