First Planet Four: Terrains Science Paper Submitted

It is my great pleasure to announce that we have written up the first science results for Planet Four: Terrains in a science paper. After months of writing an analysis we have a final draft ready, and last night I  submitted it to the journal Icarus to be considered for their Mars Polar Science special issue.

Right now the manuscript is in the hands of the editor.  After some checks, the paper should be sent on to two anonymous reviewers. In what we call the peer review process, these reviewers are independent researchers in the field who read the paper, critique it, and provide feedback which the I will have a chance to respond to and make some or all the recommended revisions to the paper. This process can have a few rounds of iterations with the referee. Ultimately, the referees will recommend to editor of whether the paper  merits being published, and the editor makes the final decision.

So now we wait. The manuscript is in the hands of the editor at Icarus who is likely selecting and contacting possible referees. In a month or so we should get back the first round of reviews. I’ll keep you posted here on the blog. So stay tuned! This paper focuses on the distribution of spiders and swiss cheese terrain from the data on the site at launch. We’ve also included analysis of some of the HiRISE  observations taken of some of these new spider locations. I’ plan to write a fully summary of the paper results once the paper is hopefully accepted in a few months.

Thank you to all of you who have participated in Planet Four: Terrains. We could not have done this without you. We appreciate the time and effort you put into this project. Thank you for collaborating with us.

We also want to thank the Zooniverse team for giving the research team early access to their Project Builder platform to build and design Planet Four: Terrains.

Planet Four: Terrains is not finished. This is just the beginning. We’ve expanded out search more areas way from the South Pole. Many of those images are in need of review. So jump in and help explore Mars today at

6 responses to “First Planet Four: Terrains Science Paper Submitted”

  1. John Fairweather says :

    Well done Meg.
    Some years ago, when the first Galaxy Zoo paper came out, some GZ people found it difficult to understand the science/results and there were plans to produce an easy to understand paper – but I don’t think this was ever carried out.
    Perhaps your summary (as mentioned above) might be rather useful.

  2. Peter Jalowiczor says :

    Many congratulations, Meg!

    A central aspect of the paper is that it also reflects the Citizen Science contributions in some way (as you’ve acknowledged above) – which will encourage future participation even more.

  3. Michal Maňas says :

    Congratulations to the submitted paper. I would love to see the article in an open access and open content journal. I am not sure if there is an open content planetary science journal, but there are at least three open access planetary science journals. Good luck!

    • Meg says :


      The journal we submitted to allows open access for papers associated with Zooniverse projects. We will also post a pre-print version (aka basically not as prettily formatted as the journal version) on a pre-print server that is open access.



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