Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

A new surprise from Mars Global Surveyor

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

01-04-2008 11:07 CDT


Although Mars Global Surveyor has fallen silent, scientists are still reporting new discoveries in its images. The latest astounding find from the long-lived orbiter is the familiar shape of another beloved spacecraft.

Where no man has gone before


Where no man has gone before
The caption for this image provided by Malin Space Science Systems opens: "Are we certain that all of the spacecraft orbiting Mars were manufactured on 20th and 21st Century Earth?"

Well, yes, but this cloud formation certainly bears a striking similarity to this spaceship:

Enterprise at Mars

Paramount Pictures

Enterprise at Mars
The Starship Enterprise flies by a terraformed Mars in the remastered version of the Star Trek original series opening credits.
The photo was captured by Mars Global Surveyor on March 27, 2001 as it was performing a slewing maneuver (an "off-nadir spacecraft reorientation"). The camera captured both the surface of Mars (bottom part of the image) and black space at the top of the image; features appear distorted because of the motion of the spacecraft. During the maneuver Mars Global Surveyor happened to catch some high clouds silhouetted against space. Humans have a propensity to see faces and other meaningful shapes in randomly occuring natural patterns, a phenomenon known as pareidolia.

In other Mars news, it appears that Earth is no longer enough for Virgin founder Richard Branson and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Their plans for world dominance are now extending out into the solar system with a new venture, Project Virgle, the first permanent human colony on Mars. There's even an application questionnaire. If any of you readers go so far as to submit the 30-second video explaining why you want to live on Mars, send me the Youtube link!

And once you're tired of April Fool's silliness, you can come back to the real Mars for the latest update on the rovers by A. J. S. Rayl.

See other posts from April 2008


Or read more blog entries about:


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Essential Advocacy

Our Advocacy Program 
provides each Society member 
a voice in the process.

Funding is critical. The more 
we have, the more effective 
we can be, translating into more 
missions, more science, 
and more exploration.


Featured Images

Phobos sample return mission
BEAM expansion progress
THAICOM 8 drone ship landing
BEAM on Canadarm
More Images

Featured Video

The Planetary Post - A Visit To JPL

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!