Star Trek logo Mars Found On Surface, Now here’s something you don’t see every day: The Star Trek Starfleet logo visible from Planet Mars.
A tweet from the U.S. space agency NASA’s MRO HiRise camera team based in the University of Arizona showcases a unique sand dune formation that pretty much looks like the Starfleet logo of the hugely popular sci-fi franchise.
“Enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo,” the team said in the tweet.
Now the Starfleet logo on the Red Planet is more than just some random sand formation. It actually gives people an insight into how Mars’ geologic history works. The “logo” was initially a crescent-shaped sand dune which eventually took shape because of lava and then finally getting its final form because of the planet’s wind.
“These are also called ‘dune casts’ and record the presence of dunes that were surrounded by lava,” Ross Beyer, planetary scientist, said in a report.
There’s also more than one “Starfleet” sand dune from the photo. Looking at a wider angle, one can see that there’s more of the intriguing formation found around the area.
The photo was taken via NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a high-tech device which has taken some unique photos of the Red Planet. This includes rock formations the shape of Pac-Man and even Beaker the Muppet.
Sand movements in Mars play a significant role in various studies about the Red Planet. Looking closely at sand formation gives scientists an idea on factors such as Martian winds, the planet’s thin atmosphere, temperature and also how topography affects the sand dunes on Planet Mars. These elements behave differently from those found on Earth, forming sand dunes and sand “sculptures” that are not found anywhere on our planet.
Studying the geological makeup of the planet is significant because it can help scientists plan future human missions to Mars. Results of the study show that even if Mars is plagued by planet-wide dust storms most of the time, sand on the Red Planet do not shift as much as scientists expect.
This theory gives us a more detailed idea of how the planet’s weak atmosphere (only 0.6 percent of the Earth’s atmospheric pressure) could affect the movement of the wind, making it weak as well. The sand movement rate is significantly different among various locations.
For example, crescent-shaped dunes move on an average of just half a meter per year which is 50 times slower than those found on Earth. Some regions such as the Syrtis Major Planum have been recorded to have stronger sand movement. This explains why different regions of Mars significantly differ from each other.