Piece of Mars Seems to Be Swarming With Dune Sandtrout

That Mars is a fascinating, yet extremely strange place is a no-brainer. And the planet that has captivated humankind since times immemorial, now under the scrutiny of several surveillance and exploration machines our species sent there these past few decades, keeps proving it time and time again.
Imaginary Arrakis sandtrout under the surface of Mars 6 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL/UArizona
Nilosyrtis Mensae region of MarsNilosyrtis Mensae region of MarsNilosyrtis Mensae region of MarsNilosyrtis Mensae region of MarsNilosyrtis Mensae region of Mars
Seeing how increasing efforts are being made to put together a crewed mission to Mars, we’ve decided, not long ago, to show some of the most exciting images sent back from over there by human-made apparatus, located either on the ground or high-up in orbit.

Circling the planet for a number of years now is a thing called Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is equipped with something named the HiRISE camera. It is this piece of equipment that made possible over 70,000 images being sent back to Earth, showing Mars in all its glory.

Now, Mars being a completely alien place and all, its features lack any real significance to us mortals. But our brains can’t allow that, so we get forced into seeing things rooted in our life experiences, or even imagination.

Take the pic we have here, for instance, captured back in May 2020 from an altitude of 285 km (177 miles). It officially shows a portion of the Nilosyrtis Mensae region of the planet, a fretted piece of terrain that comprises a vast number of Martian-specific features, including mesas, cliffs, and flat valleys, but also minerals of various types, including clays that need water to form.

Here, we get most of those features, but also “plenty of evidence of fluvial and volcanic processes, tectonic faulting, and erosion in this region.”

Unofficially, and with enough imagination, it seems to be showing a portion of planet Arrakis infested with sandtrout, the creatures that are responsible for the creation of the mighty spice that drives the houses in the Dune universe to wipe each other out.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows the Nilosyrtis Mensae 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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