Friday, January 15, 2010

Martian Weirdness!

In several days, Chrispy will be discussing Lovecraft and Percival Lowell on the HPLblog. Lowell (and others) tried to understand the illusions and oddities they saw through their state-of-the-art telescopes and technology, but they often got it wrong. - You play the game, you pay the dues. - Now, a century or more later, is NASA fumbling or figuring it out?

"Don't be fooled – it's just an optical illusion", NASA scientists say!

The Martian "trees" in this image are dark basaltic sand pushed to the surface of sand dunes by sun-heated solid carbon dioxide ice (or dry ice).

Sand dunes form a nearly complete ring around Mars' north pole and are covered by a thin layer of reddish Martian 'dust' and patches of dry ice.

In the Martian spring, the sun warms the ice, causing it to sublimate (a kind of evaporation) directly into vapor. "What we think is happening is that the dark sand is sliding down the bright frosted portion of the dune," Hansen told


Chrispy is waiting to hear what Richard C. Hoagland has to say about this one! :)

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