Where else would you expect to see a Star Trek Starfleet insignia embedded on the planet surface but on Mars? And that is exactly what NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter did, and even most key news media outlets reported on! As CBS notes, The MRO HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera team at the University of Arizona highlighted the discovery the second week of June 2019, even though the team had the image since April 22.
As is usually the case, NASA scientists, had a ’scientific’ explanation. As quoted by mashable.com, in short, the called it “a complex story of dunes, lava, and wind.” As space.com mentions, “the dune feature is located in Hellas Planitia, a large plain within the Hellas impact basin in the southern hemisphere of Mars.”
NASA scientists further explain that on a geologically active day, “there was an eruption, and the lava poured around the sand dunes. The sand has long since blown away, but a footprint (or “dune cast”) left over by the cooled lava remains.”
Of course, the striking similarity didn’t go unnoticed by William Shatner, the original incarnation of Captain James T. Kirk, who sent a Twitter jab at all involved with the Star Wars franchise that read: “We Beat You!” We didn’t have to wait long for a response from Mark Hamill who said, “Looks like a boomerang to me!”