Usually, the exploration of Mars is a serious job that requires the concentration of the team. But sometimes among the complex scientific work there is a place for creativity or just entertainment. The NASA Perseverance rover accidentally created an “artistic masterpiece” during the regolith collection. The result of collecting samples were two holes on the surface and traces of the treads of the rover’s wide wheels, which together formed a smile.
Some scientists jokingly interpreted the formed face on the surface of Mars in their own way. For example, Rover Engineer Daniel Zayas saw the face of an alien from Sesame Street.
As a Mission Lead for @NASAPersevere, I take my responsibilities during tactical operations seriously. One particularly important one is identifying funny faces we make in rocks (or, in this case, the sand) when we collect samples. Here’s a Yip Yip from Sol 639. pic.twitter.com/YD2cp4Hfly
— Daniel Zayas (@roverengineer) December 7, 2022
Gibbons also noticed the resemblance to the face, sharing another close-up of the rover’s “eyes” on Twitter.
Mars says “oh hai” pic.twitter.com/2gtRiJtM64
— Erin Gibbons ???? (@ErinSpaceCase) December 8, 2022
This smile was the result of an important operation on the surface of the Red Planet. Most of the Perseverance samples by this time were drilled out of solid rock – rocks and stones – so the regolith is special. The scientists wanted to take a closer look at the collected material in the laboratory. “If we’re going to have a permanent presence on Mars, we need to know how dust and regolith will interact with our spacecraft and habitat,” Perseverance team member Erin Gibbons said.
The face is also a perfect example of pareidolia, the human tendency to see familiar objects in random forms. This happens all the time on Mars. For example, a recent duck rock and a cat in the shape of a loaf. But, unfortunately, scientists have not yet found evidence that there is real life on this planet, or maybe there was once. We will be able to find out the truth when the samples collected by Perseverance will be delivered to Earth by the Mars Sample Return mission in the 2030s.
Earlier we reported about how Perseverance on Mars accidentally created an installation in the style of “Zen art”.
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