Martian Spider-Like Features Look Like an Ancient Army Charging the Hills

If you scroll through the massive treasure chest of HiRISE images of Mars on a constant basis, like some of us here at autoevolution do, you can’t but be amazed at how much the place can be made to resemble, given enough imagination, our world, its history, and everything in it.
Mars araneiform features look like an ancient army 6 photos
Planum Australe region of MarsPlanum Australe region of MarsPlanum Australe region of MarsPlanum Australe region of MarsPlanum Australe region of Mars
Driven by their habit of trying to make sense of weird stuff they see, our brains keep making unusual parallels between the oddities of the alien world and things we can relate to. And we’ve seen ample examples of that in our coverage of HiRISE images we’ve featured these past couple of years.

The latest Mars image to cross our screen is the one we have here, captured by NASA’s and the University of Arizona’s orbital camera back in 2020 from an altitude of 246 km (153 miles). It shows an undisclosed portion of the planetary surface, so rich in elements it’s like a scene from some historic movie.

Called by its handlers “The Amazing Spider-Land”, the pic looks like a still from Troy, or Alexander, taken from above during a high-intensity action scene and showing a massive army of small ancient people rushing for defensive positions ahead of them, propped on top of the hill.

Each of those individual little soldiers is, in fact, a type of araneiform structure. Araneiform is a word NASA uses for radially organized channels on Mars, which have a habit of looking close enough to Earth’s very own spiders.

They form, the agency says, as a result of sublimation, that process that takes a solid and transforms it directly into a gas, without going through all the liquid phase.

Sublimation of surface material, which would be carbon dioxide ice, exposes the darker material underneath, creating these shadows, which tend to congregate like armies of old used to do.

Editor's note: Gallery shows the Planum Australe region of Mars.


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