While Santa Claus preparesAt the Earth’s north pole, angels engage in the holiday spirit . A spacecraft spotted an “angelic figure” and a large heart at the south pole of Mars just one week before Christmas.
This week, the high-resolution stereo camera on the ESA’s Mars Express captured “the outlined wings of an angelic figure complete with an aura,” as well as a large heart next to them. The pair of festive silhouettes appear in bright red, in stark contrast to the lighter tan of Mars sand surrounding them.
according to Space agencyThe darker color is due to the sand dune formation made up of minerals also found on Earth, such as pyroxene and olivine.
The South Pole itself, which is currently in the summer months, is to the right of the ethereal scene, completely out of frame. During the winter of Mars, the area will be covered by an ice sheet a mile thick and 250 miles wide – but now, ice stores are at their annual lowest levels.
Officials said the angel’s hand, which appears to be reaching to the left, is possibly a large sublimation crater – a depression in the planet’s surface that forms when the ice turns into gas in the summer months.
It seems that the angel’s head and aura were formed when a celestial body collided with the planet, revealing sub-surface layers that give a glimpse into Mars’ long history. The core is the result of a series of cliffs formed by erosion.
The scenic landscape also shows the Martian dust demons to the left of the figure. Dust devils, scattered across the Red Planet, are formed when strong winds raise dust from the surface.
The south pole of Mars has been in the limelight in recent months after scientists’ discovery– and much more possibility – indicating the possibility of microbial life.