June 2, 2001 Tempe, Arizona - Unusual surface features on Mars imaged by the Global Surveyor continue to provoke controversy among scientists and civilians. One such image looks like a female face taken a year ago in May 2000 in the valley of Libya Montes near the Martian equator, but not publicized until the New York Post featured the image on May 9 after a press conference by astronomer Tom Van Flandern, Ph.D. and former astronaut Brian O'Leary. This week I discussed the face image with planetary geologist, David Nelson. Mr. Nelson is a Research Specialist in the Department of Geological Sciences at Arizona State University in Tempe. His current work is to study the Mars Global Surveyor images and to contribute ideas about where the next NASA Mars Excursion landing sites should be in January 2004. Two rovers are planned for that mission and one likely exploration site will be near sedimentary deposits in the walls of Valles Marineris, the 3000 mile long canyon that runs near the Martian equator.
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