On the Red Planet’s Hellas Planitia expanse, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has spotted a rather conspicuous logo that will have trekkies jumping for joy, while rekindling old rivalries with the Star Wars fandom in the process.
“Enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo,” wrote Ross Beyer of the University of Arizona in a statement discussing the unusual formation which bears more than a passing resemblance to Star Treks’ Starfleet logo. The likeness did not go unnoticed by one of Star Trek’s biggest stars, William Shatner, who couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a friendly jab at the Star Wars franchise.
“It’s only a coincidence,” Beyer said, spoiling the fun while explaining that the sandy crescent-shaped or barchan dunes were sculpted by the high winds on the Red Planet. Lava flows then parted around the dunes and hardened in place while the sand was gradually blown away leaving so-called ‘ghost dunes’ behind them.
There are roughly 300 such ghost dunes in the Hellas Planitia with a further 480 spotted in a nearby valley.