Re: Face on Mars

Hal Finney (
Thu, 2 Apr 1998 11:26:30 -0800

Anton Sherwood, <>, writes:
> I've looked at the pictures for which Hal(?) provided a pointer.
> Thanks. I was in error about the dot. But I couldn't find the face in
> most of the pictures, and in the two where it's visible, the light is
> from the same angle (illuminating the right cheek).

Four of the five images have the face illuminated from the left side,
lighting the right cheek. Only the last one has the face lit from the
right, but it is low resolution and you can't make out any detail.

I can help you find the face in the last three pictures. Note in
the first two that the face is the leftmost in a series of three or
four small outcroppings of rock, each about the same size as the face.
To the right of these outcroppings are two larger plateaus, the left one
four-sided and very flat, and the right one five- or six-sided with a
mountain on top. These can help you find the face in the other pictures.

The third image is rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise compared
to the others. To help you find the plateaus, first find a pair of
small craters, equal sized and touching, a bit to the right of center.
45 degrees down to the left of this is a larger crater which has a
distinctive straight "wall" just below and to its right. (This wall is
also claimed to be an artifact, a backdrop for the Face, by enthusiasts.)
The two plateaus are to the right of the wall, the series of outcroppings
lead down from there, with the Face the last in the series.

The fourth and fifth images are oriented the same as the first two.
In the fourth image, find the two touching craters a bit down and
left from center. The lone crater with the wall is to the left and a
bit upwards from them. The two plateaus are below the wall, then the
outcroppings leading to the Face are to the left.

The fifth image is the most frustrating because it is illuminated from the
right (producing an optical illusion of inverted relief in some areas).
This might be expected to reveal the degree of symmetry in the image, but
the resolution is too poor.

The two linked craters are halfway down the right edge of the picture.
The lone crater is up to the left from them, but the wall is invisible
in this image. An imaging artifact in the form of a vertical dashed line
is just to the left of the crater, and if you follow it down it divides
the two plateaus, which are dimly visible. The outcroppings to the
left of the plateaus are almost invisible, and the face is (presumably)
the last one, but all you can see is a small blob, light on the right
and dark on the left, with no features visible.