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Why the long face?
September 21, 2006 4:51 AM   Subscribe

Mars Express finally photographs the "face on Mars". Will these new pictures finally end the artifact theory?
posted by oh pollo! (30 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
More pics here
posted by oh pollo! at 4:52 AM on September 21, 2006


But what about the butt on Mercury?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:03 AM on September 21, 2006


Will these new pictures finally end the artifact theory?

My guess is no. Facts are such stupid things, anyway.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:10 AM on September 21, 2006


> Will these new pictures finally end the artifact theory?

No. They intercepted relevant transmissions, realized they had been discovered, camouflaged the face by sweeping dust over it, and destroyed Beagle 2.

I might add that, according to our best data, "they" are a race of beautiful women with bare midriffs and saucy hairstyles.

But I must get back to my Theremin practice.
posted by pracowity at 5:11 AM on September 21, 2006 [4 favorites]


This is an interesting example of the problems inherent in using our feeble brains to try to understand the universe. We have lots and lots of highly specialized circuitry in our heads that's explicitly designed to see and interpret faces. It misfires frequently.

Consider the yellow 'smiley face'; there's probably not a human being on the planet who doesn't recognize it for exactly what it is. Pre- or post-lingual, Bushman or George Bush, humans see that as a face. And it's just a few lines in a yellow circle.

Another set of examples: the various Jesus Christ tortillas on eBay. Profiting from neural misfire... fun for the whole family!

In a more general way, the human brain is very good at seeing patterns, even where none exist. This results in all kinds of strangeness.... from images in snow on the TV to conspiracy theories. But if you happen to spot a REAL pattern that nobody else has seen, it can pay off big.

That's a lot of what science is about...sifting through the patterns we perceive to find out which are actually true and which are pure fiction.
posted by Malor at 5:20 AM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Better imaging didn't convince Mr Hoagland and the Enterprise Mission in 2001 ...

"In terms of the image itself, many of these debunking articles have made a great deal of the fact that the facial features are not symmetrical. For the record, we would like to point out that the Enterprise Mission and its investigators have never claimed that they would be. In fact, we predicted that the two halves of the Face would have some degree of asymmetry. We have maintained for over nine years, since Enterprise Mission principal investigator Richard C. Hoagland's appearance at the United Nations, in February, 1992, that the Eastern half of the Face, the portion that until now had only been seen in shadow, was feline in appearance. The Western half, we have always maintained, was humanoid. We do not believe that this object was ever intended to be a fully human visage."

... so I'm guessing these new shots won't help either.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:20 AM on September 21, 2006


But what about the butt on Mercury?

Yeah. He must work out.
posted by grubi at 5:26 AM on September 21, 2006


This cannot go unlinked.
posted by edd at 5:45 AM on September 21, 2006


No, it just means the aliens are impressionists
posted by StarForce5 at 5:51 AM on September 21, 2006


In other news, long-recent tapes reveal Buzz Aldrin whispering to Michael Collins, "Don't tell Mission Control, but it really is Roquefort."
posted by pax digita at 5:52 AM on September 21, 2006


Another set of examples: the various Jesus Christ tortillas on eBay.

Only one of them was legit. The others were all trying to ride the coattails and turn a profit on an ignorant public.
posted by dobbs at 6:00 AM on September 21, 2006


In other news, long-recent tapes reveal Buzz Aldrin whispering to Michael Collins, "Don't tell Mission Control, but it really is Roquefort."

Yes, but he was just talking about the cheese plate on the Craft Services table in the TV studio where they shot the "landing"
posted by briank at 6:02 AM on September 21, 2006


It wasnt just the Face they found...


posted by lemonfridge at 6:06 AM on September 21, 2006



Yeah, right and we went to the moon too. Sell it to someone else.
posted by fluffycreature at 6:07 AM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Wait, so who have I been talking to over my ham radio for the past twelve years?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:10 AM on September 21, 2006


Wait, I thought Mars NEEDED women. Now you're saying the Red Planet has a ready supply, complete with saucy hairstyles?
posted by Richqb at 6:18 AM on September 21, 2006


I thought Mars needs guitars.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:47 AM on September 21, 2006


Here's a nice hike up the Face. Take oxygen.
posted by markdj at 6:54 AM on September 21, 2006


Mars sells guitars. They certainly don't need them.
posted by fidelity at 7:39 AM on September 21, 2006


Goddammit
posted by fidelity at 7:40 AM on September 21, 2006


Another set of examples: the various Jesus Christ tortillas on eBay.

Not to mention the Virgin Mary making an appearance in trees everywhere. I, for one, am tired of this routine and would like to see a little more creativity on her part. Enough with the trees already.
posted by itchylick at 7:46 AM on September 21, 2006


If we had a mission that brought a Mars rock back to Earth and just gave it to the enterprise mission people I am willing to bet any arbitrarily huge ammount of money you'd care to name that they would either declare that it was not just a rock or that it was just a boring old Earth rock and they would not be humiliated by our little tricks.

Maybe we could just get Buzz Aldrin to dole out some harshness on these clowns.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:19 AM on September 21, 2006


It's clear to me now that the Thundercats populated Mars.
posted by black bile at 8:34 AM on September 21, 2006


The illusion of faces is a common one, called pareidolia. Some are pretty irresistable, though.

I once found myself in an unusual mental state with a friend who got this really intensely. He asked me what I thought of about the face of man in the moon. I expected him to tell me he could see it really vividly. No. "There are actually seven, and they're all Marilyn Monroe."
posted by imperium at 8:34 AM on September 21, 2006


It wasnt just the Face they found...
I love it when a planitia comes together?
posted by gubo at 8:40 AM on September 21, 2006


gubo, that's a hellas bad joke.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:26 AM on September 21, 2006


There's still a Happy Face up there.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:21 AM on September 21, 2006


That's from Dr. Manhattan.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:15 PM on September 21, 2006


I feel strangely compelled to post here and draw attention to my username, but alas, at this time of the day, I can't think of a wittier line than this.
posted by the cydonian at 8:57 PM on September 21, 2006


Me neither, cydonian, except to tell robocop it was an imposter he was talking to.
posted by faceonmars at 10:49 PM on September 21, 2006


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