There are spiders on Mars like David Bowie said, according to Nasa

Radial troughs — which appear to be formed by gas flowing from underneath the ice and up, carrying dust with it — have been referred to as spiders because of their shape

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 12 January 2016 12:48 GMT
A picture of Mars's surface, shared by Nasa
A picture of Mars's surface, shared by Nasa

There are actually spiders on Mars, just like David Bowie said, Nasa has pointed out.

The planet is covered in huge, beautiful terrains that are referred to as spiders. They get that name — shared with the band of David Bowie’s alter-ego Ziggy Stardust — from their shape, though they are more formally called “radial troughs”.

Nasa released spectacular images of the spiders the day that it was announced that Mr Bowie had died, at 69.

The spectacular image is created as the ice cap of Mars erodes the terrain when it goes from ice to vapour every spring. The troughs are made by gas that flows beneath the ice, Nasa said, and come about when that escapes up and out and carries dust with it.

The troughs form a starburst pattern in the pictures area, though in other areas they are referred to spiders because of the shape.

The image released by Nasa shows a portion of Nasa taken in February 2009. It covers about 1 kilometer across.

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