ESA space probe: Does the image show spiders on Mars?

It wasn’t until mid-April 2024 that a discovery on Mars caused a small sensation because it suggested traces of life . Now photos from the European Space Agency (ESA) have emerged that make viewers everywhere itch and rub their eyes. A network of small black spots. Are those spiders? Can this be? Find out here whether we aren’t even safe from them on Mars and what the wild theory is all about.

ESA Photos: Across the Spider-Verse

No, we’re not talking about Spider-Man and his fictional action adventures in the “Spider-Verse.” This is real! Are there spiders on Mars? The image from the ESA Mars Express probe at least suggests so. Small crawlers appear to be found in the southern polar region of the Red Planet. Spoilers in 3, 2, 1, … Unfortunately we have to disappoint you (or can reassure you): They are not spiders. But what is crawling and fleeing there instead?

This is the reason for the spiders

Before anyone comes up with a theory, let’s just look at what the ESA has to say: “They are not spiders, but rather small, dark structures that form when the spring sun falls on layers of carbon dioxide that… deposited in the dark winter months.” The sunlight turns the carbon dioxide ice at the bottom of the layer into gas. The ice sheet above has to believe in it.
The ESA: “The gas erupts in the Martian spring and pulls dark material to the surface, shattering layers of ice up to a meter thick. The escaping gas, which is laden with dark dust, shoots through cracks in the ice in the form of high fountains or geysers upwards before falling back down and settling on the surface (…) The same process creates the characteristic ‘spider-shaped’ patterns that are etched beneath the ice.” For conventional eight-legged creatures, the things would be a bit large when viewed up close: the spots measure 45 meters to 1 kilometer in diameter. A logical explanation. And why do we still see the supposed spiders?

That’s why we see spiders

Did you know that we often tend to recognize things in space and on alien planets that don’t actually exist? The phenomenon is called pareidolia: you recognize seemingly familiar things in randomly arranged things. Stones with a hollow in the middle can quickly turn into a donut .

This is the ESA Mars Express probe

The ESA Mars Express probe flew off in June 2003 and landed on the Red Planet in December 2003. Their mission focuses on the Martian atmosphere, surface and subsurface as well as the Martian moons Phobos (“Fear”) and Deimos (“Terror”). On October 19, 2023, the probe orbited Mars 25,000 times

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