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Honeycomb Martian Dunes Could Be a Clear Sign of... Water

When we think about the people who work in space exploration, we often perceived them as the best specimens of our species. And they are, of course, given the nature of their job. But they too are only human, and often subject to being outclassed by forces far greater than them, and beyond their control.
Honeycomb dunes on the surface of Mars 6 photos
Huo Hsing Vallis region of MarsHuo Hsing Vallis region of MarsHuo Hsing Vallis region of MarsHuo Hsing Vallis region of MarsHuo Hsing Vallis region of Mars
“Nature sometimes seems too clever for us” is the exact phrase scientists from NASA and the University of Arizona, who are constantly looking at images of Mars trying to make sense of them, used to describe the main photo of this piece, one that initially got them fooled for a bit.

Snapped back in 2013 by the HiRISE camera from Mars’ orbit, more precisely from an altitude of 252 km (157 miles), it shows a large collection of polygonal dunes in an undisclosed area of the planet.

Scientists say these dunes “often indicate the presence of shallow ice or of desiccation such as in a mud flat,” but if here this intricate intersection of the ridges of sand dunes “were to become indurated and eroded,“ humans would have been unable to tell they are in fact wind-blown dunes, nicely deposited on the bed of some dried-up lake from long ago, or on the bottom of a crater.

So, what we perceive now as being something similar to a honeycomb might in fact be the remnants of the magical substance that gives and keep life here on planet Earth, water. Still to be officially confirmed as having been a part of Mars’ past or present, the simple mention of water, and any trace of it over there, is enough to get space enthusiasts’ hearts pumping.

And the images HiRISE keep sending back are enough to keep them all on their toes, at least until we actually get there and get to experience such beautiful things on our own.

Editor's note: Gallery shows the Huo Hsing Vallis region of Mars.


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