UK scientists may have found the answer to the origin of curious giant spider-like formations located on the south pole of Mars. With the aid of a machine capable of recreating conditions on the Red Planet, dry ice and sediments similar to those present in extraterrestrial territory, they found that changes in the state of elements generate the visual aspect observed there – and details of the experiment were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The first hypothesis related to the theme appeared in 2003, the year in which researchers suggested that the “monsters” of about 1 km in length were the result of sublimation of ice rich in carbon dioxide, since the gas makes up 95% of the atmosphere of our neighbor – something confirmed by the team ahead of the finding released at the end of last month.
In a simulator called Open University Mars Simulation Chamber, those responsible for the investigation deposited sediment grains of varying sizes and then used a machine with “claws” to suspend the cold material and lower it over the specimens, whose temperature higher would be in line with what would be witnessed on Mars’ soil after sunlight penetrates the translucent layer deposited on the ground and warms it. Soon after, confirmation came.
“Man, how did you know how to play the guitar!”
Like theories published almost two decades ago, during the procedure, dry ice automatically turned into gas from its base, and the pressure exerted by the transformation made it escape through cracks in the shape of a cloud, leaving behind the patterns of legs of arachnids that even inspired icons of world music, such as David Bowie.
Lauren McKeown, the study’s leader, explains that the approach offers the first set of empirical evidence about the process that almost certainly modifies landscapes on the third planet in the Solar System. In addition, according to the article, the “legs” branch more when sediment is thinner.
“We showed that CO2 sublimation can be a highly efficient sediment transport agent under the current Martian atmospheric pressure and that the morphometry is governed by the Shields parameter”, celebrate the scientists, referring to a non-dimensional number used to calculate the beginning of the movement of sediments in a fluid flow – or, in this case, actions of “creatures” that we have not yet seen happen live and in color.
Major Tom, it seems, was successful in his mission.