Want to See Mars Up Close and Personal? | Learn Astronomy HQ

Want to See Mars Up Close and Personal?

Spider appearance on Mars

Do you sometimes get frustrated with observing Mars? The tiny red disk gives hints of dark patches and ice caps but can be a real challenge to see any more than a small red disk. Planet Four is a website for citizen scientists to be able to see the surface of Mars up close and personal.

Artist's rendition of HiRISE.

Hirise at mars

The project is for people to mark the position of fans and blotches evident on the surface of the red planet (its very easy to do). This will hopefully help the scientists to understand the weather patterns on Mars a bit better.

The fun part is that the images come from the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This camera is high definition. Each pixel on the image is about a foot in length. This means you can see things under a meter in length. There are so many of these images that the scientists need us to look at them. Many of the images of the surface of Mars you see will never have been seen by another human before. You may even make an important discovery.

Here are some of the more interesting images I found whilst mapping the surface. What do you think they represent? leave a comment below.

Strange feature on Mars

What could be causing the stark 90 degree colour change in the surface here?

polyp on Mars.

A strange looking polypoidal structure.

Unusual Mars feature

This one looks like cells growing on a substrate. Obviously each one of these is much bigger though.

parallel line on Mars

I like the parallel lines on this one.

Mars boulders

You can see the boulders laying around on the surface on this one.

All the images are from the Planetfour.org website taken from the HiRISE camera.

The project is being featured on the BBC Stargazing Live Show. If you want to join in you can visit the website here:


Give it a go and maybe you'll find something truly ground breaking!

Related Posts: Full length, Observing

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