One of the most exciting developments to occur this weekend was the landing of the Phoenix Mars Lander. Landing on the northern pole region of Mars, amazing photos were sent back detailing unusual, yet familiar looking polygonal shapes in the polar landscape. Upon seeing these photos I didn’t need to read a word on the NASA Phoenix Lander web site about what I was seeing. From my trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge I knew exactly what these polygonal formations represented… permafrost or permafrost like conditions.
Below on the left is one of the first photos transmitted from the Phoenix Mars Lander and on the right is an aerial view of the Arctic Coastal Plain. The lifeless/waterless surface of the Mars polar region looks very similar in form to our very own northern polar region. This discovery once again showing another facet of how the mathematical and physical laws of nature repeat from micro to macro and from planet to planet.
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The presence of permafrost formations on Mars and Earth is but one of many fascinating instances of forms repeating throughout nature from the microscopic to the interstellar. A commonly repeated forms observed is the logarithmic spiral as seen below in Hurricane Isabel and M51 (photo by Brian Lula). This particular form is far more common than the polygonal permafrost formations, but all part of the mathematical uniformity stemming from the molecular structure of all things that compose matter in our universe.
Spiral by minipixel
The recent photos from Mars are not only a distant view to another planet, but a view to the common inner working of how our Universe is built. Nature truly is an amazing thing to study as well as take in visually.
[tags]Mars, NASA, Phoenix Mars Lander, permafrost, polygon, formation, landscape, photography, nature, shape[/tags]