An amateur astronomer recognized a well-known location on Mars’ surface in a picture captured by NASA’s Curiosity Rover.
The arrowhead symbol worn by Captain Kirk, Spock, and Jean-Luc Picard on their uniforms is instantly recognizable to fans of Star Trek.
Stuart Atkinson, an amateur astronomer on Mars, is credited for spotting it from among the Mars Curiosity RAW photographs that are uploaded to a specific website.
On January 10, Atkinson commented, “I bet the Mars Curiosity team’s Star Trek fans grinned like Cheshire Cats when they saw this new image appear on their screens.”
The rover’s Left Navigation Camera took the picture on January 9 (sol 4,062 in Martian days). It was a brilliant site by Atkinson since the view is actually quite broad, with the Star Trek emblem sitting amid a sea of rocks.
August 4, 2012, saw the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars, and it is still exploring the planet in search of life. The spacecraft was “positioned to execute contact science on a flat block of dark-toned bedrock in its workspace and continue investigating the composition and texture of the dark bands we’ve been observing from orbit,” according to a January 9 update on the Curiosity blog.
Space reports that NASA was able to launch Perseverance, a rover mission that is now investigating the Jezero Crater, because of the success of Curiosity. This month, Perseverance sent back a 360-degree photograph of an old Martian river.
NASA published a timelapse of the Martian environment captured by Curiosity’s cameras in December. The footage spans 12 hours, from dawn to sunset.