Earlier this month, NASA released a new shot from the Mars rover Curiosity, showing its approach to an area of sand dunes on Mars that it’s about to roll through and oh my god Curiosity is jealous of BB-8 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, isn’t it?
Can the Curiosity rover watch movie trailers? Did it get wistful over the above shot of the sand dunes on the alien planet Jakku?
Check out this shot of the sand dunes on Mars:
Just kidding, that’s actually still the above photo of Mars, just with its color rebalanced. My point is…it’s kind of amazing that our science fact is beginning to outpace our science fantasy. Good thing Congress decided to up NASA’s budget for next year.
The Jet Propulsion Lab has details on the dunes that Curiosity has encountered:
The rippled surface of the first Martian sand dune ever studied up close fills this view of “High Dune” from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity rover. This site is part of the “Bagnold Dunes” field along the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp. The dunes are active, migrating up to about one yard or meter per year.
JPL also notes that Curiosity‘s mosiac of the Bagnold Dunes is light-corrected in order to depict them as they would appear on Earth, and not in the dimmer environment of Mars. Once corrected, the Bagnold Dunes look similar to the incredible Rub’ al Khali dune desert in Saudi Arabia, the very place where The Force Awakens filmed its Jakku scenes.
A galaxy far, far away indeed…