Mars Looks Like It's Infested with Shai-Hulud Sandworms in This Amazing Photo

Dunes in the Melas Chasma region of Mars 11 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL/UArizona
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For many people, Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series of books is the best, most complex, and exciting space saga ever written. So complex, in fact, that so far no one was able to properly replicate that Universe on film.
Denis Villeneuve will have a shot at doing that later this year, when the latest attempt to capture the essence of Dune will hit theaters. Whether he’ll succeed or not is a question for another time, but the impending arrival of the flick starring Timothée Chalamet (Paul Atreides), Zendaya (Chani), Jason Momoa (Duncan Idaho), and others, has kind of opened up our appetite for Dune once more.

Somewhat fittingly, at the same time the final trailer of the movie was released earlier this week (attached below), we stumbled upon something very interesting coming our way from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and its High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.

It shows a region of Mars called Melas Chasma, a canyon in the Valles Marineris, and was taken back in March last year from an altitude of 266 km (165 miles). The people who analyzed the image say it shows “possible ancient bedforms” that also look like ancient dunes. And then they go a bit further and hint to the features somewhat resembling Dune’s Shai-Hulud as it moves under the surface of the made-up planet.

And they kind of do, now that we were told that.

In case you’re out of the loop, Shai-Hulud is the name given by the Fremen, the inhabitants of Dune (also known as Arrakis) to the huge worm-like creatures responsible for making the spice, the substance that for all intents and purposes is at the center of all the tragedies unfolding in Dune.

We’ll get to see the massive creature in this year’s movie, as it’ll probably get a decent amount of screen time. Until that time though (Dune is scheduled for release this fall), this photo from Mars is quite the (unexpected) substitute.

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Editor's note: Gallery shows the proposed Nuwa Martian city in Valles Marineris.

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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