“Unraveling Mars’ Spider-Like Mysteries: ESA’s Findings and Insights”

A recent image released by the ESA European Space Agency depicts what seems to be a collection of spider-like formations traversing the terrain of Mars. These peculiar “spiders” were recently captured on camera by the ESA Mars Express spacecraft near a geological feature referred to as the Inca City. “No Ziggy Stardust in sight, but ESA’s Mars Express has spotted the distinctive markings of ‘spiders’ scattered across the southern polar region of Mars,” stated ESA in a press release.

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However, these formations are not actual spiders. As per the press release, they are essentially small, dark features that begin to take shape when sunlight interacts with carbon dioxide accumulated during the planet’s winter months. The illumination triggers the transformation of carbon dioxide ice at the base of the deposits into gas, which eventually erupts through ice layers up to three feet thick, releasing dust in geyser-like bursts before settling onto the surface, explained the space agency.

Although these formations may appear minuscule from space, they are quite sizable, clarified ESA. The agency noted that these patches can be as large as 145 feet across at their widest, potentially spanning over half a mile in width. Beneath these prominent spots, an arachnid-like pattern is etched beneath the carbon dioxide ice, added ESA.

Interestingly, Newsweek reported that these spider-like patterns were also observed in 2020 by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, launched in 2016 to investigate Mars for indications of potential past life. The majority of these dark spots, captured by the orbiter, are concentrated on the outskirts of a region of Mars dubbed “Inca City,” first identified in 1972 by a NASA probe. This area, also known as Angustus Labyrinthus, is situated near the planet’s southern polar cap.

The exact formation mechanism of this area remains uncertain, mentioned ESA. Speculations include the possibility of sand dunes solidifying over time or the infiltration of materials such as magma or sand through rock layers.

In the meantime, Mars Express has been exploring the Red Planet since its arrival in late 2003. Over the past two decades, the orbiter has extensively mapped Mars’ atmosphere, traced the historical presence of water across its surface, conducted detailed studies of two small Martian moons, and provided captivating three-dimensional views of the planet.

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