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Cloudspotting on Mars Project Extended!

Image of clouds in the Mars atmosphere
Clouds and a dust storm on Mars captured by the MARCI instrument on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. How does dust influence cloud formation? (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

The forecast for the Cloudspotting on Mars project is cloudy. And that’s a good thing! The Cloudspotting on Mars citizen science project has received additional funding from NASA’s Mars Data Analysis Program to search for clouds in more Mars data.

So far, citizen scientists have been hard at work analyzing data from Mars Year 29 (Dec. 2007-Oct. 2009). Participants classified over 6000 images in just a few weeks—data from the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) onboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. A Mars year corresponds to 687 Earth days. It’s longer than an Earth year because it takes Mars longer to orbit the Sun.

The extension lets us study data spanning two more Mars years. That’s important because every year on Mars is different. The latest data from Mars Year 30 (Oct. 2009-Sep. 2011) and Mars Year 31 (Sep. 2011-Jul. 2013) span a time when Mars was less dusty than in previous years. Your assistance with this data will help reveal how dust and different environmental conditions affect cloud formation.

Help find exotic clouds high in the Martian atmosphere! Become a Martian Cloudspotter today.

NASA’s Citizen Science Program:
Learn about NASA citizen science projects
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