Image of the "Face on Mars" taken by the ESA on July 22nd 2006. Looks reasonably face-like to me.
"Orthorectified" 1998 image of the Face. NASA would prefer you remember this one.
Here's Space.com's inevitable piece on the diminutive "Martian":
Female Figure on Mars Just a Rock
The idea that there may be life on Mars has been around for centuries, but the theory got a dubious boost from recently released photos of the surface of Mars (taken by the NASA robot Spirit) apparently showing a human-like figure. Several Internet sites have glommed onto the image and suggested the figure could be alive.
But what is it? Just a rock, astronomers say.
So far, no complaints.
Here's where things go downhill:
This is of course not the first time that NASA images have been claimed to show evidence of Martian life. A man named Richard Hoagland claimed that 1976 photographs of the Cydonia region of Mars showed a human-like face and was clear evidence of aliens.
I sympathize with Space.com and Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait insofar as I think Hoagland is either
a.) quite nuts
b.) in it for the money.
(For his sake, I hope it's the latter.)
But associating the "Martian" with the enigmas in the Cydonia region is a near-unconscionable failure of logic. True, the issue has been needlessly polarized by Hoagland's antics. But the ultimate nature of Face on Mars (far from the solitary oddity implied by debunkers) doesn't rest on Hoagland's misrepresentations. (Or, for that matter, NASA's own misrepresentations, described here and here.)