May 26, 2019 | 6:55 PM IST
spider on mars

‘Spiders’ on Mars Surface? NASA reveals in recent pictures

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of NASA acquired an image on May 13, 2018 featuring some spider-like objects crawling over the Mar’s surface during winter at the South Pole. But, it actually shows a unique phenomenon where a carbon dioxide ice cap covers the region and as the sun returns in spring season, ‘spiders’ begin to emerge from the Mar’s surface. This has a little to do with spiders. The phenomenon occurs when CO2 below the surface of the Red Planet warms in spring and changes from solid to gas, which leads to spider-like radiating mounds transpires on the surface, which is called “Araneiform Terrain”. "The word 'Araneiform' means 'spider-like'. There are radially organised channels on Mars that look spider-like, but we don't want to confuse anyone by talking about 'spiders' when we really mean 'channels,' not bugs," NASA said. "Over time, the trapped carbon dioxide gas builds in pressure and is eventually strong enough to break through the ice as a jet that erupts dust. The gas is released into the atmosphere and darker dust may be deposited around the vent or transported by winds to produce streaks. The loss of the sublimated carbon dioxide leaves behind these spider-like features etched into the surface," a NASA release stated.

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