Photo Shows Real Spiders From Mars

A cornerstone of early 1970s rock music culture was the British singer David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust persona, along with his backing band the Spiders from Mars. You can tell that the PR department at the European Space Agency were beside themselves with glee at the opportunity to reference them when their Mars Express spacecraft snapped a picture of some of the planets surface structures which bear a passing resemblance to Earth-bound spiders. We can’t blame them, we’d have done the same.

While these spiders are definitely not arachnid in origin, they are no less interesting. Over the Martian winter there form layers of carbon dioxide ice, which turn to gas under the influence of the Sun. This gas becomes trapped underneath layers of ice, until it forms sufficient pressure to burst through and escape. In doing so it brings up dark dust which settles along fissures in the ice, leading to the spider-like patterns when viewed from orbit.

So no life on Mars then, at least as yet. But it’s an interesting observation, and another little piece in the puzzle of understanding our planetary neighbor, as well as an excuse for a classic rock earworm. Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time we’ve reported on the ESA Mars probes.

15 thoughts on “Photo Shows Real Spiders From Mars

  1. Elon Musk should take note, it looks to me like Mars has a mold problem.
    (In addition to all the other obstacles to overcome with establishing a remote colony.)

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