Was David Bowie a master of space prognostication or is NASA just trolling us all?
Well, as it turns out, neither.
NASA's newly obtained Mars images have nothing to do with David Bowie's stellar album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and, thankfully, they also have nothing to do with real living space spiders either.
According to CNET, the now buzzed-about image acquired by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) appears to show "dark formations, more technically known as araneiforms, spreading out against a lighter background." NASA says they're "characterized by multiple channels converging at a point, resembling a spider's long legs."
The team for the HiRise camera, run out of the University of Arizona, highlighted the MRO image on Twitter this week along with a shout-out to Planet Four, a citizen science project helping scientists identify features on Mars to study in more detail. . .The HiRise team verified some of Planet Four's findings by spotting these spiders, which it describes as 'features with radial troughs from which fans emanate in the springtime.'
These "spiders" are created by sub-surface carbon dioxide ice changing from a solid to a gas in a warming process that appears to be seasonal. The gas then eventually breaks through, depositing darker streaks of dust around it. Spider imagery like this has popped up before, including earlier this year.
Intrigued, people online had questions:
And some had answers:
Others were simply amazed:
But everyone wanted to bring it back to Bowie because, well, it's Bowie, man:
You can use it as an excuse to get mellow with Bowie...
...or maybe just to kick it with Flight of the Conchords' "Bowie's in Space":
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