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NASA's Mars orbiter has returned photos of a sand dune on the red planet — and it looks like it's trying to tell us something.

It's covered in dashes and dots that resemble Morse code:

Mars sand duneSource: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Mars sand dune  NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

No, before you ask, the carvings weren't drawn by aliens. 

These dashes and dots are entirely natural. 

According to NASA, the dash-looking patterns come from wind blowing in two different directions at right angles across the dune. The dots form when some kind of interruption breaks up the dashes. 

Scientists aren't totally sure what causes the dot part of the pattern, and that's part of the reason NASA is studying the area. The agency has been studying dunes on Mars to learn more about the planet's geology and atmosphere.

Even though it formed through natural processes, the pattern looks so similar to Morse code that Gizmodo reported NASA's Veronica Bray was actually able to translate it. It spells out "NEE NED ZB 6TNN DEIBEDH SIEFI EBEEE SSIEI ESEE SEEE !!"

That's some profound stuff, Mars.

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