Galle (Martian crater) – Wikipedia

Crater on Mars, also known as the “happy face crater”

Crater on Mars

Galle is a crater on Mars. It is located on the eastern rim of the huge impact basin Argyre Planitia in Argyre quadrangle. It is named after the German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle.[1] Galle is often known as the “happy face crater” because pareidolia causes a curved mountain range in the southern part of the crater and two smaller mountain clusters further north to appear to be a smiley face. The formation was first photographed by Viking Orbiter 1.

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]

Appearance in Watchmen[edit]

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.”[3] The crater also appears in the same scene during the film adaptation.


See also[edit]


  1. ^

    “Galle”. Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Research Program.

  2. ^ Have a happy day on Mars, The Planetary Society Blog, Feb. 1, 2008
  3. ^ Web Behrens (February 27, 2009). ‘Watchmen’: Your guide to watching the big screen adaptation of the comic book”. Chicago Tribune.

External links[edit]