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The European Space Agency reveals strange ‘swirls’ on Martian North Pole


The European Space Agency reveals strange ‘swirls’ on Martian North Pole

Perspective view of Mars north polar ice cap

New images taken by The European Space Agency have revealed fascinating strange ‘swirls’ on the Martian North Pole, proving how beautiful and strange Mars really is.

You guessed it, Mars was once covered by massive oceans, ice sheets and erupting volcanoes which made the red planet look eerily similar to Earth. In fact, many refer to Mars as the younger Earth.

Now, in a bizarre sight, the European Space Agency (ESA) has revealed strange ‘swirls’ located at the Martian north pole.

The new images were taken by their Mars Express and reveal like never before, the Red Planet’s north polar ice cap, and its incredibly weird-looking dark spiraling troughs like never before.

Must be aliens right?

Nope, in fact, according to the ESA, the giant troughs are caused by freezing and melting carbon dioxide, and they get their distinctive shapes by spiraling winds similar to tornadoes or hurricanes on our planet.

This fascinating view was generated from a staggering 32 different orbital ‘strips’ captured by the spacecraft in a six-year period between 2004 and 2010. The mosaic covers an area of around one million square kilometers.

Interestingly, the Martian ice cap is permanently there, however during winter season temperature fall drastically allowing up to 30 percent of the carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere to precipitate onto the cap.

However, when temperatures rise during warmer months, the carbon dioxide transforms into gas escaping into the atmosphere creating water-ice layers.

In addition to the above, strong winds play an important role in shaping the icecap over time. Wind originates from the elevated center moving towards lower edges, twisted by the same force that causes hurricanes to spiral on Earth.

Perspective view of Chasma Boreale

One of the most impressive features is a 500-kilometer-long, 2-kilometer-deep trench that almost cuts the ice cap into two.

Recently, NASA released over 600 images f the red planet showing off the beauty of Mars; gullies, dunes, craters, geological layering and other features that show how beautiful Mars really is.

Every single feature photographed on Mars teaches scientists something new about the red planet, once covered with oceans, ice sheets and an atmosphere eerily similar to that of Earth.

Mars is now a frozen desert, however, recent studies have shown that the red planet was warmer and wetter.

Mars also features the largest known volcano in the solar system which measures a staggering 24 kilometers in height: Olympus Mons.

Scientists say that billions of years ago the red planet was home to even larger volcanoes.

Images by ESA


Ivan is editor-in-chief at, he also writes for Universe Explorers.
You may have seen him appear on the Discovery and History Channel.

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  • mark slater

    I’d like to suggest the actual reason for this is magnetism. These swirls are made directly from the centripetal vortex made by the magnetics north pole, the vortex runs clockwise, we see a similar effect on the north of Saturn, but here it is seen in the geology. the shape compresses matter into a hexagon, but in geology its harder to see. its all magnetism, same for every plan et or moon, we see similar features based on the magnetic vortex of the north pole. Although the magnetics are weak they are constant and in the past would have been stronger. these swirls and made over the entire life span of the planet

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