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The European Space Agency announces “signs of spiders on Mars”

The European Space Agency announces “signs of spiders on Mars”

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The European Space Agency talks about “signs of spiders on Mars.” Have researchers discovered living animals on the Red Planet?

MUNICH – One of the poignant questions in Mars research: Was there once life on the red planet? Now the European Space Agency (ESA) has reignited the discussion. The authority titled its website: “Signs of spiders on Mars” – albeit with a wink.

ESA shares image from Mars Express: 'Traces of spiders'

Issa reports about her websiteThat space probe Mars Express (European Space Agency mission) imaged “spider trails” spread across Mars' south polar region. Only recently, a space probe provided unique images of the Red Planet. The space agency is quick to explain: “These small, dark structures are not true spiders, but are formed when the spring sun hits the layers of carbon dioxide that were deposited during the dark winter months.”

The Mars Express spacecraft captured images of “clear spider trails,” according to the European Space Agency. © European Space Agency

Sunlight thus causes the carbon dioxide ice at the bottom of the layer to turn into gas, which then rises and penetrates the ice layer above. “In a Martian spring, gas flows outward, tearing dark material to the surface and breaking up layers of ice up to a meter thick.”

The “spider-shaped” patterns on Mars are formed by dark dust gas

This dark, dust-laden gas shoots through cracks in the ice in the form of tall fountains or geysers before retreating and settling on the surface. This leads to the appearance of dark spots with a diameter ranging between 45 meters and one kilometre. This would also create “spider-shaped” patterns. Even when looking at the size of the image taken by the European Space Agency, it becomes clear that the supposedly spider-sized objects are actually much larger.

“Mars Express” depicts spider shapes on the outskirts of the “Inca City”

The “spiders” captured by the Mars Express camera are located on the edge of a part of Mars that researchers call the “Inca City” – an almost geometric linear network of mountain ridges reminiscent of Inca ruins. The Inca city, known as the Angustus Labyrinth, was discovered in 1972 by NASA's Mariner 9 probe.

ESA mission: Mars Express

Mars Express has revealed a lot about Mars over the past two decades. The orbiter continues to take images of the Martian surface, map its minerals, explore the composition and circulation of the atmosphere, probe beneath its crust, and study the Martian environment.

He provided the most comprehensive map of the chemical composition of the atmosphere, examined Mars' innermost moon Phobos, and traced the history of water on the planet. It has been proven that the environmental conditions that existed on Mars were suitable for life.

(Source: European Space Agency)

“We still don't know exactly how the Inca city came into being,” the European Space Agency states. It is possible that the sand dunes turned to stone over time. “It is possible that materials such as magma or sand seeped through the fractured layers of Martian rock.” However, they can also be called “eskers”, which are sinuous structures associated with glaciers. (bk)