A feature on Mars that looks like a very hairy spider was probably caused by the convergence of hundreds or even thousands of tornadoes.
Credit: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
David Bowie sings about the bogus image of Siggy Stardust with the spiders from Mars, and now it turns out there is a "spider" on Mars after all.
An image captured by the European Space Agency (ESA) recently showed what looked like a very thin blue spider extending its "legs" across the Mars landscape.
But in fact, the so-called spider is a vast pattern left on a ridge by the madness of dust devils, when hundreds or even thousands of tornadoes are circling the area, ESA representatives said yesterday (March 14) in a statement. [Seeing Things on Mars: A History of Martian Illusions]
The ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter captured the image on February 8 Mars "Tara Sabea region, using its stereo color and space imaging system (CaSSIS)." Blue bands represent parts of the ridge that survived and were scanned by storm winds. Tornado storms are dark red, it appears blue in the composite color image, and this technique enhances the contrast of the surface properties, according to the statement.
It is not known why so many dust devils (or tornadoes of dust) converged along the ridge, although the mountains in the area may affect the flow of air mass and contribute to tornado formation, ESA representatives said.
ExoMars, launched in 2016, also took a picture of NASA's Insight landing on March 2, when it dumped its mole into the ground to sample the inside of Mars, and Insight appears as a small white point in a darker circle of rock , Which was burned by the lander missiles at the time of contact, and nearby is the Insight heat and parachute shield, which was emitted during the descent.
Other images released by the ESA yesterday include well-used impact craters; Layered deposits near the southern ice cap of Mars; And 3D views of craters, dunes and decks.
"All the images we share today represent some of the best in recent months," said Nicolas Thomas, principal investigator at the University of California at Berne.
The Hairy Spider is not the first annoying photograph of Mars. In 1976, NASA's Viking 1 spacecraft photographed the image of a mountain on Mars that was remarkably like a human face, and the curious cyclist took pictures of a rat, a lizard and even a floating spoon – not surprisingly, all turned out to be strange rocks.
Originally Posted on Live science.