What does this picture remind you of? Fresh tracks right? But this isn’t the Vallée Blanche the morning after a big dump. Nope, this photo was shot by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. That’s the surface of the red planet with what look like lines down a tasty powder field.
And that’s not all. One of the NASA boffins investigating this phenomenon has claimed she’s “looking forward to the day” when people “can snowboard down” slopes like this. Say what?!?NASA thinks snowboarding might be possible on Mars?!
Apparently so. And weirdly, if you watch the video they’ve produced about their research into the tracks, it’s maybe not quite as ridiculous as it might sound at first.
Here Serina Diniega (a planetary scientist from NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory) explains that the “powder field” is actually a sand dune. Their theory is that the “lines” are caused by blocks of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) slipping down the face of the dunes.
Looking at the tests, the evidence that these ice blocks would create lines down a dune seems pretty hard to refute. But their graphic reconstruction of an astronaut shredding the gnar is a little more questionable.
Isn’t it a bit of a leap to assume that because dry ice does this on earth, people may eventually be able to stand on similar blocks and ride them? On Mars?
Well, perhaps not. I mean the lines already there would certainly go someway to explaining where Travis Rice gets his otherworldly riding ability from. In fact, perhaps NASA have accidentally stumbled on the answer to the dude from The Art of Flight’s much-repeated question?
All I can say is that if NASA ever do send someone from their Mars program up to test out their theory for real, it should be Mohawk Guy. You know he’d be busting out the sickest methods right from the off.