Thursday, August 17, 2006

Martian Mystery Solved

Sand Jets On Mars

     Newly published findings suggest a solution to the mystery of the Martian trees – those dark, bristly spots on aerial photography of the Red Planet that some have compared to fans or forests. Even Arthur C. Clarke, the author of "2001: A Space Odyssey" and other science-fiction classics, has wondered whether Mars' seemingly branching "banyan trees" represent signs of biological activity.

But now researchers propose that the spots are of geological origin: They say the marks are left behind every spring when gas and dark sand blast through rumbling fissures in the ice. "If I was ever going to go to Mars, I'd want to observe this," said Arizona State University's Phil Christensen, one of the authors of the research, which appears in Thursday's issue of Nature.

More . . .

See Also: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Blasts Off for Red Planet


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