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NASA has announced an unusual new discovery: the iconic Star Trek Starfleet logo has been found on the surface of Mars.

The insignia was captured by the agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that’s orbiting the red planet, and the MRO HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera team at the University of Arizona explains that the curious chevron shapes are footprints of old sand dunes:

These curious chevron shapes in southeast Hellas Planitia are the result of a complex story of dunes, lava, and wind.

Long ago, there were large crescent-shaped (barchan) dunes that moved across this area, and at some point, there was an eruption. The lava flowed out over the plain and around the dunes, but not over them. The lava solidified, but these dunes still stuck up like islands. However, they were still just dunes, and the wind continued to blow. Eventually, the sand piles that were the dunes migrated away, leaving these “footprints” in the lava plain. These are also called “dune casts” and record the presence of dunes that were surrounded by lava.

Enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo: and you’d be right, but it’s only a coincidence.

The Starfleet Command emblem containing the famous logo.

Actor William Shatner, famous for playing Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek, cheered the news and gloated over his Starfleet logo being found before a Star Wars one.

Actor Mark Hamill, famous for playing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, downplayed the finding:

“Kirk’s” response:

If you’re a huge Star Trek and space fan and you’d like to use this new Mars shot as your wallpaper, you can download it here in up to 10K resolution.

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