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Planet Four is crowdsourcing help from web users to find out more about Mars.

Those without sufficient scientific knowledge to work in astronomy have still been able to explore space with the ArduSat, an open source satellite. Now, Planet Four is crowdsourcing help from web users to find out more about Mars. Part of the Zooniverse project, the site hosts a collection of images taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite currently circling the planet. In order to help scientists learn more about weather conditions on Mars, the project is encouraging visitors to the site to identify fans and blotches in the images. Given the scale of the project and the complexity of the images, the work is too much for small groups of scientists to deal with or computers to process. Users get credited for their activity, while a discussion board enables space enthusiasts to discuss some of the more interesting images that crop up both with fellow amateurs and scientists working on the project. Planet Four uses crowdsourcing to speed up the process of space research while benefitting from the input of multiple users’ theories and suggestions. How else can research be turned into a more open and collaborative experience? Spotted by: Murray Orange



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