Giant “Footprints” on Mars Look Like They Belong to an Alien Godzilla

Mars is the place where most Earthlings with a sense of space adventure dream of going. That’s because the Red Planet has been a faithful companion to ours since times immemorial and remains to date the only place of its size in the solar system that could sustain human life, if properly shielded and protected by technology.
Dunes in the Capen Crater on Mars 6 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona
Capen region of MarsCapen region of MarsCapen region of MarsCapen region of MarsCapen region of Mars
Contributing to the inclination to see Mars as humanity’s next home is the constant flood of information coming our way from up there, including (or especially) the thousands of photographs taken by the HiRISE camera from high up in orbit.

Almost every single one of them shows something spectacular, mysterious, or at least worth a very in-person look, and this is partially the reason why we keep featuring them here on autoevolution.

For today, we’ve selected a pic snapped by HiRISE back in 2010 from an altitude of 275 km (171 miles). It depicts a portion of the Capen Crater, in the Terra Sabea region of the planet, a 70-km (43-mile) impact remnant now covered in, what else, dunes.

In some areas covered in dark-toned layered material, these dunes are as spectacular as any of the others spread all over the planet. But the angle of this shot, the way the light falls on the dunes, and our brains’ tendency to find patterns and similar things where there are none, make some of us see something else entirely.

That something else would be footprints, giant ones and so close together it makes you imagine a three-legged alien strolling over the now-dead soil.

The dark dunes seem to have arranged themselves in footprints with the fingers pointing north, each footprint a tad ahead of the other, as if the Martian Godzilla was on the move. For scale, keep in mind that the photographs show a patch of the ground that is about 5 km (3 miles) across.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows the Capen region of Mars.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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