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  • Dona Watson

    Strange Mars Photo Includes Tantalizing 'Tree' Illusion, Credit: NASA/JPL/ University of Arizona.This new image of Mars taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows an optical illusion. What appears to be trees rising from the Martian surface are actually dark streaks of collapsed material running down sand dunes due to carbon dioxide frost evaporation. The image was released in Jan. 2010.

  • Dorothy Grosick

    This strange winter wonderland of dusty dunes, icy rivulets and dark outcrops lies 62 million miles away on Mars. And the 'trees,' pictured by a Nasa probe, are actually trails dislodged sand. Read more:

  • Kelly Kessler Ceramics

    Strange Places on Mars#5. This image looks remarkably like groves of trees growing among Martian dunes. But, the trees are an optical illusion. They are actually dark streaks of sediment on the downwind side of the dunes. They were created by escaping gas from the evaporating carbon dioxide ice below. The bottom of the ice melts into vapor and moves toward holes in the ice, carrying dark sediment along with it that is then deposited when the gas escapes.

  • Ayvur Peletier

    They might look like trees on Mars, but they're not. Groups of dark brown streaks have been photographed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on melting pinkish sand dunes covered with light frost. This image was taken near the North Pole of Mars (Apr 2008). At that time, dark sand on the interior of Martian sand dunes became more and more visible as the spring Sun melted the lighter carbon dioxide ice, near the top of a dune, dark sand may cascade down the dune leaving dark surface streaks

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