This NASA snapshot makes Mars look like Jupiter

Mars or Jupiter? Spoiler: It’s Mars.


NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

No one is accusing Mars and Jupiter of looking like long-lost planetary twins, but a NASA view of the Red Planet might have you seeing double.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRise camera team at the University of Arizona highlighted a look at Mars’ north pole on Friday, titling it “Still Life with an Impact Crater.”

The spacecraft captured the close-up view last year. It shows layered deposits with a distinctive round crater breaking up the stripey landscape. Check out this Hubble image of Jupiter to see why I’m having visions of the gas giant when I look at the Mars image.


Space Telescope Science Institut

While scientists are pondering deep questions about the Mars deposits (are they gaining or losing mass?), the rest of us can just enjoy the stunning image and how much it resembles the banded structure of Jupiter’s atmosphere. The crater even looks like a swirling round storm, another common sight on Jupiter.

Rocky Mars is a fraction of the size of the massive gas giant, but both planets have a knack for triggering pareidolia, the human tendency to see familiar objects in random shapes. 

Jupiter has hosted atmospheric formations that look a lot like a dolphin and a famous South Park character. Mars, on the other hand, has delivered rocks resembling a fish and alien faces.

As it turns out, Mars does a pretty nice job of cosplaying as Jupiter. 

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