The "Starfleet" emblem adorns the uniforms of Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise in the sci-fi show - and now we know it is a feature of the Red Planet, too.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured an image of a odd chevron on the Martian surface that looks similar to the symbol for "Star Trek's" Starfleet, an organization of space exploration, diplomacy, research, defense and peacekeeping. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), snapped the photo on the Red Planet's southeast Hellas Planitia.
The MRO HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera team at the University of Arizona highlighted the discovery Wednesday, though the image was acquired by the team April 22. As the lava cooled, the dunes pointed up like islands. They began as large, crescent-shaped dunes that were surrounded by lava after an eruption before solidifying. Explaining what could have happened, they said it was a result of several natural forces, beginning with crescent-shaped sand dunes being formed by wind and surface interaction. "Eventually, the sand piles that were the dunes migrated away, leaving these "footprints" in the lava plain". 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.
Star Trek and Nasa have a history of connections.
According to NASA's website, the space agency awarded its Distinguished Public Service Medal posthumously to the show's founding producer, Gene Roddenberry, to recognize the "way Star Trek inspired people around the globe".