For decades, photos of a huge, face-shaped rock formation on Mars has made people wonder if there really is intelligent life on the Red Planet. But now the European Space Agency has said that the face is not really a face at all.
The face, which was first photographed by NASA's Viking 1 spacecraft more than 30 years ago, does not appear in the new, higher-resolution photos sent back by the European Space Agency's Mars Express shuttle.
The clearer picture was taken by the high-resolution stereo camera on Mars Express after multiple attempts to photograph the raised area between April 2004 and July 2006 were hampered by red dust and haze.
“You can see a lot of features that you couldn't see before,” said Michael McKay, the former flight operations director of Mars Express.
The ‘face on Mars’ photos that fired the imagination of fans of space myths around the world were first taken 30 years ago when NASA's Viking 1 spacecraft spotted the Martian landform in the shape of a head measuring nearly 3.2km from end to end.
In 1998 and 2001, new, sharper pictures of the region were taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and showed that what had once appeared to be a face was only a rugged landscape rather than a possible alien monument. But that didn't stop public speculation.
Even though this Martian landform did not turn out to be a sign of life on Mars, it is still interesting for scientists studying the planets. (AP)
1. attempt n.
嘗試 (chang2 shi4)
例: My attempt to learn how to rollerblade was not a success.
2. hamper v.t.
阻礙 (zu3 ai4)
例: Jane's efforts to go running everyday were hampered by bad weather.
3. rugged adj.
崎嶇不平的 (qi2 qu1 bu4 ping2 de5)
例: Kevin lives in the mountains because he loves the rugged outdoor life.
4. speculation n.
猜測 (cai1 ce4)
例: We heard Caitlin might be getting married soon, but that's just speculation.