Since 1998, scientists have speculated on what thousands of mysterious, black, spidery shapes covering Mars might be. In 2010, scientists were able to capture more detailed images from only 200 miles away and we have discovered that the strange Martian sand growths are none other than: a persistent mystery.
The black specs dot huge regions of the Martian expanse. They are sighted almost exclusively on the sunny side of ridges in the Martian deserts. The strangest part of this mystery is that the black growths appear every Martian spring, popping out of the sand from seemingly nowhere, and then disappear when Winter comes. 70% of the time they reappear in the same exact spot as the year before. They even seem to expand as the sun heats up the surface.
So, what the heck is growing all over the red planet and can we stuff our faces with it? We still have no idea. Some theories suggest that the sun is heating up an underground layer of CO2, which expands and bursts into the air like geysers on Earth, carrying basaltic sand and rocks in its wake. Other theories suggest that they may be photosynthetic microorganisms, sunbathing and warming themselves in the light of the Martian sun.
My guess is that they are Martian bears, foraging in spring and hibernating in winter. Cute, cuddly, deadly Martian bears.
Only time will tell. Time, and sweet, sweet technology.