Mars circles

This image acquired on November 22, 2022 by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows dunes that are almost perfectly circular, which is unusual. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

MARS — Scientists are scratching their heads after spotting a collection of circles on Mars. Researchers at NASA are calling these formations “unusual” sand dunes sitting on the surface of the Red Planet, which they say are “almost perfectly circular.”

The space agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spotted the shapes as it studied how frost thaws at the end of Martian winter.

“Sand dunes of many shapes and sizes are common on Mars. In this example, the dunes are almost perfectly circular, which is unusual,” NASA explains in a statement.

“They are still slightly asymmetrical, with steep slip faces on the south ends. 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 of the strange objects shows them when the surface was covered by frost.

Mars frost circles
(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Earlier this year, the orbiter revealed what looked like the face of a bear on the barren surface. The probe took this quirky image in December from a height of 251 kilometers, leading NASA officials to say “A Bear on Mars? This feature looks a bit like a bear’s face. What is it really?”

Look closely and you may notice the raised terrain in this photo looks like a bear's snout beneath two circular eyes.
Look closely and you may notice the raised terrain in this photo looks like a bear’s snout beneath two circular eyes. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona)

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been orbiting and studying Mars since 2006. The spacecraft is designed to study the geology and climate of Mars, provide reconnaissance of future landing sites, and relay data from surface missions back to Earth.

Strange sights keep emerging on Mars

As if humans need even more “evidence” that there may be something extraterrestrial happening on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover sent back images of what appears to be a doorway on the Red Planet last year!

Mars door?
Does this photo snapped by the NASA Curiosity Mars rover show a door?

Those images from May 2022 appear to show a cleanly-cut hole in a rockface, sparking wild debate among space enthusiasts and on social media. That Mars discovery came around the same time that the U.S. Congress started holding open hearings about UFOs for the first time in over 50 years.

South West News Service writer Dean Murray contributed to this report.

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