Advert

NASA Has Released Photos Of 'Spiders' Crawling On Mars

Published 
| Last updated 

NASA Has Released Photos Of 'Spiders' Crawling On Mars

We've been asking the same thing since David Bowie posed the question in 1971 - is there life on Mars? Well, now NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has released images of what seem to be a load of spiders emerging from the planet. Is your skin crawling yet?

It looks creepy, but apparently they're not spiders at all. In fact, the 'spiders' are actually just little moulds of carbon dioxide called araneiform terrain.

When asked about what the deal is with the spiders on Mars? NASA said the araneiform terrain essentially amounts to 'spider-like radiating mounds that form when carbon dioxide below the surface heats up and releases'.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA
Advert

Still skeptical? A statement from NASA said: "This is an active seasonal process not seen on Earth. Like dry ice on Earth, the carbon dioxide ice on Mars sublimates as it warms (changes from solid to gas) and the the gas becomes trapped below the surface.

"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 on to the surface."

Advert

Loading…

So what they're saying is these not-actually-spiders show themselves every year during the red planet's springtime... which means that no, Bowie, in answer to your question. It may look like there's life on Mars, but only in Spring.

Over on not-so-nearby Jupiter, meanwhile, 12 new moons have been found orbiting the planet in a breakthrough discovery.

Advert

That's taken the total number of objects found orbiting Jupiter up to 79, with scientists reckoning there could well be 100 in total. Not bad, eh? Especially given its closest rival, Saturn, only has 62. Sucks to be Saturn.

Jupiter's newly-discovered moons are all less than two miles wide, which may explain why they've only just been discovered now. But experts were able to find the tiny objects using extremely sensitive telescopes.

Advert

Scott S Sheppard, who helped lead the team that made the discovery of the 12 new moons, said: "Jupiter just happened to be in the sky near the search fields where we were looking for extremely distant solar system objects, so we were serendipitously able to look for new moons around Jupiter while at the same time looking for planets at the fringes of our solar system."

Words by Megan Walsh

Featured Image Credit: PA / NASA

Topics: Science, mars, planets, Nasa, Technology, space

More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Entertainment

Jimmy Carr Shuts Down Anti-Vaxxer Who Was At His Gig With Just One Line

a day ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

News

Tiger Shark Vomited Human Arm In Aquarium And Sparked A Murder Probe

3 hours ago