Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mystery pic --the answer


I posed the puzzle because the answer is so unexpected. These forms do indeed appear organic. Peter guessed -- among other things -- surface formations on one of our sister planets. Jack guessed "Martian snot." Well, there you have it.

These are marks left by collapsing lava tubes on the slopes of the Martian volcano Ascraeus Mons, imaged by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on board the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. This instrument combines a 5-wavelength visual imaging system with a 9-wavelength infrared imaging system. The colors, of course, are an instrument artifact. You can find other stunning images here.