The citizen science website Zooniverse has a new Mars project that you can help with from home! The Planet Four project asks you to examine photos like the one above in order to identify patterns that are caused by geysers of gas erupting through the southern polar ice cap on Mars. Your results will be combined with those from thousands of other volunteers to help build a more accurate picture of the wind patterns and other weather effects on Mars.
Like other Zooniverse projects, Planet Four lets you devote as much or as little time as you want … 5 minutes, 5 hours, whatever time you can give. Check out their request below and follow the link to start exploring Mars at home!
Dear Mars Explorers,
Today we are pleased to announce the launch of the new and improved Planet Four project on the Zooniverse platform. Come explore Mars and mark surface features in images taken by the HiRISE instrument on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter — visit planetfour.org to take part!
After the retirement of our previous project, and nearly a year of work by the project team on this reboot, we’re happy to present Planet Four 2.0. The new project keeps the familiar task of mapping seasonal fans and blotches on the South Polar regions of your favorite Red Planet. Springtime carbon dioxide jets forming on the thawing seasonal polar ice cap produce the dark fans and blotches visible in the images we ask you to map on the website. The shapes, sizes, and directions of the seasonal fans and blotches serve as probes of the Martian climate and as indicators of wind speeds and wind directions on Mars.
Thanks to all your classifications on the original Planet Four website, we now have two additional research papers in preparation. Planet Four 2.0 will build on these efforts.
We know there are pressing matters on Planet Earth right now, but if you need a break, come explore the Red Planet with Planet Four 2.0: planetfour.org or https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/mschwamb/planet-four.
Meg and the Planet Four Team
PS: Don’t forget you can keep up with the latest Planet Four news on Twitter, Facebook, and our blog.