Too bad Elon Musk hasn’t colonized Mars yet, because there is a mystery currently occurring up their that has scientists baffled.
New images of Mars released by NASA show “almost perfectly circular” sand dunes on the surface of the Red Planet.
The images, captured by the University of Arizona’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera system onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, were taken in Mars’ northern hemisphere.
What makes them so unusual is, according to a statement from the University of Arizona is because, “sand dunes of many shapes and sizes are common on Mars. In this example, the dunes are almost perfectly circular, which is unusual.”
What caused these sand dunes to be almost perfect circles, however, is currently a mystery.
“They are still slightly asymmetrical, with steep slip faces on the south ends,” the statement continues. “This indicates that sand generally moves to the south, but the winds may be variable.
“This is part of a series of images to monitor how frost disappears in the late winter; this observation appears to be free of frost. A previous image shows when the surface was covered by frost.”
HiRise, which is mounted on the MRO spacecraft, has been orbiting and surveying sand dunes on Mars since 2006 to help scientists understand how they move and how the weather patterns shape them. Data from the high-resolution camera indicate that sand dunes are migrating from the equator to the poles at a rate of up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) per Martian year, or 687 days on Earth.
Researchers are also using HiRise to study glacier-like formations and deposits at the base of slopes across Mars, which scientists think may once have been rich in ice, although the source of this ice remains a mystery, according to NASA.
What isn’t a mystery is how a “bear” ended up on the surface of Mars. (Or is it?)