What Is This?

At first I thought this image was a tattoo under a powerful microscope. One near some feminine naughty bits. But no, there are no tattoos as weird and wonderful as what this image really is. Not on this planet, anyway.

These are Martian dust devils, running over the soil of the Red Planet. Taken by the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, they are responsible of marking its surface with strange, capricious shapes. According to NASA:

This portion of a recent high-resolution picture from the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows twisting dark trails criss-crossing light coloured terrain on the martian surface. Newly formed trails like these had presented researchers with a tantalising martian mystery but are now known to be the work of miniature wind vortices known to occur on the red planet - martian dust devils. Such spinning columns of rising air heated by the warm surface are also common in dry and desert areas on planet Earth.

In Mars, however, they can be up eight kilometres high. But why do they leave those marks? Easy: The wind picks up the red dust, leaving the dark sand beneath on its place. The Universe, my dear armchair cosmonauts, is a wondrous place. [NASA]