Fact Check: Image Is NOT 'True Face Found On Mars,' NOT A Former CIA File

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Image Is NOT 'True Face Found On Mars,' NOT A Former CIA File It's Artwork

Does this image show the supposed "true face found on Mars" and is the image a "former CIA file"? No, that's not true: The image discussed in this fact check is a creation by an artist, and the famed "Face On Mars" image is actually a rock formation and its shadows.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post on June 27, 2022. The caption reads:

The true face that was found on Mars. Former CIA file.

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This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

face on mars FB post.png

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Jun 30 14:38:36 2022 UTC)

The image is not a former "CIA file." Lead Stories reached out to Alexandre Jubran, an artist who published the image in 2013. Jubran confirmed in an email sent to Lead Stories on June 30, 2022, that the image is an original creation by him and is in his portfolio on the website deviantart.com:

... yes, this image is my creation. I made it a few years ago, and left it in my portfolio on deviant ...

The "Face on Mars" theory became popular after a NASA image of a face-like formation on Mars was taken and published in 1976. At the time, NASA explained:

The huge rock formation in the center, which resembles a human head, is formed by shadows giving the illusion of eyes, nose and mouth. The feature is 1.5 kilometers (one mile) across, with the sun angle at approximately 20 degrees. The speckled appearance of the image is due to bit errors, emphasized by enlargement of the photo. The picture was taken on July 25 from a range of 1873 kilometers (1162 miles).

This was further proven true when later images showed what the formation actually looked like. Here's an image of the formation taken and published in 2001:

2001 face on mars.png
(Source: NASA screenshot taken on Thu Jun 30 15:28:01 2022 UTC)

NASA published an in-depth explainer of the "Face on Mars" theory in 2001.

Lead Stories has debunked several conspiracy theories related to NASA, which can be found here.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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