- Education and Science
Smiley Faces and Other Fun Photos from Earth, the Moon & Beyond
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."
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Links You Might Like
- Two Faces or a Vase? Old or Young Lady? 10 Simple bu...
One of my favorite things that was shown to me during my elementary age years was an optical illusion. It was the very famous Rubin Vase (pictured below) which you can see in either two ways - as a vase or as two faces that are facing each other....
- Human Face Chiseled on Mars: Fact or Fantasy?
Fascinating! Read this article for an open-minded yet skeptical look at the Face on Mars.
- Jesus Seen in a Sock
This article includes photos of recent "Jesus sightings" - Jesus in a sock, Jesus in a cinnamon bun, and Jesus in a frying pan.