New Data on Planet Four

Over the past many months you’ve been reviewing Season 1 observations of areas nicknamed Macclesfield,  Giza, and Ithaca. We’ve now finished the current set of data live on the site. We’ve recently prepared and uploaded Season 4 observations of Giza, Ithaca, and Macclesfield so that we can see how the carbon dioxide jet and fan formation processes evolve over several Mars years in these areas.

Thanks for all of your help, we couldn’t do this without you. The clustering algorithm to combine all of your markings together is nearly finished. We’re making hopefully the last tweaks and improvements. This means that over the next six months to a year we’ll be able to compare the results from your classifications of these new images to Manhattan and Inca City, where we already have four Mars years of HiRISE images classified on Planet Four.

Dive into these new images today at http://www.planetfour.org

New Metadata Feature on Planet Four: Terrains Talk

The latest set of Planet Four: Terrains images comes with some added bonus features on Talk. Thanks to upgrades in the Zooniverse platform we can now display additional information with the metadata icon on Talk that won’t appear in the classification interface. So we can share the original parent CTX image name and a link to the image on Talk for your further investigations. We don’t show this information in the classification interface in order to keep the classifications free from any potential causes of bias.

So now when you classify, if you want to check out the full frame CTX image the subject is derived from, just click on the ‘Talk’ button after submitting your classification. This will bring you to the Talk Subject Page for this subject. Then if you click on the ‘i’ icon below the image,the metadata window will pop up (see below)

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 11.43.11 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 11.21.34 PM

!filename is the internal filename the Planet Four: Terrains used to name the subject when we generated it. !CTX_filename is the name of the full frame CTX image the subject comes from. !Public_CTX_link will take you to the MRO Context Camera Image Explorer where you can view the image (the link was working earlier to directly show the CTX image but isn’t working for me at the moment. If  you have any issues you can always copy and paste the CTX filename into the search box and that will bring up the image)

New Images Live on Planet Four: Terrains

Brand new images are now available on Planet Four: Terrains. Thanks to your help we finished all the live data on the site earlier this week. We have now uploaded new data, and we’re now expanding out to further distances away from the south pole to explore the frequency of spiders, baby spider, channel networks, swiss cheese terrain, and boulders.

These observations span latitudes of -70 to -90 N degrees as shown in the figure below. The red shows the outlines of the new CTX images loaded and ready on Planet Four: Terrains, the white is the original set on the site at launch, and the green areas are the locations/images reviewed on the site over the past several months. The new dataset is the only one so far on Planet Four: Terrains  that explores the -70 to -75 N degree latitude ring about the Martian south pole.

past_current_proposed_P4T copy

The science team is working on the first paper from the project based on the white set of images classified  (see above) on the site, and new regions of interest are scheduled to be imaged in higher resolution detail with the HiRISE camera. With more of the south pole surveyed with the classifications Planet Four: Terrains, who knows what we’ll find! Classify an image or two at http://terrains.planetfour.org

Mars Art

Inspired by the images of Swiss Cheese Terrain like these examples below shown on Planet Four: Terrains,  volunteer Albert Laubi (xflyer) made some visually stunning paintings using acrylic, oil, sand on canvas)and shared them on Talk.

swiss_sg

Swiss Cheese Terrain Examples on Planet Four: Terrains

Here’s some words  from Albert:

(Great) Natures forms seen through (excited) human eyes.
Stunned by the variety of shapings that emerge on Mars’ south pole and impressed by the brilliant achievements of scientists, which enables us to make visible things like that even on a far away planet, I got the idea to combine this into a series of pieces containing kinda triple artwork: nature, science and (my) personal perception.

Technically I arranged in Photoshop some parts of similar b/w Mars terrain pictures to a composition, extracted chosen areas for colorizing and texturizing, then put this different layers through all paces, till I had a balance, where I could say: Yeah, let’s paint it! The original size of each painting is 50cm x 50cm.

Check out Albert’s pieces below:

marchromo

Marsic Chromorph I-VI Image Credit:  Albert Laubi

Thank you Albert for sharing your work. If you have any Planet Four or Planet Four: Terrains inspired artwork or poetry, we’d love to share it. Post a link to your work in Planet Four Talk or Planet Four: Terrains Talk

 

Planet Four Poetry

Inspired by Lord Alfred Tennyson’s Locksley Hall, on Planet Four Talk  Pete (p.titchin) reflected on the arrival of Martian Southern Spring. We thought it was lovely and wanted to share with all of you. Thanks Pete:

In the Spring, the sunrise heralds changes on the Martian ice: In the Spring, a P4 classifier’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of —-SUBLIMATION!.

Add your own verses in the comments or on Talk.

Happy 1st Birthday Planet Four: Terrains

Today marks the first anniversary of the launch of the Zooniverse Project Builder Platform and with that today also marks the 1st birthday of Planet Four: Terrains. You can read the blog post by Zooniverse PI Chris Lintott from that day. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to create this project due to the capabilities offered with the new Zooniverse project builder. Planet Four: Terrains is truly a project we wouldn’t have created without it;  many thanks needs to go to the Zooniverse development team who created and continue to support and enhance the project builder.

When we launched Planet Four: Terrains, we really didn’t know what we were going to find. The science team thought the project would discover a few interesting areas with spiders to follow-up. An Earth year later, 10,000+ people have effectively moved a NASA spacecraft and decided where it will image! Now we have 20+ regions that were forwarded to the HiRISE team and ultimately selected to be imaged by the HiRISE camera. HiRISE aboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will examine the areas in more detail and for many see how they evolve with multiple observations spread over the coming Spring and Summer on the Martian South Pole. This is incredible! HiRISE has ~20x higher resolution than CTX subimages shown on the site, so we should get exquisite detail of the spider channels and any seasonal fans and blotches that form. Next week marks the official start of Spring and the return  of the Sun to the South Pole of Mars. As the lighting improves with the ever increasing sunlight, the first HiRISE images from these new targets should start coming in soon, we hope. Stay tuned to this space for updates!

Thank for your time and effort on Planet Four: Terrains. We couldn’t do this without you. As our way of saying thank you, we’ve created a collection of all the subject images selected for high spatial resolution HiRISE imaging. You can peruse it here. With any luck in a few weeks, we’ll be able to share some of the first HiRISE images of these areas from this Mars Year’s seasonal monitoring campaign.

Help celebrate Planet Four: Terrains’ first birthday today by classifying images today at http://terrains.planetfour.org

5 Million Classifications

Today we have a post by Dr. Candice (Candy) Hansen, principal investigator (PI) of Planet Four and Planet Four: Terrains. Dr. Hansen also serves as the Deputy Principal Investigator for HiRISE (the camera providing the images of spiders, fans, and blotches seen on the site). She is also a Co-Investigator on the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph on the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn. Additionally she is a  member of the science team for the Juno mission to Jupiter. Dr. Hansen is responsible for the development and operation of  JunoCam, an outreach camera that will involve the public in planning images of Jupiter.

Five MILLION Planet Four classifications!  We have 4 people on our P4 science team – I cannot even begin to calculate how long it would have taken us to do the work that you, our fabulous volunteers, have done.  Because of your contributions we are analyzing all this data, getting results, rather than still doing the measurements on individual HiRISE images.

Just the other day one of my colleagues and I were discussing our early efforts to automate the identification and sizing of fans.  We were at the time perplexed by how to train the code to recognize the same fan when the contrast had changed, recognizing that fans could come from the same source yet point in different directions, what to do when a hazy atmosphere lowered the contrast of all the fans in the scene and so on.  The human eye-brain connection is so incredibly powerful that we overcome these challenges without even realizing that we have faced a puzzle!

And in the process of helping us I have also realized that you have built a community.  We all are now members of the P4 science team.  With that in mind I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful contributions of our moderators, and how the interplay between Meg, the moderators, and all of the rest of us has lent a joyful note to the whole undertaking.  To the Talk community and all Planet Four volunteers , you might have been alone when we passed the 5 million mark, but all of us are celebrating together around the world!

HiRISE Targets

We started Planet Four: Terrains with the main goal of finding new regions to study during the upcoming seasonal processes HiRISE campaign. The idea was to have people scour low resolution Context Camera (CTX) images for terrains indicative of sculpting during the seasonal processes  produced by never-ending cycle of  carbon dioxide ice being deposited on the surface in the winter and that ice sublimating in the spring and summer. We would then  select a portion of those areas for further study with high-resolution imaging with HIRISE. With the varied textures of the Martian surface it would be difficult for a machine to do this task, but the human brain is well suited to this task.

We launched Planet Four: Terrains at the end of June as part of the launch of the Zooniverse’s new citizen science platform and project builder portal. Planet Four: Terrains had little less than a year to review 90 full frame CTX images divided into 20,122 subimages or subjects as their known on the website. With your help, the project was able to get through all 20,122 subjects in time, and even put in more images. Thanks to your classifications and Talk discussions, the science team was able to come up with a list of images and locations for further study. We aim to have the HiRSE camera point at these locations and snap images. Some of these locations will be monitored throughout the Southern spring and summer. Right now these locations have been entered in the HiRISE target database. This means that Planet Four: Terrains has successfully achieved one of its prime goals!

685d7f5d-4698-4a3c-b258-e3a400a2b510

One of the new targets of interest found by Planet Four: Terrains that will monitored by HiRISE during the spring and summer on the south pole of Mars starting in the coming months. This subject was classified as part of the second set of CTX images classified on Planet Four: Terrains  Discovery details

Now, Candy Hansen, PI of the project and head of the seasonal processes campaign with HiRISE, will prioritize our  targets with the rest of the regions that the HiRISE team wants to study. The first of these should with any luck get images in the next few months. We’ll keep you updated here on the blog.The final  list of targets from Planet Four: Terrains is  a mix of locations found on Talk and through the classification interface.  We’ll have more details as we get closer to the start of Southern spring (July 5th), but we wanted to share one of the new locales,spotted thanks to the volunteer contributions on Planet Four: Terrains, that will be imaged by HiRISE. This specific region shown above was highlighted on Talk.  It was noticed by the science team, and  we agree it is an interesting area to look at how spiders develop. We’re interested to see how the seasonal fans and blotches over the coming Martian Southern spring and summer. We’re currently planning a sequence of images at this location. CTX has a resolution of 6-8 meters per pixel. HiRISE has a resolution of 30 centimeters per pixel, so we’ll get to see a lot more detail particularly in the structure of the spider channels than what’s current visible in the CTX image above.

This isn’t the end of the project, we’re really just getting stared.  Because of your classifications, we’ve found spiders in interesting and potentially unexpected regions so we’ve decided to keep the project going with new locations to review. Help today at http://terrains.planetfour.org

Footprints of the HiRISE observations

I’ve been learning to use JMARS  (Java Mission-planning and Analysis for Remote Sensing) to plot the coverage of the CTX images for Planet Four: Terrains. JMARS is a really nice tool for overlaying observation footprints and different maps and datasets on top of each other for Mars and other planets.

I decided to take a look at what the HiRISE Season 2 and Season 3 observations, that the science team is currently working on writing up, look like on a map of the South Pole when you plot their physical coverage on the pole . You can really see the overlap and what a small area that HiRISE covers compared to CTX.

Here’s the footprint  HiRISE observations for Seasons 2 and 3 outlined in red on the elevation and topography map of the Martian south pole (latitude and longitude lines are in 10 degree intervals).

HiRISE_season23

Here’s a zoom in on one of our favorite regions, Inca City. You can really see the repeat coverage outlined in white in this case.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.16.25 AM

Here’s another zoom in of a different area, where you can see multiple seasonal targets outlined in red:

HiRISE_repeat_coverage

 

For comparison here’s the footprints of the first set CTX images  (latitude and longitude lines are in 10 degree intervals). The colors represent geologic units, but for this comparison we’re focusing on spatial distribution and coverage.

south_pole_mola_geology_with_pointings copy

 

More Examples of Baby Spiders

I’ve been looking at the results of my pipeline to combine the many classifications we get for each Planet Four: Terrains subject (CTX subimage) and also the subjects you’ve marked with Talk hashtags in preparation for picking a list of final targets for the HiRISE seasonal campaign. I thought I would share with you some great examples of images with baby spiders that I  found. If you’re having a hard time identifying spiders from baby spiders or a channel network, here’s some advice from our site guide:

  • Legs longer than the size of the center pit: It’s a spider
  • Only a pit or has tiny legs shorter than the size of the center pit: It’s a baby spider
  • No discernible pit and no centralized pattern but more grid or network like: It is a channel network

Gallery of Subjects With Baby Spiders – click an image below to get the slide show – Enjoy!