Life Tech Mars puts on ‘spider starbursts’ spring show

Mars puts on ‘spider starbursts’ spring show

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Curious “spider vein” starburst markings are cropping up on Mars in the red planet’s annual spring show.

Every year during spring, which falls in January, carbon dioxide erodes Mars’ terrains as it sublimates (going directly from ice to vapour).

NASA has shared the aftermath on social media in an image taken by a High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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The space agency explained the troughs formed a starburst pattern – otherwise referred to as spiders – leaving behind stunning imagery.

The troughs are believed to be formed by gas flowing beneath the seasonal ice to openings where the gas escapes, carrying along dust from the surface below.

The dust falls to the surface of the ice in fan-shaped deposits.

NASA said the image – taken of an area covering one kilometre across – showed the spring phenomenon.

Meanwhile, onboard the International Space Station, European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake is preparing for a spacewalk this Friday.

Mr Peake shared a “selfie” on board the station on social media, with the caption “final suit check prior to Friday’s EVA (extra-vehicular activity) – feels just great”.

Mr Peake, alongside NASA flight engineer Tim Kopra, will venture outside the space station’s Quest airlock to replace a failed voltage regulator that has affected one of the station’s eight power channels last November.

This venture into space will be the third for Mr Kopra and the first for Mr Peake in the 192nd maintenance mission for the space station.

Astronaut Tim Peake will embark on his first spacewalk this Friday and he couldn’t be more excited, taking this selfie to celebrate. Photo: NASA

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