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NASA orbiter spots Pink Floyd album cover lookalike on Mars

I'll see you on the dark side of the red planet.

floydmars
This dramatic Mars surface formation bears a resemblance to the album cover for Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon."
NASA/JPL/UArizona/Pink Floyd

This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

When you stare at pictures of the red planet as much as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter camera team does, you're bound to start seeing some funny things, like class rock album covers etched into the surface of another planet.

The High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRise) on NASA's MRO constantly delivers stunning views of Mars. Last week, the HiRise team tweeted an image showing "dark streaks in the north polar layered deposits of Mars" compared with the iconic cover of Pink Floyd's 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon.

"Separated at birth?" the HiRise account said, calling out the similarities between the prism image on the album and the angular streaks across the Martian landscape. HiRise is operated by the University of Arizona.

The north pole of Mars is a fascinating region packed with dusty ice layers. According to NASA, the layers are up to 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) thick and were deposited over millions of years. HiRise has spotted everything from angular formations to avalanche action in the region.

As astronomers have pointed out, there's no permanent dark side of the moon, though there is a side that faces away from Earth. It still gets sunlight back there. But that's not a knock on the poetic lyrics of Pink Floyd: "And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too/I'll see you on the dark side of the moon." Or Mars.