Updated April 14, 2021, 10:22 p.m.
- Large spider-like structures can be found on Mars, especially in Antarctica.
- However, until now there have been only speculations about how this might have happened.
- Now the researchers have reconstructed the phenomenon in the laboratory and were able to confirm a common hypothesis.
Space probe NASA’s “Mars Exploration Orbiter” launched on May 13, 2018 During the Antarctic winter on Mars Image The so-called “Mars spiders” made. When the sun returns to the red planet in the spring, these “spiders” appear in abundance in the landscape.
The structures consist of a central depression with an average diameter of 50 meters. Branching trenches lead from this. These can extend from tens of meters to one kilometer. The branches become flat the further away from their center.
Researchers suspected how these structures might have appeared. However, the theory has not been confirmed. Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have now reconstructed this phenomenon in the laboratory, and thus were able to confirm the so-called Keffer hypothesis. They published their results In the specialized magazine “Nature”.
Carbon dioxide penetrates the ice
Accordingly, “Mars spiders,” also known as “vascular terrain,” are formed when carbon dioxide ice is below the surface red. Planets Heated and exits.
It works like this: Similar to dry ice on Earth, carbon dioxide ice sublimates as it is heated. This means that it changes from a solid state directly to a gaseous state. For example, ice does not melt, but rather turns into water vapor.
Initially this gas is trapped below the surface. Over time, the trapped carbon dioxide builds up in pressure and eventually breaks through the ice. Jet carbon dioxide emits dust and the gas is released into the atmosphere.
The spider-like branches “eat” their way across the surface
Dark dust can settle around the hole or be carried by the wind, creating streaks. This explains the black spots in the recordings.
Due to the loss of carbon dioxide, the spider-like branches literally dig themselves into the surface of the planet. Such an active seasonal process cannot be observed on Earth.
It is not clear if “Mars spiders” still form on the Red Planet today. So now it is No Mars probe was successfulTo monitor the composition of such structures.
- NASA: Jammed “spiders” from Mars
- Nature: formation of araneiforms by CO2 ventilation and strong sublimation dynamics under Mars’ atmospheric pressure
- Trinity College Dublin: Trinity researchers treat spiders from Mars
NASA’s “persevering” robot has been on the red planet for a few weeks and has been busy sending its recordings back to Earth. Now it even delivers a selfie.