Sadly, David Bowie is wrong about spiders on Mars, despite this exciting new image of what appears in a huge blue tarantula over of Martian. In reality, a false color picture shows a series of trails made by Martian dust devils. The picture is one of many of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter of Europe, some of which are now released for our viewing pleasure.
ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) arrived on Mars in October 2016, but it did not enter its low, planet-skimming orbit until February 2018, with scientific operations beginning a few months later. This project is administered by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos, and its main mission is to hunt methane gases to help scientists better understand the capacity or previous capacity of Red Planet-to enrich life.
But TGO came to Mars with a great camera known as the Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS), which was used to detect the surface of Mars from the orbit. CaSSIS is unique in its use of cameras to produce hi-res images, clear crystal in 3D, in addition to conventional 2D images. A new set of photos released today is a great example of what TGO can do.
A false color image of the Terra Sabaea region of Mars shows a very spider-like range of features over. It is actually the trails left by the dust devils, an often unusual weather on Mars. This pattern is observed at the top of a ridge, and is "essentially the scene of hundreds or perhaps even thousands of smaller martian tornadoes," according to the ESA. The image is displayed in a color-composite view to bring out the features over. Its actual color, ESA says, will be dark red, while dust devils reveal fresh material from the bottom of the surface.
TGO also sees NASA's InSight lander, previously photographed by NASA's Reconnaissance Orbiter. This is the first photo taken by InSight through ExoMars, and it marks the first time that a European probe has seen a lander on Mars, according to an ESA press release. The picture of this greyscale was taken on March 2, 2019-exactly the same time that the investigation cracked, though innocent, onto the surface of the Martian (the stallor stuck in a clear stone, and now tested by NASA to know what to do – and no, the pull-out method is not an option).
The image shows a place slightly larger than 2 square kilometers. InSight is a small speck inside the dark blotch, which was eventually made by the probe retrorockets during the touchdown. The heatshield and the spacecraft parachute can be seen nearby.
Interestingly, TGO and InSight are teammates. "TGO is used to transmit data from InSight to Earth," says Nicolas Thomas, chief analyst at CaSSIS, at a press release by the University of Bern. "Due to this functionality, to avoid uncertainty in communications, we can not point the camera to the landing site right now-we must wait until the landing site is directly under the spacecraft to get this picture. "
The activity taken by the InSight seismometer may be a sign that a meteorite has crashed nearby. If that happens, TGO is hunting for the associated effects of impact.
The other image is along the edge of a layered mound in burroughs crater near the Martian south pole. The dust and ice form the layers of the crater for hundreds of millions of years, although the origins of ice in the crater are a mystery.
The above image shows a one kilometer-wide crater within the 100-kilometer-wide Columbus Crater, located on the southern hemisphere of Mars. The clear band under the image is made up of different hydrated minerals, including sulfate salts.
The above picture shows the light surface of the Hellas Basin, which shows the geological variability of sometimes not so many planets. ] The floor of the Kibuye crater in the Terra Sirenum region of Mars.
Other photos released today, available here, show new features on the surface, polar layers deposits, sand mountains, and landscapes with dynamic topology, used by scientists to understand the history of Mars geology. Some have a stereoscopic view, so your 3D glasses come out.
[University of Bern, ESA]