The planet Mars continues to be the conspiracy theorist's gift that keeps on giving. After a giant Martian mouse, an alien space crab, and Marshenge we now have Martian Morse code (Mars-e code?) supposedly found on the surface of the planet.
NASA released some images of the planet's surface taken back in February by its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on their Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. One of the images featured sand dunes that take the form of what looks like various dots and dashes, formed by local topography—or what some people have speculated is Morse code. They're located in an area known as the Hagal Dune field south of Mars’ north polar cap.
YouTube channel secureteam10 note in the video below that the image "sent people into conspiracy theory overdrive" thinking that it might be a secret message written into the landscape by alien civilisations. But if that's the case, then what did it say?
Well Gizmodo report that Veronica Bray, a HiRISE targeting specialist, went ahead and translated the supposed Morse Code and when she did it came out as pure nonsense. "NEE NED ZB 6TNN DEIBEDH SIEFI EBEEE SSIEI ESEE SEEE !!" is what it said.
But rather than accepting defeat conspiracy theorists have posited that's it's come out as gibberish because it's written in an alien language we don't understand. Which, well, yeah, that could be it or, you know, it could just be some sand dunes formed from natural events, which NASA says they've spotted before on the surface of Mars in these dot and dash formations.
Here's NASA's alienless explanation:
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. (via)
So there you go, not aliens. Maybe its the space crabs or the giant mice though. They'd probably communicate in Morse code, right?
Take a look at some more of the NASA sand dune images and a great conspiracy theory video below.