Here be dragons.
Year of the Dragon
NASA spotted a “dragon” in an image taken by the University of Arizona’s HiRISE camera, attached to NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The Orbiter has been sending back invaluable information about the Red Planet’s surface since it first reached Martian orbit back in 2006.
“We rotated this image of light-toned blocky material in southwestern Melas Chasma because from this perspective, it resembles a fabled Chinese dragon,” reads a Saturday tweet by HiRISE’s official Twitter account.
HiPOD 11 Apr 2020: Year of the Dragon
We rotated this image of light-toned blocky material in southwestern Melas Chasma because from this perspective, it resembles a fabled Chinese dragon.
— HiRISE: Beautiful Mars (NASA) (@HiRISE) April 11, 2020
The image was first taken on July 4, 2007 from an altitude of 258 km (160 miles).
It’s not the first unusual shape NASA has spotted on the Martian surface. In 2018, the orbiter’s camera spotted what looked like a Pac-Man in mid-gobble. Last year, it spotted a dune in the shape of the “Star Trek” Starfleet insignia.
The lighter, reddish channel is the floor of Mars’ Melas Chasma, a massive canyon that cuts through what is thought to be the remains of an old lake bed.
“Along the floor of Melas Chasma is an unusual blocky deposit composed of light-toned blocks in a darker matrix,” reads a University of Arizona blog post. “The high resolution of the HiRISE image reveals layers only a few meters thick in some of the light-toned blocks. The blocks vary in size but most fall between 100 to 500 meters in diameter.”
READ MORE: NASA imagines a dragon on Mars in a sinuous, scenic canyon [CNET]
More on weird Mars shapes: NASA Orbiter Spots “Star Trek” Starfleet Insignia on Mars