Published: Sat, June 15, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Nerdgasm: Star Trek’s Starfleet logo spotted on Mars

Nerdgasm: Star Trek’s Starfleet logo spotted on Mars

Has Starfleet boldly gone where no man has gone before?

The image was taken by the MRO's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.

Don't freak out, it's not about aliens or similar things, but the Star Trek Starfleet logo has just been spotted on the Red Planet, and that's a fact. Scientists, who have been working on the subject with the help of the so-called HiRISE instrument, have come to believe that the formation of the structure began with crescent-shaped sand dunes, where wind interacted with the surface. It has revealed many things about Mars and offered insights into how the planet's weather has affected its geography over millions and sometimes billions of years.

Now, leaving the jokes aside, in the expanse of the Hellas Planitia, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has photographed a huge formation in the shape of the organization's famous chevron logo. Volcanic eruptions flooded the area with lava, but the lava was not quite thick enough to entirely cover the dune. "The lava solidified, but these dunes still stuck up like islands", the team explained. The latter formations have recently been explored, with the Hellas Planitia found to house almost 300 of them, while another 480 have been mapped in a region called the Noctis Labyrinthus - an area well-known for its elaborate maze of valleys. The sand dune was eventually blown away and left behind a "dune cast". It's captured some of the most detailed images of the Mars surface that we've ever seen. The Starfleet dune cast has caught many people's attention.

The dune feature is located in Hellas Planitia, a large plain within the Hellas impact basin in the southern hemisphere of Mars.

And this is not the first time the Mars orbit spotted such Star Trek logo shapes.

"Enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo", the MRO HiRise team posted on Twitter.

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