The Internet is discussing a photo with “spiders on Mars.” What is it really?

Right now in orbit of Mars is the Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft, which was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2016 and is studying the surface of the planet. It regularly sends high-quality photographs to Earth, from which researchers learn a lot of interesting things about Mars. For example, in 2022, the device showed an unusual crater, which is filled with water ice and looks like a huge tree stump from above. The orbital device recently shared an image depicting the horror of arachnophobes – thousands of giant spiders appear to be living on the surface of the planet. Fortunately for people with a fear of spiders and the misfortune of scientists expecting to find extraterrestrial life, there are no arthropod creatures on Mars. Experts from the European Space Agency (ESA) explained what it is.

A photograph with “spiders on Mars” is being discussed on the Internet. What is it really? Scientists saw something on Mars that looked like a bunch of spiders. Image: DALLE-3 neural network. Photo.

Scientists saw something that looked like a bunch of spiders on Mars. Image: DALLE-3 neural network

Spiders on Mars

A new photo from Trace Gas Orbiter shows an area at the Red Planet's south polar region. It may seem that giant spiders live on the surface of Mars, and when people fly to Mars, a battle will begin between humanity and extraterrestrial monsters, as in the science-fiction action movie Starship Troopers.

Spiders on Mars. Still from the movie

Still from the film “Starship Troopers”

There is no need to be afraid of such an outcome, because the spacecraft photographed a common phenomenon that has been happening on Mars for billions of years. Like on Earth, the Red Planet experiences regular changes of seasons. But whatever the season, it is extremely uncomfortable for people. Even in summer, temperatures on Mars can drop to −53 degrees Celsius. And in winter there are generally nightmare conditions, because the air temperature drops below −100 degrees Celsius.

Spiders on Mars. Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft. Image source: Photo.

Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft. Image source:

Seasons on Mars

During winter, carbon dioxide on the planet's surface mixes with dust and freezes. But as soon as spring arrives and sunlight begins to warm Mars, this mixture of frozen gas and dirt begins to heat up quickly, and very unevenly. As a result, gases located even under a thick layer of ice escape. This process is sometimes accompanied by a powerful explosion, in which a high column of dark sand rises.

Seasons on Mars.

“Spiders” on Mars, captured by the Trace Gas Orbiter. Photo source:

All this spring dirt settles on the bright surface of Mars. From the height of the Trace Gas Orbiter, these spots look like huge spiders with many legs. Gradually they are washed away by the winds and disappear, but with the arrival of next spring they appear again and come into the field of view of research vehicles. The pressure of gas and sand can break even ice 1 meter thick; the diameter of the resulting spots varies from 45 meters to 1 kilometer.

Seasons on Mars. Another image of Mars taken by the Trace Gas Orbiter. Photo source: Photo.

Another image of Mars taken by the Trace Gas Orbiter. Photo source:

Read also:What secrets does the Martian stump-like crater hold?

What is pareidolia

There are a lot of strange things on the surface of Mars. On the Internet you can find a lot of photographs of the Red Planet, which allegedly depict human bones, tableware, and so on – in one of the photographs you can even see a “Bigfoot.”

What is pareidolia. “Spoon” on Mars. Photo source: Photo.

“Spoon” on Mars. Photo source:

In fact, all of the above is just a visual illusion called pareidolia. This is the name of the phenomenon in which people see something living in inanimate objects. A little higher up, it seemed to us that there were spiders on the planet Mars, although they were just spots of dirt. In a cut pepper we can see the face of a monster, and in the corner of an architectural structure we can see a bird, and this is completely normal.

What is pareidolia. Vivid examples of pareidolia. Photos.

Vivid examples of pareidolia

Pareidolia was passed down to us from distant ancestors, who faced danger at every turn. Sometimes, seeing an unusually shaped rock in the dark, our ancestors would run away in horror, thinking that it was a ferocious predator. Such excessive caution helped them survive, thanks to which you and I still live on Earth. You will probably want to know more about this phenomenon, so we have thoughtfully left you a link to our comprehensive material: “Why do we see human faces in ordinary objects?”

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News on the topic of Mars appear almost every day, because this planet interests scientists more than others. And all because in the near future people want to go to Mars and build a small city there. Recently, one of the richest people in the world, Elon Musk, announced his intention to send a million people to Mars. To do this, he wants to build hundreds of Starships. He warned that people who go on a space journey are unlikely to return.