A feature on Mars that looks like a very hairy spider was probably caused by the convergence of hundreds or even thousands of air horns.
Credits: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
David Bowie sang of the sci-fi character Ziggy Stardust performing with Mars Spiders, and now it turns out that he is a "spider" on Mars after all.
An image captured from an orbit of the European Space Agency (ESA) recently showed what appears to be a very hairy, blue spider that extends its "legs" across the Martian landscape.
But in reality, the so-called spider is a sprawling model left behind a ridge by a frenzy of dust devils, when hundreds or even thousands of whirling tornadoes were formed in the area, the ESA representatives have said yesterday (March 1
ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter captured the image on February 8 in the Terra Sabaea region of Mars, using the color and stereo imaging system (CaSSIS) of the spacecraft. The blue tracks represent parts of the ridge that have been scraped and crumbled by tornado winds. Although the actual color of the material exposed by the tornadoes is dark red, it appears blue in the color composite image; this technique improves the contrast of surface features, according to the statement.
It is not known why so many devils of dust (or trumpets of dust) converged along the ridge, even if the mountains of the region could influence the flow of air masses and contribute to the formation of tornadoes, the representatives of the # 39; ESA.
The ExoMars orbiter, launched in 2016, also captured a photo of NASA's InSight lander on March 2, while hammering its burrowing "mole" into the ground to sample the interior of Mars. In the image, InSight appears as a small white dot inside a darker circle of rock burned by the lander rockets during the touchdown. Nearby are the heat shield and the InSight parachute, which were expelled during its descent.
Other photos released yesterday by ESA are surprisingly well preserved impact craters; stratified deposits near the south polar cap of Mars; and 3D views of craters, dunes and outcrops.
"All the images we share today represent some of the best of the last few months," said Nicolas Thomas, principal researcher of the CaSSIS of the University of Bern in Switzerland. in the declaration.
The "hairy spider" is not the first photo that fools the eyes of a Martian characteristic. In 1976, NASA's Viking 1 spaceship took a picture of a mountain on Mars that had a strange resemblance to a human face, and the Curiosity rover captured images that apparently showed a mouse, a lizard and even a spoon floating – unsurprisingly they were all turned out to be oddly shaped rocks.
Originally published on Live Science .