SCIENCE
09/18/2013 03:56 pm ET | Updated Sep 24, 2013

NASA Probe Finds Han Solo On Surface Of Mercury (PHOTO)

NASA's Messenger probe, dispatched to study Mercury in 2004, has stumbled across an intriguing image on the planet's surface: that of the fictional "Star Wars" character Han Solo, encased in carbonite.

Solo piloted the Millenium Falcon as a smuggler in "Star Wars" until a run-in with Imperial forces left him imprisoned in "carbonite." While the iconic resulting sculpture was ultimately destroyed, thereby freeing Solo, it would appear remnants may have landed on the surface of Mercury, near the planet's Caloris basin.

Even better than the image itself, which was taken in 2011 but only recently released to the public, is the press release accompanying the photo:

If there are two things you should remember, it's not to cross a Hutt, and that Mercury's surface can throw up all kinds of surprises. In this image, a portion of the terrain surrounding the northern margin of the Caloris basin hosts an elevated block in the shape of a certain carbonite-encased smuggler who can make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.

Of course, humans have seen shapes and figures in countless celestial bodies before. The "man in the moon," for example, is an instance of pareidolia, the tendency of humans to see human-like objects in otherwise random items.

"Han Solo" on the surface of Mercury:

han solo mercury

And here's Han Solo in carbonite:

han solo carbonite

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