‘Alien arachnids’: Spider-like mounds captured by NASA on Martian surface (PHOTO)
An image, taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in May as the South Pole of Mars edged towards spring, shows patterns etched across the surface, freakishly similar in appearance to Earth’s eight-legged creatures.
“But these aren't actual spiders,”NASA clarifies in a post explaining the scientific process behind the distinct features.
So where are the spiders? On Mars! 🕷️ Our Mars orbiter took this image of "araneiform terrain," spider-like radiating mounds that form when Martian carbon dioxide ice below the surface heats up and releases each spring in a process not seen on Earth: https://t.co/gjuFKE2Ueipic.twitter.com/EQSEewEUP8— NASA (@NASA) July 15, 2018
The spider-like radiating mounds are known as “araneiform terrain,” and form when carbon dioxide ice below the surface heats up and releases. This is an active seasonal process not seen on Earth, according to the space agency.
The carbon dioxide ice on Mars changes from solid to gas as it warms, causing the gas to become trapped below the surface. Over time this trapped gas builds in pressure and breaks through the ice as a jet that emits dust.
The result is veiny spider-like ‘formations’ spread across the planet accompanied by dark spots formed by dust deposited around vents during the CO2 eruption.
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