In a  Global Mars Surveyor mission by NASA, imagery was captured of what appears to be a large square-shaped foundation structure, covered under large amounts of dust on the surface of Mars. While NASA has not  addressed questions regarding the origin of this structure as of yet, it would appear that the highly-organized structure of this shape may rule out natural process.

While NASA has accounted for lens-distortions and artifacts in the  images made available from the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC), this image seems to pose a curiosity that can not be accounted for by those distortions. As described on the PDS Mars Global Surveyor website:

  • One of the inherent artifacts seen in the raw MOC images results from varying response in the sensitivity and bias of each detector in the push-broom array. The visual effect is seen as dark and light vertical (top to bottom) “streaks”. An additional artifact is the aspect ratio distortion of the raw imaging caused by the observational characteristics of the imaging system. The aspect ratio effect causes surface features to appear geometrically distorted such as elliptical or oblong craters that would actually be round in an undistorted view.
  • The browse (jpeg) images created for the MOC Wide-Angle imaging contain all the artifacts of the raw imaging and only a contrast stretch was applied to the images
  • Browse (jpeg) versions of the MOC Narrow-Angle underwent processing, as described below, to cosmetically reduce the radiometric “streaking” and provide an approximate aspect-ratio correction.
  • A first order correction has been applied to the images to minimize the “streaks”.
  • The downtrack and crosstrack pixel resolutions of a MOC image may be different, resulting in pixels that are rectangular on the surface rather than square.
  • For most of the pre-mapping phase of the MGS mission, data quality did not allow error-free transmission of the instrument data to Earth.
  • A high-pass boxcar filter was applied to adjust the scene brightness in order to reduce these variations.


It would seem, even with the above described potentials for artifacts, distortions, and data corruption, the only thing that may be suffering from distortion is mankind’s perception of life within our universe, particularly that on Mars.

Click here to view the original image on the Mars Global Surveyor Website, and in the event the image becomes unavailable, click here.