Morse Code On Mars: NASA Attempts To Explain Mysterious Martian Sand Dunes Shaped In Dots And Dashes

There appears to be presence of Morse code scrolled on Mars. NASA recently released images of martian sand dunes that surprisingly resemble the typical dots and dashes used in the coded language commonly used prior to telephones.

Mysterious sand dunes that eerily resemble the typical dots and dashes used in Morse code were recently observed on Mars. The images were taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Feb 6. The dark dunes on the martian surface may have been formed by meteors and the strong winds, says NASA.

In an official statement, NASA explained that the sand dunes resembling Morse code have been formed due to the red Planet’s topography.

“The shape and orientation of dunes can usually tell us about wind direction, but in this image, the dune-forms are very complex, so it’s difficult to know the wind direction.”

In other words, NASA doesn’t have a clear idea as to why there are circular dunes interspersed with longitudinal ones that make the landscape appear as if a gigantic coded message is written on Mars.

The space agency’s conjecture is that the circular dunes are the result of meteor impacts which have left craters of varying sizes, reported WFAA. These impact craters, in turn, have governed how sand is available to the winds to carry and deposit in the thin, nitrogen-rich martian atmosphere. The craters didn’t leave much sand for wind dispersion, and also influenced the wind direction and intensity, continued the statement.

“As a result, the dunes here form distinct dots and dashes. The ‘dashes’ are linear dunes formed by bi-directional winds, which are not traveling parallel to the dune.”

NASA’s explanation notes that martian winds striking the dunes in right angles from two directions, slowly but steadily funnel millions of tons of surface material into a linear fashion. This phenomenon is responsible for the elongated dunes that resemble the dashes. Meanwhile, the smaller, circular dunes or “dots” are formed whenever the winds find some hurdle along their path.

If the fast-paced winds come across an obstruction to their otherwise free flow across the barren martian surface, they start depositing sands that eventually start resembling a circular dune. Incidentally, these “dots” are technically referred to as barchanoid dunes and NASA hopes the HiRISE camera will capture photos with high clarity to shed some light on their formation.

“This process is not well understood at present and is one motivation for HiRISE to image this area.”

Incidentally, Earth’s deserts do not have such patterns, probably because there have been far fewer meteor impacts on the planet as compared to Mars. Moreover, the martian atmosphere is quite different to that on Earth. This can cause inexplicable topography that is not just strange, but dynamic as well. NASA hopes to get more clarity about such unexplainable patterns using the HiRISE camera that was built by Ball Aerospace and is operated by the University of Arizona, in Tucson, reported Fox News.

Incidentally, the Morse code appears completely obscure and doesn’t make much sense. According to Planetary scientist Veronica Bray, the dashes and dots read:


Dune formation and migration on Mars is a hot field of study, because the barren, (mostly) water-free surface offers a natural test lab for understanding how wind sculpts landscapes, reported Gizmodo. However, owing to the significantly different densities, these sand formations formed on Mars, simply cannot be cross-checked with those found on Earth. Nonetheless, martian dunes do appear similar to topographical features found on our home planet, albeit on the ocean floor.

[Photo by Derek Berwin/Getty Images]