Spiders on Mars
This week, a group of researchers published a paper detailing their study into the once-mysterious spider-like terrain on Mars. We’ve talked about the surface of Mars before, and even after humans landed rovers on the earth, there are still unanswered questions. According to these researchers, the Martian surface is “home to a variety of features that have no Earth analogues and are all involved in some capacity today.”
On Mars, we’ve looked at the brain terrain. Back in 2018, we took a look at the spiders in the most informative spider picture we’d ever seen.
Recreation on Earth
Researchers have now successfully recreated the Araneiforms – also known as “spiders” – here on Earth, in a lab. Dry ice and warm sediment were used to make smaller versions of the spiders. These researchers were able to replicate spiders, spider legs, and all in between in an artificially created world like Mars.
More information on this subject can be found in the Nature article “The formation of araneiforms by carbon dioxide venting and vigorous sublimation dynamics under martian atmospheric pressure” with the DOI:10.1038/s41598-021-82763-7. L. Mc Keown, J.N. McElwaine, M.C. Bourke, and others published this paper in Sci Rep 11, 6445. (2021).
3D modelling with SfM using Agisoft Photoscan was used as part of the process of studying this genesis and using what was discovered for future projects and studies. Structure from Motion (SfM) is a photogrammetric approach for generating 3D forms from data obtained from a collection of 2D images.
All it Took – iPhone 6s
The researchers only needed an iPhone 6s to complete this study’s photo capture operation. Object visualisation in deep space has used – and will continue to use – similar methods of “scanning” artefacts to replicate their shape in 3D. This method is now easier and more accurate than ever before thanks to applications like Agisoft Photoscan.