Closeup of Martian Spiders Reveals They’re Not Actually That, Duh…

Close-upm of spider structure on Mars 6 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona
Planum Australe region of MarsPlanum Australe region of MarsPlanum Australe region of MarsPlanum Australe region of MarsPlanum Australe region of Mars
Not so long ago, as we dug deeper into the treasure chest that contains the oh-so-many photographs of Mars sent back over the years by the HiRISE camera, we stumbled upon yet another impressive feature of the planet, one scientists knew about for ages, but us civilians were pretty much oblivious to: spiders.
That’s right, Mars does have spiders, but they are, of course, not of the kind we have here on Earth, scaring us like crazy. As in, they’re not real, living creatures, the ones on Mars, but terrain formations that occur when certain conditions are met on the planet.

Described by scientists as araneiform structures, these spiders are actually nothing more than radially organized channels moving outward from a central depression. They form “when the seasonal layer of dry ice turns to gas in the spring and erodes the surface,” and to our knowledge is something that only happens on the Red Planet.

At times, these features can be some 3,300 feet (1 km) across, hence seen from the altitude of the HiRISE, they kind of look like huge spiders. Luckily, the same HiRISE camera is capable of zooming in a bit, and that’s how we got the pic we have here.

Snapped back in 2016, at the time when the Martian spider phenomenon on Mars was not fully understood, the photo shows an undisclosed region of the planet, where two of these spiders play in close proximity to each other.

The closeup shows how these things are nothing more that shallow holes in the ground that in the right light make up the bodies of the spiders, accompanied by radial channels that make up the creatures’ legs.

So, not that scary in this pic, but certainly frightening in this one, which appears to show an entire arachnid army charging the hills.
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Editor's note: Planum Australe region of Mars.Gallery shows the

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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