Interesting Features to Mark

The project has only been running for one day, and you’re already finding interesting things in the images you’re classifying. We’d like you to help us study them more by marking them in the classification interface and in the Planet Four Talk discussion tool.

The majority of the fans and blotches that you mark will be completely dark. You may come across a fan that has bright blue or white streaks in it. Like these:




We believe that the bright stuff is carbon dioxide frost that has condensed from the gas coming out of the geyser and back onto the surface of the ice sheet. Observations have shown that the bright streaks are variable over time. Knowing where they are in the images will help us monitor them.

If you see a fan like those above, mark it with the fan tool as your normally would and but also mark it with the Interesting Feature tool. Please also highlight your discovery on our discussion tool (Planet Four Talk) by clicking on the Discuss button after submitting your classification and label the image with #frost.

The Interesting Feature drawing tool can be found below the Blotch drawing tool in the classification interface. (see the red arrows below in the screen shot).

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 2.24.53 PM

You may have also spotted bright roundish small blobs in the images where there are dark fans or dark blotches. Like these:


These are bright roundish features are boulders and we think in on region on the South Pole they may have some role in the formation of fans. If see an image like above or below:


Please also  mark these with an Interesting Feature Tool  after marking blotches and fans in the images and highlight the boulders on Planet Four Talk with #boulder

28 responses to “Interesting Features to Mark”

  1. fatty says :

    Having trouble signing in again …. the ‘classify’ section has a big black blank rather than a nice pic of Mars.

  2. fatty says :

    Oh this is now getting silly. It won’t let me not take the tutorial. If I click it off, the picture freezes and I can’t press continue and move on to the next picture. Do you want people to help you? PLEASE sort out the user interface of this blessed thing. I WANT TO HELP!!!!

  3. Meg says :

    We have a lot of people trying to get at once and the site may be struggling a bit. Our development team is working on the issues. Please bare with us.

  4. Driverlen says :

    Excellent TV programme.A few problems with the site but as you say its very busy. I’ll revisit later. Keep up the good work.

  5. chrislintott says :

    If you’re still having problems now then let us have your username, and what browser you’re using and we’ll take a look. Sorry for the problems…

  6. G&N Messenger says :

    it took a little time to get in, but working fine here now!

  7. Rob Z Tobor says :

    I find I start OK then after two or three images as soon as I try to mark a feature the image goes black and i have to give up. I am starting to think you dont like me

    • Meg says :

      Sorry you’re having problems with the site. We’re aware of the issue and our development team is working on a fix. Hopefully we’ll have this issue solved soon.

  8. PhilipGreenland says :

    Hi, I am using an ipad but Have difficulty placing the fans please add some instructions for ipad users as we use fingers not mouse.

  9. Greg Burke says :

    There’s an annoying bug with a workaround. If the image doesn’t fit within the page and you have to scroll down, when you click to create a fan/blotch in the lower part of the image, it immediately jumps to the top of the image. I found that zooming out in my browser makes the image fit with no scroll bar as a workaround. But it makes things a bit smaller to work with and would be better if the bug was fixed. Otherwise, great site guys!

    • Meg says :

      Thanks for the feedback. I’ll pass this on to our development team and hopefully we can fix this issue soon.

  10. solarsystemlover says :

    what is pluto classed as if it is not a planet and what is outer space like

  11. Alexandra Browne says :

    I’ve saved quite a lot to favourites but none are showing. I fortunately took a screenshot of a feature I really want to discuss, as I don’t trust IT, and just as well as it doesn’t look as if it’s registered. I’m using Chrome but have also had problems on Firefox and IE. Can anyone help?. Cheers,

    • Meg says :

      I believe there is a bug that we know about and we’ll be fixed it soon. Apologies for the inconvenience.

    • Meg says :

      thanks for reporting. We’re aware there’s an issue with the favorites. We’re working on fixing that and now that stargazing is over I’m sure we’ll get to that soon.

  12. Alexandra Browne says :

    Thanks Meg. Good luck!

  13. Ian Button says :

    Are the fans shadows of plumes? Can anyone show me a pic of that funny-looking red blobby stuff the BBC showed tonight?

  14. Ceri says :

    Hi Mark

    Please could you give us some more examples of what classifies as an ‘interesting feature’ – because we don’t want to overload your team with stuff that is not actually interesting – after all what might be interesting to us is only so, because unlike you, we are seeing these images for the first time and so everything looks fascinating – whereas you have all seen many before and actually know what you are looking at.



    • Ceri says :

      OPPS I meant Meg not Mark! Sorry Meg.

    • Meg says :

      If you see things like those in the blog post definitely mark them. If there’s something else you find strange to mark it. You can find more about the “regular” things we know about in that region of Mars like the “spider” channels and the things we want you mark with the fan and blotch tool on these pages below:


      • Ceri says :

        Hi Meg,

        Images of interesting things, to compare with would help many of us – I’ve seen some of these on the blogs – but did not know they were interesting.

        The easier you guys make it for us, the more pictorial guidance there is – the better the results you will be getting for us.

        During the tutorial or at the introduction stage would be a very helpful.

        Or a button that leads direct to images of “Interesting Things” would be even better. Having to scroll through a blog or go hunting through posts is not the best way.

        Onwards and upwards



  15. ed giles says :

    i have seen these images, some of the features can be impressive, others easily missed but it is probably the one that could of been missed that you require, it is amazing to think this is the surface of another planet, and simple folk like myself can help.

  16. Angus McDonald says :

    I wish you had put this particular blog or hints on the classify page. It is only by accident that I have read the blog. I wondered what the shiny dots were on the images I and my 10 year old daughter analysed, and have seen quite a few.

    We have also seen at least three images with the long blue plumes.

    We/I would have marked them as interesting had you put this guide on the Classify page. Also a little guide as to what we are looking at i.e. the spider shaped things, the dentric river stream type patterns, the bobbly almost featureless plains.

    We also came across some curious straight cracks, which we marked interesting. The only parallel I can give is of a series of straight drainage ditches. The lines are quite long, straight, and intersect, sometimes half a dozen.

  17. Angus McDonald says :

    Wotcha, guys.

    Had another oddity, which I believe we marked as interesting. I also opened a Science discussion on the image, but I have yet to figure where it went or how to follow any replies.

    Anyway, we came across an image that was green. My daughter liked it a lot.

    My first thought was copper (or malachite), but this was not knowing where on the red planet these images originated or that we were primarily looking at an ice sheet.

    However, the engineering part of me wondered if might also be due to a camera or processing glitch – I don’t know if the satellite has a true colour camera or is shooting three sets of images through coloured filters.

    In any case, is this oddity also something we mark as an interesting feature?

    This whole investigation is all rather apt, as it is due to snow here in blighty. My daughter will be able to classify more images tomorrow if her school is shut 🙂


  18. 4ndyC says :

    I’m having trouble too. As soon as I move on to the next image the screen goes black. I still have the tools but no image. This also happens when I draw a bad fan and then red cross it to delete the shape. I’m using Chrome. Good luck, I’ll check back later.

  19. Ian Birrell says :

    Hi folks,

    No problems working with a PC laptop on Windows7. iPad keeps crashing if you have to put multiple fans or blotches on in quick succession. May also be a numerical limit on the number of objects but haven’t tested this. After crashing you need to login again. Otherwise, great fun and absorbing. Not sure what the Stargazing live map shows with the wee Googlemap jellybaby guy in the top left corner. Do the flashing bits down the bottom show the areas of the Mars map that have been examined?

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