Live long and prosper!
Beam Me Up
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been boldly going where no one has gone before — completing its 60,000th trip around the Red Planet last month.
But its on board HiRise high-resolution camera has never seen anything like this before: now it's spotted a dune in the shape of the Starfleet insignia, from the fictional television show "Star Trek." Perhaps Captain Kirk got there before Elon Musk did after all.
Hopefully we don't have to tell you that this probably a coincidence caused by massive windstorms, lava, and other natural forces forming the Martian landscape — because the alternative is that one of those wacky "Star Trek" time travel plots actually happened, which would be awful.
Here's the actual explanation from the University of Arizona's HiRise team:
"Long ago, there were large crescent-shaped (barchan) dunes that moved across this area, and at some point, there was an eruption," Ross Beyer, Principal Investigator with the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute, writes in a blog post. "The lava flowed out over the plain and around the dunes, but not over them. The lava solidified, but these dunes still stuck up like islands."
But looks can be deceiving.
"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," he said.
READ MORE: 'Star Trek' Logo Spotted on Mars [Live Science]
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