The European Space Agency (ESA) recently released incredible images showcasing the surface of Mars. In one of the images, there appears to be a blue “hairy spider” on the red planet’s surface.
What is it?
‘Hairy Spider’ On Mars
On March 14, ESA released several images captured by the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) aboard the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO). One image in particular, called “Dust Devil Frenzy” shows what appears to be a massive, blue “hairy spider” extending its legs on the surface. The image of the blue pattern sitting on a ridge was taken in the Terra Sabea region of Mars last Feb. 8.
It is, however, not a spider on Mars but instead is a pattern that came about as a result of dust devil activity, in which hundreds or thousands of small tornadoes formed in the area and churned the surface material to expose the fresh materials below. So far, it is unknown as to why the blue streaks are concentrated in the ridges, or why so many dust devils converged in the ridge.
Interestingly, while the color-composite image shows up as blue, the real color on the surface is actually red.
ExoMars Orbiter Images
The ExoMars TGO launched three years ago on March 14, 2016 and landed on Mars by Oct. 19 of the same year. As a whole, the ExoMars program’s mission is to investigate how the planet’s environment changed over time.
Apart from the “hairy spider” image, the agency released several others that also showcase some surface features as well as the diversity of minerals on the planet’s surface. In fact, one of them is even an image of the InSight landing site on Mars. The image shows NASA’s Insight lander as a white speck inside the dark blast mark from when it landed. Its heat shield and parachute can also be seen in the image.