October 24, 2020
NASA Mars orbiter finds 'grinning' face of Ed Asner in an impact crater

NASA Mars orbiter finds ‘grinning’ face of Ed Asner in an impact crater


edasner1

This is just a small part of Ed Asner’s face on Mars… can you see it?


NASA/HiRISE

I’m a big fan of pareidolia, the human tendency to spot familiar objects in random shapes. Mars is a wonderland for pareidolia, giving us gifts from a pebble that resembles a robot leg to alien-looking faces spotted in rock formations. Let’s add a portrait of actor Ed Asner to that list.

The HiRise camera team for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is based at the University of Arizona. The HiRise Twitter account offers a delightful feed of red planet images, including a tweet this week showing a well-preserved impact crater.

You’ll need to enlarge the image to get the full effect. The unusual look is because it’s an anaglyph, a stereo observation that helps to highlight the topography in 3D relief. 

“Is it the pareidolia, or does anyone else see a grinning Ed Asner here?” the HiRise team wrote. 

First, I said, “What? I don’t see it.” Then I looked more closely. Then I laughed for five minutes straight, enough so that my stomach muscles hurt. That either says something about Ed Asner as a martian, or something about how desperately I’ve needed a good laugh lately. 

Asner is a seven-time Emmy award winner known for his work on the The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s. He has a lengthy filmography as both an actor and a voice actor.

Need some help? Here’s my annotated guide to spotting Ed Asner in an impact crater.

Let this be your guide to spotting Ed Asner’s face in an impact crater on Mars.


NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Text by Amanda Kooser/CNET





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