Scientists have managed to explain where the mysterious structures on Mars come from, which from orbit resemble a honeycomb or a spider’s web. In fact, they are formed by a process of seasonal changes in carbon dioxide and water. science alert.
The HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been able to capture many polygons in the years since it arrived in Mars orbit in 2006.
The HiRISE team stated that water in solid form and carbon dioxide in the form of dry ice play an important role in the formation of these structures. Water ice that solidifies in the soil splits the earth into polygons. Dry ice that sublimates from beneath the surface when the ground warms up in spring causes more erosion, creating channels around the edges of such “polygons”.
The polygons form over many years as the near-surface ice contracts and expands with the seasons. But some polygon regions show even more seasonal activity, as indicated by the blue fan-shaped details. The layer of translucent dry ice that covers the surface forms vents that allow the gas to escape, scientists say.
“The gas carries away small particles of material from the surface, further destroying the channels. Particles fall to the surface in the form of dark fan-shaped deposits. Sometimes the dark particles sink into the dry ice, leaving bright trails where the fans were originally located. Often the vent closes and then reopens, so we see two or more fans originating from the same place but oriented in different directions as the wind changes,” HiRISE scientists told HiRISE.
The researchers are paying special attention to the polygon regions of Mars, as they can help them understand the planet’s recent activity and distribution of ice below the surface, as well as provide insight into the Red Planet’s climate conditions.
Mars is not the only place where such structures occur. Polygons can be found in the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the Earth. New Horizons, which flew past Pluto in 2015, noticed their existence on this dwarf planet as well.
Earlier, amateur astronomers looking for signs of extraterrestrial life on Mars noticed an unusual detail in images taken by Curiosity. The geological structure on them is similar to the “door to the underground temple.”