This challenge is brought to you by MRO’s High
Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera team in
collaboration with NASA Quest. The HiRISE camera, now orbiting
Mars onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, is helping NASA
to search for signs of past and present water on Mars. Understanding
the history of water on Mars helps scientists understand if there
is now or ever has been life on Mars.
Scientists have argued for water on Mars since
the first Viking images of Mars were returned nearly 30 years ago. Since
then, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey have collected more
images; now the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)
is using a camera attached to a very powerful telescope to look
down on the surface of Mars.
HiRISE is taking photos of Mars that are higher in resolution (~30cm/pixel),
showing more detail, than any previous images. Objects as small
as a meter across, approximately the size of a teacher’s desk,
can be seen in the HiRISE images. This allows HiRISE to find small
features like interior channels, streambed features, and layering. Since
the HiRISE camera is “zoomed in” to look at very small regions
of Mars, it will only be able to image about 2% of the surface of the
planet. Thus each image has to count!
You are challenged to help choose some regions of Mars for HiRISE to
image that probably contained water at the surface in the past. The
HiRISE team will pick several suggestions and image them with the camera
in the coming months. Your team will represent the first people
on Earth to see the resulting image and will have the chance to search
for signs of water in the image.
You can choose areas within a valley system or outflow channel (like
the source region or other interesting spot on the floor or walls) or
obtain a close-up of gullies imaged from past missions. You can
also choose to re-image an interesting site already seen in a HiRISE
image to look for any changes that may indicate present geologic activity.
To increase your chances of getting your image picked sooner rather
than later, here are a few tips:
- Don’t pick a dusty area. A
large fraction of the planet is covered in dust, and a lot of dust means
that the surface features are hidden.
- Don't pick a spot to the far north. We are coming out of Mars winter
in the northern hemisphere, and it is still too dark to take good images
far to the north. You can always put some suggestions of the northern
latitudes in, but we won't be able to take them this fall.
- Have a well thought out hypothesis for selecting this target location.
images can be taken at any given time, and the camera is restricted by
its orbital path and the time of year. In addition, HiRISE is one of
several instruments on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that also
need to collect data and are allocated part of the data downlink volume.
However, we will continue to release classroom suggested images on the
HiRISE website each week, so even if your target is not selected this
round, keep checking the website! You’ll also be able to see what
other school groups have suggested and help in the analysis of those
sites! We want all participating classes to analyze their favorite returned
HiRISE image, whether or not they actually suggested it, and submit a
report on their analysis.
See the calendar below for
planning purposes. Prepare for the Challenge with some background
references to learn about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Martian
terrain options. Grade-specific
Teacher's Guides and Student Activity Books, tutorials, and other helpful
information are available in .pdf format from the HiRISE
Learning and Activity Center. To browse the released HiRISE
images and for additional information about HiRISE, visit the main
HiRISE website at http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/hirise.
Now in Session!
Please note: After you have registered for the HiRISE Image Targeting
Challenge you will be receive an email giving you information on
how to access to the active website by registering
to HiWeb. HiWeb is the place where you will view images and submit
Begin preparation, understanding:
- What the Mars HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment)
- How is High Resolution photography going to affect what we
are able to see?
- What makes one site better than another in determining where
water/life may have existed in the past?
- Begin to form your
opinion of where you would like to look.
- Explore the Clickworkers to learn to recognize geologic features
images and help build image feature databases for the
To help you get started, we've created a page
to step you through the process. It links to a point-by-point tutorial on the use of
HiWeb. Only Registered Participants have access to the HiWeb
Guides and Activity Books are available online in .pdf format.)
See also links to other online resources for
The first student
image released to the public is now on the HiRise
The image is at http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_003637_2020
See also the
news article at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/research/2007/questhirise.html
the Spring 2007 Webcast
- Meet the team.
- Learn how to
become a pilot tester of HiWeb
- Learn how to use "HiWeb" site
to explore options and present your preference.
10 a.m. Pacific
1:00 p.m. Eastern
the archive of question/answer pairs from the chat scheduled
to help trouble shoot any problems you may be having with HiWeb
or questions you may have about picking a good target to image.
We will schedule one more chat before the October 5 deadline.
This webchat was for last minute
questions either about how to use HiWeb for recording your selection,
how to fine-tune your selection to better chance of being selected,
or any other topic that would help you with the HiRISE Image Targeting
Read the archive of question/answer
pairs from the chat scheduled to help trouble shoot any problems
you may be having with HiWeb or questions you may have about
picking a good target to image.
When you have formed an hypothesis
and are ready to request and support your selection of that site,
enter your information at the HiWeb site.
October through Mid-November
With the options that best coordinate
with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's course, images will be
taken of as many student suggested sites as is possible. As images
are available, they will be open to all registered participants
Tuesday, November 13
10 a.m.* Pacific
1:00 p.m.* Eastern
Download Power Point Slide for this Webcast
As image of student-suggested
sites are downloaded, it is time to participate in the fun of analyzing
these. You can pick any HiRISE image
to analyze, submit a brief report on
it and help write image captions.
This webcast is designed
to help you with this part of the challenge (review, analysis,
and captioning images). If you cannot make the hour of the webcast,
place your questions in the chat room early. We will archive the
webcast as soon as possible after the webcast.
review the images, our NASA experts will be preparing their
For easier viewing, the slides for this webcast will
be available for download.
How High Resolution enhances opinion forming?
Does High Resolution Imagery confirm or refute your hypothesis?
See attached form for submitting
your Challenge Written Report.
Student images are open
only to those who register until
the images have been officially released on the main
Present your analysis of the
images received. We will post images, reports and captions together
with the Mars experts' comments during the next several weeks.
Keep checking the HiRISE site for your submission.
Certificate will be available for participating students.