A chart of UNESCO’s (2003) “Nine Factors Influencing Language Vitality” along a degree scale of 0 to 5, five being the highest degree for the respective factor and 0 being the lowest degree. The second factor, Absolute Number of Speakers, is not a scalar calculation, but is based, rather, on population count.

Source: Aikawa, Noriko; Matthias Brenzinger; Arienne M. Dwyer; Tjeerd de Graaf; Colette Grinevald; Dmitri Koundiouba; Michael Krauss; Anahit Minasyan; Osahito Miyaoka; Nicholas Ostler; Osamu Sakiyama; Rieks Smeets; María E. Villalón; Akira Y. Yamamoto; & Ofelia Zepeda. 2003. Language vitality and endangerment. Safeguarding of Endangered Languages (UNESCO International Expert Meeting), 10-12 Mar 2003. Paris: UNESCO.

Cydonia (region of Mars)

Cydonia (/sɨˈdoʊniə/, /saɪˈdoʊniə/) is a region on the planet Mars that has attracted both scientific and popular interest. The name originally referred to the albedo feature (distinctively coloured area) that was visible from Earthbound telescopes. The area borders plains of Acidalia Planitia and the Arabia Terra highlands. The area includes the regions: “Cydonia Mensae”, an area of flat-topped mesa-like features, “Cydonia Colles”, a region of small hills or knobs, and “Cydonia Labyrinthus”, a complex of intersecting valleys. As with other albedo features on Mars, the name Cydonia was drawn from classical antiquity, in this case from Kydonia, a historic polis (or “city-state”) on the island of Crete. Cydonia contains the “Face on Mars” feature—located about half-way between Arandas Crater and Bamberg Crater.

More than 20 years after the Viking 1 images were taken, a succession of spacecraft visited Mars and made new observations of the Cydonia region. These spacecraft have included NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor (1997–2006) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2006-), and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express probe (2003-). In contrast to the relatively low resolution of the Viking images of Cydonia, these new platforms afford much improved resolution. For instance, the Mars Express images are at a resolution of 14 m/pixel (46 ft/pixel) or better. By combining data from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the Mars Express probe and the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on board NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor it has been possible to create a three-dimensional representation of the “Face on Mars”.

Since it was originally first imaged, the “face” has been near-universally accepted as an optical illusion, an example of the psychological phenomenon of pareidolia. After analysis of the higher resolution Mars Global Surveyor data NASA stated that “a detailed analysis of multiple images of this feature reveals a natural looking Martian hill whose illusory face-like appearance depends on the viewing angle and angle of illumination”. Similar optical illusions can be found in the geology of Earth; examples include the Old Man of the Mountain, the Pedra da Gávea, the Old Man of Hoy, Stac Levenish and the Badlands Guardian.

Credit: NASA, Wikipedia,

Tal R (Danish, b. 1967), Last Drawing Before Mars, 2003-04. Printed paper collage, paper collage, acrylic, aluminium foil, wax crayon, fabric and glitter on paper mounted on board, 280 x 280 x 7.5cm. overall: 84 x 282 x 9cm