Mars: How Spiders Form at Antarctica

How do martian spiders form

The Model Spring: When it gets warmer again, life on Earth springs from the ground. It’s no different on Mars, only hot, dry ice is responsible for the explosions. Freezing carbon dioxide covers the ground in winter temperatures. When it gets warmer again, the sun heats the Earth underneath, which in turn ensures that carbon dioxide is removed2 It goes directly to the gaseous state. It finds its way out into the open and leaves behind the branching structures.

Researchers working with Lauren McKeown of Trinity College Dublin recreate it in a pressure chamber where they can simulate the Martian atmosphere. In the trade newspaper Scientific Reports Describe how the branching pattern arises when a block of dry ice is placed on fine sand. Contact with the warm sand layer creates a thin gas envelope that blows the sand grains away and allows the mass to sink more and more into the ground. What remains is the pattern reminiscent of Martian spiders, also known as “Araneiforms.”

However, the Dublin Mars model is several times smaller than the corresponding structures on the Red Planet. There you can find spiders in a variety of shapes and sizes. Wide specimens can measure one kilometer in diameter, and finely branched spiders are usually around 100 meters long. It is mainly found in the Antarctic region. Obviously, they appear very slowly and barely change over the years, as the images from the Mars probes have shown – many of them are likely thousands to tens of thousands of years old.

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