October 7, 2022
Citizen scientists help map Mars to unravel a new mystery

Citizen scientists help map Mars to unravel a new mystery

Mars has networks of unusual ridges at Jezero Crater and there is a community of citizen scientists helping to map the area, helping to reveal its origin and characteristics, in order to come up with new answers about the Red Planet. The hole was chosen for exploration in NASA’s latest mission and is where the robot “resides” perseverance And a small helicopter clevernessThat helped collect thousands of photographs and other data.

The formation of these bulges in the crater remains a mystery since they were found using images recorded by probes orbiting Mars. This phenomenon was studied by a team of researchers who considered, in an article recently published in the specialized journal Icarus, that there are three steps involved in creating the slopes, including polygonal fracture formation, fracture filling and erosion.

Tilal Tech

Example of a polygonal edge grid showing intersecting edges about 10 m thick comprising an irregular polygon with a length of 100 – 200 m

Credits: NASA / JPL / MSSS / Caltech Murray Lab / Esri

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Example of a polygonal edge grid showing intersecting edges about 10 m thick comprising an irregular polygon with a length of 100 – 200 m Credits: NASA / JPL / MSSS / Caltech Murray Lab / Esri

To learn more about the summits, the team combined data from the THEMIS camera, the Mars Odyssey satellite, and the CTX and HiRISE instruments on Mars Reconnaissance, both of which are from NASA’s spacecraft. Then the scientists turned to the platform Animal WorldOver 14,000 amateur astronomers joined the group to aid in the investigations.

The analysis focused on the Jezero Crater, and with the help of the community, it was possible to map the distribution of 952 polygonal ridges in an area representing about 20% of the surface of Mars.

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Polygonal ridge network map (black dots)

Credits: NASA/JPL/GSFC

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Polygonal ridge network map (black dots) Credits: NASA/JPL/GSFC

The majority of the networks (91% or 864 of 952) analyzed are located in ancient and eroded terrains about 4 billion years old. During this period, it is believed that Mars was much warmer and wetter, which may be the reason for the formation of cliffs.

Previous analysis in this region showed that outcrops that were not covered by layers of dust have spectral imprints of clay, and since clay originates in the presence of moisture, it is assumed that the edges were formed by the action of groundwater.

Although the heavy dust in these areas makes it difficult to ascertain whether the newly mapped ridge networks also contain clay, similarities in shape and size suggest that they may have formed from similar groundwater processes.

The current discovery is helping scientists “track” the footprints of groundwater that crossed the ancient surface of Mars and determine where liquid water flowed on Mars 4 billion years ago.

The team of scientists led by Aditya Kholer, She hopes to be able to map the entire planet Mars with the help of citizen scientists. “If we’re lucky, the Perseverance Wagon may be able to confirm these results, but the closest set of cliffs are a few kilometers away, which means they can only be visited on a potentially long mission,” he added.