Fans are experiencing a bit of a lull due to the fact that upcoming Star Trek shows are still months off. However, fortunately, NASA's Mars rover is keeping fans entertained in a surprising way. The Curiosity happened to photograph a rock that strongly resembles an iconic symbol from the franchise and, with that, I'm now getting serious Strange New Worlds Season 2 vibes after seeing it.
NASA has made cool shoutouts to The Orville and other sci-fi shows, and one gets the feeling that there are also some Trekkies working at the space-centric organization. The official account for Curiosity confirmed that there were team members delighted when an X user scanning publicly available raw images from the rover noticed a rock that looked like the Delta sigil commonly seen on a comm badge:
It might just be an oddly shaped space rock to the general public but, for Star Trek fans, this is probably cool in the way that William Shatner going to space was. This is especially true for this Strange New Worlds fan, who can't help but connect the Mars stone to the Season 2 episode "Among The Lotus Eaters."
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The episode in question centers around Captain Christopher Pike returning to Rigel VII after a covert mission went south five years earlier. Starfleet is drawn to the planet because a Starfleet Delta spotted from space suggests cultural contamination of the native peoples of the planet, which must be rectified.
The United States has a Space Force, but Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets still haven't happened in our timeline. With that said, organization's officers have inadvertently traveled back in time in the past, so maybe this rock was a sign left behind by one of them that the fictional future could one day become a reality. (OK, that's a stretch, but it's still fun to think about.)
Here's hoping this fun story isn't too much like "Among The Lotus Eaters," as the Delta ended up being there due to Pike's yeoman, Zac Nguyen, being mistakenly left behind five years prior. Pike believed him to be dead but, instead, Nguyen learned that the planet had mind-altering abilities due to the collision with a comet and caused those unprotected from it to lose their memories. Nguyen capitalized on it by ruling over the people whilst staying in a kingdom protected by an ore that negated the effects of the comet. Though he hated Starfleet for abandoning him, his people embraced the imagery and placed it on the planet. Nguyen was ultimately rescued but was taken captive by Pike and made to stand trial for his actions against the people of Rigel VII.
I would be a little thrilled if NASA found intelligent life on Mars, though not under the aforementioned circumstances, of course. I'd much sooner be content to watch Trek shows to scratch that itch in the meantime with my Paramount+ subscription (and there is quite a bit to look forward to.)
Another strange connection between Star Trek and the big red planet is that William Shatner hosted the reality series Stars On Mars last year. The series proved that celebrities probably shouldn't be the first people we send to the planet to try and create a habitable society. However, the cast did make the Fox series worth watching. Those with a Hulu subscription might want to check it out, especially since we might be waiting until 2025 for a new episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Plus, who knows if or when we'll get any additional fun tidbits from NASA.
Stream all the Star Trek shows to your heart's delight on Paramount+. I'll be doing that as well as continually watching the stars for evidence of intelligent life on other planets.