CBS News is reporting that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, known as MRO, captured a series of pictures of a symbol in a Martian sand dune that bore an uncanny resemblance to the iconic Star Trek Starfleet logo. NASA said that the symbol was apparently found in the southeast Hellas Planitia region.
Though the images were acquired by the camera team at the University of Arizona in April, the odd discovery was only announced this week.
“Enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo,” the team said.
According to the Daily Express, this is not the first time that scientists have found the symbol on the Red Planet. In fact, researchers have reportedly found “hundreds of crescent-shaped depressions” on Earth’s planetary neighbor.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been in service for over a decade and has been sending back images of Mars for the past 13 years.
The MRO also serves as a means of communication for NASA’s Curiosity rover and InSight lander. It is also planned to be of aid for the anticipated 2020 rover mission.
Caption Spotlight (12 Jun 2019): Dune Footprints in Hellas— HiRISE (NASA) (@HiRISE) June 12, 2019
Enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona#Mars #science pic.twitter.com/N5MfKQPiYt
Many casual observers were hoping that the well-known symbol was a hint of alien life in the universe. However, according to the scientific team, the shape was a coincidence and was likely created due to winds, lava, and dunes.
However, that is not to say that there hasn’t been some evidence of intelligent life. According to New Scientist, there has been some evidence of the possibility.
For example, in 1976, the Viking Mars landers detected the production of radioactive methane gas during an experiment. This is a chemical signature indicative of life, though of simple bacteria rather than little green men.
There have been other traces of possible bacteria both on Venus and Jupiter’s moon Europa as well.
More interesting, in 2004, the SETI project received three mysterious radio signals — all from the same region of space between the Aries and Pisces constellations that had no planet or objects that could be a source of the radio waves.
Moreover, the signal was on the frequency of hydrogen, which astronomers hypothesize would be the likely frequency aliens would use because of hydrogen’s status as the most common element. However, most scientists believe that the signals were caused by a hitherto unknown natural phenomenon.
Lastly is the infamous “Wow!” signal. In August 1977, a radio telescope at Ohio State University detected a signal that was a massive 37 seconds long, causing the researcher to write “wow!” at the top of the page. The signal came from so far away — a mind-bending 220 light years, to be precise — that it must have been caused by either an incredibly monumental astronomical event or aliens with a “very powerful transmitter.”