Archive | January 2023

Ho Ho Ho, Happy New Year! New paper! New data!

Hello beloved Planet Four Citizen Scientists!

This is Michael, reporting back after a long break of activity.

What happened in 2022? Anya and I were very busy with moving our family with our toddler son, dog, and cat back to Germany. We have finally settled into our new jobs here in Berlin and I finally had some time to prepare a new data set for our original Planet Four project!

Another good news is that another paper based on Planet Four results was accepted this year: Planet Four: A Neural Network’s search for polar spring-time fans on Mars, led by our Australian colleagues, Mark McDonnell and Eriita Jones, with Meg being the corresponding author. The paper investigates how a basic approach of machine-learning to our fan and blotch identification problem compares to the results of our citizen-science approach. And we can happily report that the citizen science approach fares very well and cannot be reached yet in its precision for getting the best out of the data.

However, what we can learn from the paper as well that there is quite some potential to make the work less boring and more efficient for citizen scientists, by using the machine-learning approach to filter out data that with large certainty does not contain anything of interest for marking. We are looking forward to implementing some of these approaches into our pipeline this year, so that we can churn through datasets more quickly, with your help!

The paper is published here and available for free here

About the new data: this time we are going for extending the time series coverage of some of our favourite regions of interest: Inca City, Giza, and Macclesfield. This data spans the mission years 5 to 8 for Macclesfield, and 7 to 8 for Inca City and Giza.

We sincerely hope that many of you can find your way back to us after such a long break and we wish you lots of fun in exploring more beautiful Martian landscapes.

Wishing you a healthy and successful 2023!

Michael, for the Planet Four team!