London: An Italian space enthusiast, while going through pictures of Mars, claims to have found a structure on the face of the planet that resembles Mahatma Gandhi.
Matteo Lanneo was scanning through the latest images sent by the Mars Express probe when he came across the uncanny resemblance to India's father of the nation, the Daily Mail reported.
The head appears to have a moustache and shaven head, and has prominent eyebrows.
Experts say it is not the first time that a face has been seen on Mars' soil. In July 1976, the American Viking 1 Orbiter took a photograph that appeared to show a hill in the shape of a human face.
Space enthusiasts speculated that the structure was built by aliens. However, an image taken with Nasa's HiRISE camera in 2010 showed the face was just a large, rocky hill.
The phenomenon of seeing faces is called ‘pareidolia' — where a stimulus is perceived as having significance, be it a symbol seen in a cloud or a face on a piece of toast. Scientists say the phenomenon occurs because humans tend to recognise familiar objects as a survival technique.
Meanwhile, Gandhi's spectacles have been missing from the Sevagram Ashram in Wardha since November, officials revealed yesterday.
Ashram president M.M. Gadkari said its employees were asked to keep silent about the missing glasses. "We had made a list of the belongings of Gandhiji that were placed in the hut where he used to stay," Gadkari said.
"Somehow, the glasses were not included in the list. Those who cleaned the hut took a few days to realise that the glasses were missing," he added.
The ashram authorities are yet to register a police complaint. "We have not received any theft or missing complaint," Wardha Deputy Superintendent of Police M.G. Nale said.
When questioned on why a complaint was not registered, Gadkari said that the board of trustees would meet and decide on further action.
"Gandhiji's other belongings are, however, intact," Gadkari said.
Gandhi came to Wardha, 75 kilometres from Nagpur, in 1936 and settled at the ashram, which receives around 300,000 visitors every year.