The latest round of good fun on the interwebs comes courtesy of NASA with a shout out to David Bowie!
It turns out the ‘Spiders from Mars’ are not only the name of David Bowie’s band in the well-known concept album from 1972, but are real-life geological features etched across the surface of the red planet.
Troughs across the surface of Mars that eerily resemble the eight-legged bugs have been captured in a stunning Nasa satellite photograph.
Dubbed araneiforms for their arachnid-like appearance, they are a type of land erosion where networks of cracks form on Martian soil, completely different to anything seen on Earth.
Scientists from the University of Arizona located the strange features using the Hirise (High Resolution Imaging Experiment) camera aboard Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
Volunteers working on behalf of Planet Four – an online project hosted by Zooniverse, the world’s largest and most popular people-powered research platform – helped to make the discovery.
Planet Four trawls through images of the southern polar region of Mars in an effort to uncover formations called fans and blotches.
These could point to signs of water on the surface of the red planet, one of the main goals of the MRO.
Their efforts assist the team behind the orbiter in directing their search to specific locations, where they can then capture more detailed images.
‘As part of the Planet Four citizen science effort, volunteers searched Context Camera images for possible new locations on Mars with “spiders,” or features with radial troughs from which fans emanate in the springtime,’ a spokesman for the group said.
The whole story can be found here.