The photo was shot last month by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, but only last week became the talk of the day among scientists at the University of Arizona, where the camera on the reconnaissance satellite is controlled. The bear’s head extends over no less than 2,000 meters.
UA issued a statement attempting to explain the amazing discovery: “There’s a hill with a V-shaped collapse structure (the nose), two craters (the eyes), and a circular fracture pattern (the head). The circular fracture pattern might be due to the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater. Maybe the nose is a volcanic or mud vent and the deposit could be lava or mudflows? Maybe just grin and bear it.”
Yes, I know, stick to science, and leave punning to the professionals.
Now, since we are a Jewish publication, I can’t let you go away without noting that today, Tuesday, when we all discovered the bear on Mars, is also the day which, according to Jewish tradition, is the day of the idolatry of Mars, the god of war.
As Rabbi Eliyahu Munk (1900-1981) explains in his masterpiece, The World of Prayer, the blessings before we recite the Shema Israel include a list of God’s attributes as they are expressed through the seven planets (in Ptolemy’s system), which in turn become attributes based on the seven days of the week, including Master of battles –Tuesday, Mardi in French, the day of the god of war Mars, whose planet was no doubt picked for its red hue, as in blood.
Alfred McEwen, who wrote the brief analysis above (which didn’t really explain why those natural elements decided to form the head of a bear and not, say, a frog, or any of those aliens we find on Earth), also recommended: “Check out the stereo anaglyph!”
So here she goes: