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On July 25, 1976, the Viking 1 satellite orbiting the Mars took a photo of a humanoid Face on the planet's surface. The face, located in one of the so called Cydonian mesas, situated at 40°75' north latitude and 9°46' west longitude, was believed by some to be the final proof for an ancient Martian civilisation on the red planet.
Some more strange structures had been detected close to the face - such as apparent pyramids, and structures looking like a ruined city for example. Image analysis of the early Viking images even led some researchers to suggest that the features of the Face might not be an accidental consequence of viewing conditions.
However, today it is generally accepted to be an optical illusion, an example of pareidolia. After analysis of the higher resolution Mars Global Surveyor data NASA stated that "a detailed analysis of multiple images of this feature reveals a natural looking Martian hill whose illusory face-like appearance depends on the viewing angle and angle of illumination".
Cydonia and the Face on Mars appear frequently in popular culture, including feature films, television series, videogames and even music.
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