Let’s be honest: many of us dreamed of collaborating one day with those smart guys from NASA, and now the space agency gives us that chance. The Zooniverse citizen science web portal now has a new crowdsourcing project that allows anybody to lend NASA a hand in finding clouds on Mars.
The new project is known as Cloudspotting on Mars. There are numerous photos there to look through, so many that even NASA scientists have trouble analyzing them all. But if you participate, your job will be to look through those photos that were made over the course of 16 years by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of NASA.
The atmosphere of Mars remains a mystery
NASA itself made the big announcement of its Cloudspotting on Mars project via the space agency’s official website, where a statement says:
NASA scientists hope to solve a fundamental mystery about Mars’ atmosphere, and you can help. They’ve organized a project called Cloudspotting on Mars that invites the public to identify Martian clouds using the citizen science platform Zooniverse. The information may help researchers figure out why the planet’s atmosphere is just 1% as dense as Earth’s even though ample evidence suggests the planet used to have a much thicker atmosphere.
If you think you have what it takes to help NASA, you’ll just have to start your contribution by signing up via the Zooniverse platform.
An interesting fact about Mars is that the planet doesn’t have a protective shield such as Earth does to keep cosmic radiation from hurtling in. That may even be the reason why there is no sign of life at the surface of the Red Planet, according to recent research – it could exist under the Martian soil instead.
There is still a lot to learn about Mars even nowadays when space agencies seem closer than ever to sending the first astronauts to the planet’s surface.