Exploring Planet 4

 

Water_ice_clouds_hanging_above_Tharsis_PIA02653_black_background

by Olivia Teague 

Mars is a great planet to explore. I have always been personally interested in Mars because Mars is home to Olympus Mons the largest volcano on the planet that’s bigger than Mount Everest. I also like the dust devils on the surface of  Mars and Mars two moons Deimos and Phobos. One day Phobos will fly closer to the planet and will soon crash while Deimos will orbit further and further away!

Here at the Adler Planetarium, I am  an Astro-Journalist intern, where I am exploring Mars more closely through the wonders of citizen science. The thing that I am using is called the Zooniverse which is a website that lists  a lot  citizen science projects. Planet 4 is a project where people look at the surface of Mars to map out different features.  The different types of features that can be found on Mars’s surface are caused  by winds and the changing of  the seasons.

 The specific features people are looking for are either called “fans” or “blotches”.  During the Martian spring, the sun travels through a layer of dry ice and melts the stuff that’s underneath it. The melted stuff becomes a gas trapped under the ice, and so pressure builds up as more stuff is melted. Consequently the gas bursts through the layer of dry ice to the surface, taking dirt and dust with it. That dirt and dust land back on the surface as a “blotch”. If there is wind that blows the dirt and dust over into a paddle shape, it is called a “fan”.

The picture below shows fans on Mars. The picture is taken from Planet 4’s website and the white lines show how users mark the fans.

fans

The picture below shows example blotches on Mars. The picture is taken from Planet 4’s website and the white lines show how users mark the blotches.

blotch

After citizens classify a year worth of data, scientists are able to look at the wind patterns to see changes in Martian weather over that year.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s