The Viking I Orbiter  

Later, at a scheduled press conference to discuss the mass of photographic data streaming in from Viking I, a NASA spokesman again called attention to the human head image. The spokesman noted that it was not worth further study. In fact, most scientists considered the "Face" with the same humor as one who sees clouds in the sky that take the shape of sheep, cows, whales, and other common items.

In the wake of the press conference, however, numerous people began to think of the "Face" as very real. For some, the rocks were conclusively viewed as the distant calling card for long lost civilizations of great and untold technology. Others considered the "Face" to be an ancestor of man or, in the most bizarre conclusions, the works of ancient Egyptians.

Within days, a cottage industry of photo processing professionals and amateurs emerged, evaluating and reevaluating the NASA images. At the center of the debate were the unique image processing techniques that NASA used to enhance the images for analysis.