Optical illusion on Mars confused Internet users

A fresh photo of the surface of Mars, taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft from an altitude of 284 km, has thrown a hilarious challenge to the Internet community. A team of HiRISE operators from the University of Arizona shared on Monday a view of the Ceraunius Fossae area on the Red Planet. One detail in the photo confused those who look at the object in the center: is it a plateau or a depression?

What do you see: a plateau or a depression? Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona

If you think it’s a plateau, then you’re wrong. The HiRISE team reported that it is actually an “oblong collapse depression”. But if you see a plateau, this is a normal reaction of your brain. It’s all because of the play of shadows. With some effort and concentration, you can “convince” yourself and make the image look like depression, but it can “go back”.

If it is difficult for you to see a pit in this optical illusion and it still seems to you that it is still a plateau, just turn the image over, and then it will become easier for many of you to see the very depression in the image.

An inverted image of the depression will help you better see the depression instead of the plateau. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona

NASA does not report exactly how big this pit is. But, based on its other image in scale, it seems that its length is about 1200 meters. By the way, if you look closely above, you can notice an additional bonus – a smaller depression to the north of it, which is also another collapse pit.

The plateau on Mars in color. Photo: NASA

Depressions and pits on Mars are worthy of deeper study. Researchers suspect that Mars hides some volcanic caves, which may be directions for future research works to search for signs of ancient life. Or they can be used by future colonists as a protected place to build a colony on an unfriendly planet. 

According to Uahirise

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