NASA Has Spotted a Morse Code Message in the Sand Dunes on Mars

July 11, 2016 | Johannes Van Zijl

Sand dunes on Mars that appear to spell out Morse Code
Photo credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

In case you were wondering, no, it wasn’t aliens.

Astronomers at NASA have spotted something rather strange and beautiful in the sand dunes of Mars. From what they have deciphered from images taken of dunes on the North Pole of the planet, there seem to be a hidden Morse code message of dots and dashes.

NASA explained in a press release how the strange looking dunes might have turned into a Morse code message:

“A circular depression (probably an old and infilled impact crater) has limited the amount of sand available for dune formation and influenced local winds. As a result, the dunes here form distinct dots and dashes. The “dashes” are linear dunes formed by bi-directional winds, which are not traveling parallel to the dune. Instead, the combined effect of winds from two directions at right angles to the dunes, funnels material into a linear shape. The smaller “dots” (called “barchanoid dunes”) occur where there is some interruption to the process forming those linear dunes. This process is not well understood at present and is one motivation for HiRISE to image this area.”

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Here’s a close up view:

Sand dunes on Mars that appear to spell out Morse Code

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

NASA’s HiRISE Experiment has been taking shots of Martian surface since 2006, providing astronomers high-resolution images to further analyze. One of the HiRISE team specialists who noticed the bizarre sighting, Veronica Bray, translated it into a Morse code message for Gizmodo. It reads:


There doesn’t seem to be any sense in the message for obvious reasons, only a little bit of geophysical fun. Nonetheless, geophysicists hope with more detailed observation in the future they would be able to figure out how these dunes once formed, giving us a better insight to the potential habitable place Mars once were. Who knows, it might be worth paying attention to, as Mars might be our second home in the future.

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