PUBLISHED: 11:27, Mon, Nov 18, 2019 | UPDATED: 11:39, Mon, Nov 18, 2019
The NASA photos shed light onto the geological processes that have shaped the surface of Mars for millions of years. Believed to have once resembled a young Earth, Mars today is a barren landscape of sand, rock and frozen ice deposits. In a series of photos snapped by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), researchers have shown how these features form intricate and outright alien patterns on the planet’s surface.
The Mars photos were shared by the University of Arizona in the US.
Together with NASA, the university manages the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment or HiRISE – the most powerful camera ever sent to another planet.
NASA’s MRO has so far spent 13 years and eight months above Mars, capturing more than 368 terabits or 46,000 gigabytes of data.
In one of its photos, the spacecraft photographed a “Martian Game Board” in the planet’s Northern Hemisphere.
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Mars in pictures: Incredible photos reveal the alien patterns on the surface of Mars (Image: NASA/MRO/HIRISE/UOA)
Mars in pictures: NASA's MRO has been photographing Mars for 13 years (Image: NASA/MRO/UOA/HIRISE)
When viewed from orbit, the picture appears to show dozens of little figures assembled on a tabletop surface.
Up-close, however, the “unearthly scene” reveals a large collection of ice-covered dunes.
Ken Herkenhoff from the University of Arizona said: “It’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere of Mars, and the polar region is still blanketed by seasonal carbon dioxide frost – dry ice.
“This image shows an area near the sane sea – called an ‘erg’ – that is surrounding the water ice-rich layered deposits.
“The many bumps are sand dunes less than 100m across that