Astronomy Geology Imaging Optics Planetary Sciences Technology
Age Group
14 15 16 17 18
Expected time
1 period
Face on Mars.PDF
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Face on Mars

What’s the mystery? Some years ago something funny happened around Mars. NASA’s Viking 1 spacecraft was orbiting the planet, snapping photos of possible landing sites for its sister ship Viking 2, when it spotted the shadowy likeness of a human face. An enormous head about 3km from end to end seemed to be staring back at the cameras from a region of the Red Planet called Cydonia.There must have been a degree of surprise among mission controllers back at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab when the face appeared on their monitors. What is this enigmatic face on the surface of Mars?
Domain(s) Physic
Subdomain keywords Optics, Technology, Imaging, Geology, Astronomy, Planetary Sciences.
Age group 14 to 18 years old.
Expected time for the mystery Approx. Time in classroom -­ 1 45 min lesson
Safety/supervision None
Disclaimer: The authors of this teaching material shall not be held responsible for any injury or damage to persons or properties that might occur in their use.
Preparation and list of materials Internet
Learning objectives »    Learn about Mars and its surface
»    Learn how images work
»    Learn about image resolution
»    Learn how technologies advances
»    Learn some media skills, live interviewing techniques
Resources Teachers can show the ESA video about the region: