NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has provided a spooky spectacle by capturing otherworldly "spiders" on the Martian surface. These araneiform terrain features, as they're scientifically known, resemble eerie arachnid patterns.
The captivating image was taken in May 2022 but only recently made its way back to Earth. It showcases a Martian crater with two distinct elements. The first is the dark formations that eerily resemble a congregation of spiders crawling across the landscape. The second feature is the geometric polygon shapes that bear a striking resemblance to dried mud. Researchers are particularly interested in studying how exposure to the sun's rays affects the development of spider versus polygon patterns in this type of terrain.
While these spider-like formations capture the imagination, the polygon shapes hold their own scientific allure. Similar shapes have been observed in cold Earth environments subjected to freeze-thaw cycles. On Mars, these polygons often feature raised ridges and can provide valuable insights into the planet's climate conditions and ice distribution.