NASA snaps Mars dunes in the shapes of letters – CNET

Mars is crossing its “T”s.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Is Mars trying to tell us something? NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured an image of a landscape covered in dunes in the shapes of T’s and V’s. 

The MRO snapped the image in February, but the HiRise team highlighted it Sunday as a picture of the day, noting the formations also look like funnel shapes. 

The alphabetical apparition is a nice example of pareidolia, the human tendency to see familiar patterns in unrelated shapes.

Windy, dusty Mars is home to quite a few exotic sand dune formations. The MRO snapped a set of wiggly, worm-like dunes in 2017. They got their distinctive appearance from exposure to wind combined with the angle of the sun at the time the MRO captured the image. 

A wider view of the T and V dune field shows an impressive spread, with many connecting into each other.

This field of dunes on Mars has an alphabet flair to it.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

This isn’t the first time it’s felt like Mars is trying to communicate with us. A 2016 MRO image shows a set of dark dunes that looked a bit like Morse code. Either set of dunes would be a great prompt for the start of a sci-fi story, but they’re not signs of intelligent alien life on the red planet.

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