Galle (Martian crater)

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Not to be confused with Gale (crater).
Galle
Happy-face1.jpg
Photographed by the Mars Global Surveyor, 1999-03-10
Planet Mars
Coordinates 51°12′S 30°54′W / 51.2°S 30.9°W / -51.2; -30.9Coordinates: 51°12′S 30°54′W / 51.2°S 30.9°W / -51.2; -30.9
Diameter 230.0 km
Eponym Johann Gottfried Galle

Galle is a crater on Mars. It is located on the eastern rim of the huge impact basin Argyre Planitia. It is named after the astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle.

Galle is often known as the "happy face crater" because the illusion of a smiley is created by a curved mountain range in the southern part of the crater and two smaller mountain clusters further north. The formation was first photographed by Viking Orbiter 1.

As the smiley is a key motif in the comic book Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the crater was used as a story location after the coincidence was noted by Gibbons. According to Gibbons, the similarity "was almost too good to be true. I worried that if we put it in, people would never believe it."[1] The actual crater was visualized in the 2009 film adaptation of Watchmen.

A second "happy face crater", smaller than Galle and located at 45.1°S, 55.0°W in Nereidum Montes, was discovered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on January 28, 2008.[2]

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