Closer look: NASA photos of ‘trees’ on Mars

Posted on 28 Feb 2017


This is interesting. Have you seen the ‘trees’ on Mars? The dark shapes are debris trails, not trees. They sure look like trees.

 A Nasa probe has sent back photographs of what appears to be trees on the planet’s surface

The “trees” are really trails of debris caused by landslides as ice melts in Mars’s spring.

The images appear to show rows of dark “conifers” sprouting from dunes and hills on the planet surface. But the scene is actually an optical illusion.

The photographs actually show sand dunes coated with a thin layer of frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice, less than 240 miles from the planet’s north pole.

The “trees” are really trails of debris caused by landslides as ice melts in Mars’s spring. You can even see a cloud of dust, just to the left of centre of the picture, where an avalanche is caught happening.

The photograph was taken from orbit around Mars by HiRISE, the most powerful camera sent to another planet.

NASA’s Candy Hansen told The Sun: “The streaks are sand, dislodged as ice evaporates, which slide down the dune. At this time of the Martian year the whole scene is covered by CO2 frost.”


I zoomed in with the highest resolution photo I could find.  Take a look. Very weird. 

There is erosion that looks something like the Martian trees here on earth. The photo below is Bryce Canyon in Utah. 

Is what we are seeing on Mars akin to if there were sand dunes at the top of the Queen’s Garden? Is there rock under the dunes of Mars? Just frozen sand? What debris makes the trails dark? Are these shadows or a black substance or both? 

Why do I get nervous when looking at really high resolution photos of Mars? It’s a bit unsettling. 

Posted in: Space