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Home / WorldTech / A "hairy blue spider" on Mars is one of the cool new scenes taken by the European orbiter

A "hairy blue spider" on Mars is one of the cool new scenes taken by the European orbiter



The false-color image of the dust devil's traces makes the appearance of a tarantula on the surface of Mars appear clear.
Image: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS

Unfortunately, despite this exciting event, David Bowie was wrong about spiders and had a new image of a giant blue tarantula on the surface of Mars. In fact, the false-color image shows a series of traces made by Marstaub devils. The photo is one of many taken by Europe's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, some of which have been released today for our viewing pleasure.

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) arrived in Mars in October 2016, but failed to respond. By February 2018, orbital orbit is low and a few months later, scientific operations begin. Maintained by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos, this project is focused on finding trace gases such as methane to help scientists better understand the Red Planet's ability or ability to sustain life ,

But TGO arrived on Mars with a pretty outstanding camera, the Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS), which explored the Martian surface from orbit. CaSSIS is unique because its camera can generate high-resolution, crystal-clear images in 3D in addition to conventional 2D images. The new pictures released today are a good example of what TGO can do.

A false-color image of the Terra Sabaea region on Mars shows very spider-like features on the surface. These are actually the traces of dust devils, a common weather phenomenon on Mars. This pattern was observed on the ridge of a ridge and, according to the ESA, "essentially the convergence of hundreds or perhaps thousands of smaller Mars tornadoes". The image was shown in a color composition to highlight the surface features. Its actual color, the ESA said, would be dark red as the Dust devils expose fresh material from beneath the surface.

InSight and its associated detritus.
Image: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS

The TGO also discovered NASA's InSight Lander, previously photographed by NASA's Reconnaissance Orbiter. This is the first photo InSight has taken of ExoMars. This is the first time that a European probe has detected a land driver on Mars, according to an ESA press release. This grayscale image was taken on March 2, 2019 – just at the same time the probe hammered into the Martian surface, albeit in vain (the excavator remained stuck on an apparent rock, and NASA is currently trying to figure out what to do). and no, the pull-out method is not an option.

The picture shows an area slightly larger than 2 square kilometers. InSight is a small spot within the dark spot, the latter of which was created by the retrorockets of the probe during placement. The heat shield and the parachute of the spacecraft can be seen nearby.

Interestingly, TGO and InSight are teammates.

"The TGO is being used to transmit data from InSight to Earth," said Nicolas Thomas, chief investigator of CaSSIS, in a press release from the University of Bern. "Because of this feature, we have not been able to point the camera at the landing site to avoid communication uncertainty, so we had to wait for the landing pad to pass right under the spacecraft to get this image."

The activity of the InSight seismometer could be an indication that a nearby meteorite has crashed. In this case, the TGO would search for the associated impact crater.

Layered hills near a crater.
Image: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS

Other images depict the edge of a stratified hill in Burroughs Crater near the Martian South Pole. Dust and ice have formed in the crater over hundreds of millions of years, although the origin of ice in the crater is a mystery.

A crater in a much larger crater.
Image: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS

The picture above shows a one kilometer-wide crater inside the 100-kilometer wide Columbus crater in the southern hemisphere of Mars. The bright band at the bottom of the picture is made up of various hydrated minerals, including sulfate salts.

Curious landscapes in the Hellas Basin.
Image: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS

The picture above shows the creamy surface of the Hellas Basin and shows the geological variability of the sometimes not so red planet. [19659023] The bottom of the Kibuye Crater in the Terra Sirenum region on Mars.

Image: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS

Other images published here show new surface features, polar layer deposits, dunes, and landscapes with dynamic topologies that allow scientists to decipher the geological history of Mars. Some are also in stereoscopic view, so break out of your 3D glasses.

[University of Bern, ESA]


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