“We dare to hope that the day will come when scientific methods yet unknown to us will give us direct evidences of the existence of the inhabitants of other worlds, and at the same time, also, will put us in communication with our brothers in space.”
– C. Flammarion, La Planète Mars et ses conditions d’habitabilité (Paris, 1892)
NPR just ran a story looking at some interesting enigmas in the Martian landscape, strange black spots that appear seasonally on the surface of the sand drifts during the Martian spring. Scientists have been batting around speculations on what they could be since they were first observed in 1998.
The most accepted hypothesis, at the moment, is that they are some sort of mineral deposit left after the increasing heat of the sun on the surface of Mars allows CO2 deposits to spew forth from beneath:
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“Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, from Hungary, from the European Space Agency have all proposed explanations; the leading one is so weird, it’s transformed my idea of what it’s like to be on Mars.