Spider on Mars

Did you think the spiders can create mysteries on Earth only? Well, think again after seeing the picture that NASA has released recently.

Well, the term spider actually means something else on Mars. This week, NASA has shared pictures of this creepy-crawly landscape view of the Red Planet as a part of the organization's Image of the Day series. The picture has been taken by the space agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It features the "spiders" coming out of the planet's ground at the South Pole.

In science, these spider-like features actually known as the "araneiform terrain." According to NASA, "spider-like radiating mounds that form when carbon dioxide ice below the surface heats up and releases." The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped the image on May 13 when it was spring on the Red Planet. "This is an active seasonal process not seen on Earth. Like dry ice on Earth, the carbon dioxide ice on Mars sublimates as it warms (changes from solid to gas) and the gas becomes trapped below the surface," stated the space agency.

The spiders come back to Mars seasonally when the carbon dioxide ice turns from solid to gas. "Over time the trapped carbon dioxide gas builds in pressure and is eventually strong enough to break through the ice as a jet that erupts dust. The gas is released into the atmosphere and darker dust may be deposited around the vent or transported by winds to produce streaks. The loss of the sublimated carbon dioxide leaves behind these spider-like features etched into the surface," said NASA.