Is This a Map of Earth’s Continents on the Surface of Mars, Or What?

For the past two years or so, some of us here at autoevolution have been looking at photos of Mars and tried to bring before your eyes the most exciting and unexpected details of a place we might be calling, in the not-so-distant future, our home away from home.
Martian features look like a map of Earth's continents 6 photos
Huo Hsing Vallis region of MarsHuo Hsing Vallis region of MarsHuo Hsing Vallis region of MarsHuo Hsing Vallis region of MarsHuo Hsing Vallis region of Mars
Now, close to 300-related articles after we started, we’re pretty confident in saying Mars has little chance of surprising us, at least as far as the mental associations it elicits go. After all, from the features captured on camera we’ve approximated anything from cheetahs to spiders, from eyes to ancient arenas, from robots to alien beings, and anything in between.

Or, that’s what we thought until we came across this image here, captured by the omnipresent HiRISE camera from an altitude of 274 km (170 miles), back in 2014. For the serious people looking at it (read scientists from NASA and the University of Arizona), it shows a contact area between low hills and smooth plains, somewhere in an undisclosed area of the planet.

For us, the image shows one of the strangest things Mars ever threw at us: a replica of Earth’s continents, as seen on a flat map of our planet, spread out over the Martian surface.

Starting from the top left, we get the north-eastern part of Asia, stretching towards the very north of North America, with a replicated Bering Strait separating the two. Then we get the North American continent, with Greenland hovering further to its East, and South America dangling precariously beneath it.

Across the ocean, we catch a glimpse of a (granted) distorted Africa, and an even more mutilated Europe. The magic ends here, as HiRISE’s lens wasn’t wide enough to capture more of this replicated Earth map, all the way over on the Red Planet.

Editor's note: Gallery shows Huo Hsing Vallis region of Mars.


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