The Face on Mars is a 2 km long knob that resembles a human face staring straight up from the surface. The Face was found in the northern hemisphere of Mars at the boundary between the basin of Acidalia Planitia and the higher ground of Cydonia Mensae. The object’s resemblance to a face was noticed by NASA personnel at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), who briefly displayed it at a press conference. NASA officially dismissed the Face as a trick of light and shadow. The Face was rediscovered by Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar, computer scientists working at the Goddard Space Flight Center who unexpectedly found it while working with the Viking imagery. They later found another image of the Face that had been taken under different lighting conditions.
Computer enhancement of the 1976 Viking mission images revealed bilateral symmetry, detail resembling eyes, a nose, and a mouth, and persistence of this detail under two different sun angles. Their work was largely ignored by the planetary sciences community, and was published independently as a monograph. Subsequent work by Dr. Mark Carlotto using single-image shape from shading techniques demonstrate that the Face is not a trick of light and shadow or the result of variations in surface albedo. It is a three dimensional landform that, for whatever reason, has the form of a human face. Enhanced image processing by Carlotto more clearly reveals the presence of an eye socket in the shadowed side, as well as detail in the mouth that is suggestive of teeth.
DiPietro and Molenaar's image processing also aided in the observation of other landforms that are inconsistent with the local geology. Richard Hoagland, seeing the work of DiPietro and Molenaar, began investigating the imagery and discovered the presence of a cluster of polyhedral objects, later named the "City", that have a rectilinear arrangement and a major axis aimed directly at the Face. The Face's axis of symmetry is itself perpendicular to the City's major axis. Hoagland later demonstrated that a square arrangement of objects in the center of the City, termed the "City Square", marks the exact midpoint along the City's major axis, and would have served as an excellent vantage point for a sightline to the Face.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The D&M Pyramid of Mars (1996), by Erol Torun
- ↑ V. DiPietro and G. Molenaar, 'Unusual Martian Surface Features' Mars Research, Glen Dale, Maryland (1982).
- ↑ M.J. Carlotto, 'Digital imagery analysis of unusual Martian surface features', Applied Optics, 27, 1926-1933 (1988).
- ↑ R.C. Hoagland, 'The Monuments of Mars - A City on the Edge of Forever', North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1987, 1992.