It looks like Starfleet is literally embedded on the planet next door: A dune in the shape of the famous logo from "Star Trek" appears prominently in a new picture from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The MRO captured a series of unusual chevron symbols on a Martian sand dune in the southeast Hellas Planitia region.
Since 2006, NASA's Mars Reconnoissance Orbiter (MRO) has been exploring Mars from orbit, capturing some of the most detailed - and interesting - images of the surface of the Red Planet with its HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera.
"A more scientifically accurate, if less entertaining, explanation of the Star Trek logo came in a statement from the University of Arizona, where NASA's HiRISE team is based: "'Long ago, there were large crescent-shaped (barchan) dunes that moved across this area, and at some point, there was an eruption".
The "Starfleet" emblem adorns the uniforms of Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise in the sci-fi show - and now we know it is a feature of the Red Planet, too. Explaining what could have happened, they said it was a result of several natural forces, beginning with crescent-shaped sand dunes being formed by wind and surface interaction.
"Enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo: and you'd be right, but it's only a coincidence".
The dune on Mars is not the only Star Trek reference seen in space recently.
The dune resembling the logo was spotted in Hellas Planitia, which is a massive plain in the Hellas impact basin, located towards the southern end of Mars.
"However, they were still just dunes, and the wind continued to blow", a blog post describing the photo reads.
Then as the lava cooled, the dunes pointed up like islands.
Their footprints, dubbed "dune casts", were left behind in the lava field.
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