Hundreds Of Black “Spiders” Spotted On The Surface Of Mars In New Photos

Pictures of what appeared to be ants or spiders crawling on the surface of Mars created quite a buzz on social media. But the European Space Agency (ESA), which shared the images online, clarified what they actually are.

The recently shared images offered viewers a glance at the Martian landscape and showed “spiders” scattered across the southern polar region of Mars.

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ESA said their Mars Express captured the images of the “spiders” and explained that they are actually not creepy crawlies of any kind, but they are caused by carbon dioxide deposits.

The European Space Agency (ESA) shared images of what appeared to be hundreds of spiders crawling across the surface of Mars

Image credits: European Space Agency

The presence of these “spiders” is unlike anything observed on Earth.

During the winter months on Mars, carbon dioxide ice accumulates and forms a thin, icy layer on the landscape. Then, when springtime arrives, the sunlight penetrates through the icy layer and triggers a transformation that leaves the surface looking like it has spiders scuttling across the ground.

This phenomenon is one that has not been observed on Earth

Image credits: European Space Agency

“Rather than being actual spiders, these small, dark features form when spring sunshine falls on layers of carbon dioxide deposited over the dark winter months,” ESA explained in a statement. “The sunlight causes carbon dioxide ice at the bottom of the layer to turn into gas, which subsequently builds up and breaks through slabs of overlying ice.

“The gas bursts free in martian springtime, dragging dark material up to the surface as it goes and shattering layers of ice up to a metre thick,” the space agency explained.

Numerous space agencies have been working for years to unravel the mysteries of life on Mars

The gas, mixed with dark dust, erupts from beneath the icy surface and spews out through cracks in the form of tall fountains or geysers. They then descend down and settle on the ground, forming the dark spider-shaped spots.

The images recently shared by ESA captured the dark spots on the outskirts of a part of Mars nicknamed “Inca City,” named because of its resemblance to the Inca Ruins on Earth.

The post Hundreds Of Black “Spiders” Spotted On The Surface Of Mars In New Photos first appeared on Bored Panda.

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