to help planetary scientists identify and measure features on the surface of Mars . . . the likes of which don’t exist on Earth. All of the images on this site depict the southern polar region, an area of Mars that we know little about, and the majority of which have never been seen by human eyes before!
The goal is
to find and mark ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ on the Martian surface. Scientists believe that these features indicate wind direction and speed. By tracking ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ over the course of several Martian years to see how they form, evolve, disappear and reform, we can help planetary scientists better understand Mars’ climate. We also hope to find out if these features form in the same spot each year and also learn how they change.
The images come from the NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, which has been circling the Red Planet since 2006 and sending back a continuous stream of images of the surface with its high resolution camera.
These timelapse images show a sequence of views of a spider terrain feature that’s initially covered with about a meter ice (upper left) until it is ice-free (lower right).