Goodbye Inca City, Onward to Manhattan

Thanks to your help, the Inca City images we’ve been showing on the site for the past several months are complete, and we’re now back in the region known as Manhattan. We’ve been to Manhattan before, but that was during a different Martian year. HiRISE has been in orbit around Mars for almost 10 Earth years which equates to roughly 5 Martian years.  We’re showing new never-before-seen images on the Planet Four website right now. These observations are taken from HiRISE’s 4th Martian spring imaging the development of the windblown fans.

By examining the same region over and over again during different Spring seasons, we can study how this process of forming fans and geysers is evolving over time and how properties like topography, thermal inertia of the soil, presence of different types of spider channels, and changes in the Martian atmosphere impact the properties of the seasonal ice sheet and thus the formation and evolution of the seasonal fans (and by proxy the geysers that form them). In addition, the fan directions and lengths, as well as the presence of blotches, are an excellent probe of wind direction and strength throughout the Martian Spring. With your classification we will be able to see if the winds repeat the same each season or change direction.

For the rest of the South Pole we only have observations from Season 2 and Season 3 classified. With the completion of the previous set of Inca City images, we now have four seasons of fan formation mapping in Inca City. The extra two seasons doubles the temporal baseline we have on Inca City to look for changes and evolution in the fan formation process. The classifications you make now will help us have the same kind of dataset for Manhattan. Having fan and blotch maps for two regions with different topography and locations on the Martian South Pole will help us tease out which effects are due to local conditions and which ones are due to to the changes in the Martian climate (like more dust in the ice sheet).

Help classify the new images of Manhattan at http://www.planetfour.org

PS.  If you haven’t tried out Planet Four: Craters, do take a look and classify an image or two. Your classifications and feedback will help improve  the design of future Zooniverse projects.

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