NASA wants to help you explore Mars from the comfort of your home. Here’s what you have to do

If you are a fan of astronomy, and at the same time a fan of the sofa in your home, then you should take the opportunity to help NASA in this remote cloud positioning project in cooperation with the Zooniverse platform.

The project is called Cloudspotting on Mars and will provide 16 years of images collected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to all members. In infrared images, taken by the Mars Climate Instrument, the clouds appear as arcs. But until now, scientists have had to carefully examine the images for these features.

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“The team needs help sifting through that Zooniverse data, and marking the arcs so that scientists can study where they are in the atmosphere more efficiently,” JPL officials wrote.

The goal is to help researchers understand why the planet’s atmosphere is only 1% denser than Earth’s, even though there is ample evidence to suggest that the planet’s atmosphere was much denser.

“We want to learn what stimulates cloud formation, especially glacial water clouds, which can teach us how much water vapor is rising in the atmosphere — and during which seasons,” said Marek Slepsky, a researcher on the project.

It would be like lying in the desert of Mars and watching the clouds (almost).

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