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Black spiders: unusual formations on the Mars captured by the ESA orbiter

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has made an intriguing discovery on Mars: the presence of unusual spider-like formations. However, this striking visual is merely an optical illusion, attributed to seasonal changes occurring on the Red Planet.

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Captured images from the south polar region of Mars depict dark spots scattered across the surface. Initially resembling giant spiders, these spots vary in size from 45 meters to 1 kilometer in diameter.

Yet, the reality behind these formations lies in the ice dynamics during the transition from Martian winter to spring. As sunlight penetrates the layers of carbon dioxide deposited during the dark winter months, the underlying carbon dioxide ice transforms into gas. This gas accumulates beneath the surface, causing it to rupture through the overlying ice layers.

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During this process, dark material is uplifted to the surface, resulting in the destruction of ice layers up to a meter thick. Subsequently, as the gas dissipates, dark spots emerge on the Martian surface, as evidenced in the captured photographs.

The semblance to spiders in these patterns can be attributed to a psychological phenomenon known as pareidolia, wherein familiar images are perceived in random patterns. Evolutionarily, this tendency to swiftly recognize potential threats, such as snakes or bears, was crucial for survival.

Our brains are adept at discerning patterns in our surroundings to facilitate decision-making and appropriate responses. However, this propensity can occasionally lead to misinterpretations, such as perceiving random images as recognizable objects.

In the case of Mars, the scattered debris on its surface contributes to the illusion of giant spiders. This serves as a poignant reminder that even within the remotest reaches of our solar system, nature can craft astonishing and deceptive spectacles.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood.

He is not afraid to challenge the official narratives and expose the cover-ups and lies that keep us in the dark. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.

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