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NASA wants you to hunt for polygon ridges on Mars

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NASA recently found an undocumented network of intersecting ridges on Mars that were imaged by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and in a bid to find more of these polygon ridges, the space agency is looking for citizen scientists who can lend a hand.

NASA carried out a new survey of polygon-forming ridges on Mars that were located in the Medusae Fossae region of the planet’s equator and other similar looking networks on the Red Planet. These patterns are called boxwork ridges as well and the unique thing about these is that they are blade-like walls are effectively lava flows in pre-existing fractures that solidified and remained intact by resisting erosion better than the material that surrounds them.

There have been multiple instances wherein Mars rovers have documented such ridges through close encounters. One such example is the polygon ridges documented by Mars rover Curiosity at ‘Garden City’. According to NASA these are veins deposited by mineral-laden groundwater moving through underground fissures, long before the erosion exposed the veins. There have been images captured by Curiosity of the ridges that likely originated as mud cracks.

According to NASA, some of the ridges located in the Nilosyrtis Mensae region of Northern Mars are likely to hold clues about ancient wet, possibly warm environments. However, more samples are required to be found and studied to come to a conclusion.

For this purpose, NASA is seeking public help through a citizen-science project using images of Mars from the Context Camera (CTX) on MRO. NASA is asking volunteers to search for more polygonal ridges so as to enable scientists at NASA improve their understanding about their relationship to other features on the planet as well as guide future observations with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera to reveal more details about the ridge networks.

The project has been named Planet Four: Ridges and began on January 17 on a platform released by Zooniverse. Check out ISS UFO video below:

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