A feature on Mars that looks like a very hairy spider was probably caused by the convergence of hundreds or even thousands of tornadoes.
Photo credit: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
David Bowie sang about his sci-fi personality Ziggy Stardust, who appeared with the Spiders from Mars, and now it turns out After all, Mars is a "spider".
A picture taken by a European Space Agency (ESA) orbiter recently showed a seemingly hairy, blue spider stretching its "legs" across the Martian landscape.
Spider, a sprawling pattern left on a ridge by a raging dusting devil as hundreds or even thousands of swirling tornadoes formed in the region, said officials from ESA yesterday (March 1
The ESA Roscosmos Trace Gas Orbiter captured the image on February 8 in the Terra Sabaea region of Mars using the spacecraft's color and stereo surface imaging (CaSSIS) system. Blue tracks are parts of the ridge scraped and cleaned by the tornado wind. Although the actual color of the material exposed by the tornadoes is dark red, it appears as blue in the color composite image; According to this statement, this technique improves the contrast of the surface features.
It is not known why so many dust devils (or dust tornadoes) have converged along the ridge, although the mountains in the region can affect the flow of air masses and contribute to the tornado, ESA officials said.
Launched in 2016, the ExoMars orbiter also captured a photo of NASA's InSight Landing on March 2 as it buried its burrowing "mole" instrument in the ground around the interior of Mars To taste. In the picture, InSight appears as a small, white spot within a darker circle of stone that the lander's rockets have seared while sitting down. Nearby are the InSight heat shield and parachute ejected during the descent.
Other photos released yesterday by the ESA have remarkably well preserved impact craters; stratified deposits near the south polar ice cap of Mars; and 3D views of craters, dunes and outcrops.
"All the images we share today are some of the best in recent months," said Nicolas Thomas, chief investigator for CaSSIS at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
The "hairy spider" is not the first eye-catching photo of a Martian feature. In 1976, NASA's Viking 1 spacecraft shot a picture of a mountain on Mars that had an eerie resemblance to a human face, and the Curiosity rover took pictures of what appeared to be a rat, a lizard, and even a floating spoon. all surprising It turned out that these are unusually shaped rocks.
Originally published on Live Science .