- A NASA camera's captured sand dunes of dots and dashes on Mars
- Scientists don't know how the Morse code-like dunes formed
The images of the dark dunes were snapped in February by a high-resolution camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
So just what are they? A report from the red planet, or just a weird little topographical anomaly? Definitely the latter, NASA explains.
The dunes have formed in a depressed area that's probably an old asteroid impact crater. The circular depression has had a weird effect on both the amount of sand available to form dunes and the way the winds carve up the dunes, NASA said. So instead of the long, flowing lines of dunes we're used to seeing on our planet, the winds on this part of Mars swirled in such a way to create distinct dots and dashes of dunes.
Why does this happen there? Scientists don't know.
"This process is not well understood at present and is one motivation (to study) this area," NASA said in a press release
So, if you were to convert the dune's dots and dashes to the written word, just what does it say? Planetary scientist Veronica Bray translated it for Gizmodo.com
NEE NED ZB 6TNN DEIBEDH SIEFI EBEEE SSIEI ESEE SEEE !!
Well, if the Martians are trying to speak to us, they really need to work on their sentence structure.