Star Trek is one of the most influential science fiction stories in history, perhaps just surpassed by its great rival, Star Wars. It is therefore not surprising that many of the people who work today in space exploration are great "trekkies". Something that they show from time to time puts blinking in their works.
It is very common to find references to the original series, or even some of the latest, in the hardware and software used to visit other worlds. But the image that NASA has shared in social networks is different: we face a real find that is not produced by man. In fact, the image of the Stark Trek logo you see has been taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), a satellite that revolves around Mars and observes geographic features and takes high-resolution photographs with the HiRISE camera.
The secret of the Star Trek logo on Mars
Your eyes don't deceive you, it's really the Starfleet logo, which the vast majority of Star Trek players wear in their uniforms and are part of the logo for most series and movies. It is a form currently in popular culture for not distinguishing it.
The result was thanks to the University of Arizona team, responsible for reviewing and analyzing the images taken by HiRISE. This is a large-definition camera that can get incredible images even at hundreds of kilometers. The strange formation is found in one of the sand dunes on the Hélade plain, located on the southern hemisphere of the planet.
Although it may seem like a message made by foreigners hooked on Star Trek thanks to the waves being released into space, we are in reality faced with a fall of pareidolia: The phenomenon that makes us see identifiable forms in common objects. For example, this is the reason why you see animal shapes in the clouds or faces in shadows.
Specifically, this formation is the fruit of a long geological history, which began with a series of sand dunes affected by a volcanic eruption; The lava flowed through the plain surrounding the dunes but without covering them completely. After the lava solidified, the winds disappeared small and small, and disappeared. The result is the strange footprint that represents existence of sand dunes in the most intense geological period in the history of Mars.
Display light (June 12, 2019): Dune Footprints in Greece
Stunning viewers will discover that these features look striking as a known logo.
– HiRISE (NASA) (@HiRISE) June 12, 2019