Clickworkers logo Mars Clickworkers Mars age map

One science product that can be produced directly from all your clicks is a map of the geologic ages of different regions of Mars. Since crater bombardment is assumed to be constant, the longer it has been since a region has had water washing over it (or lava, or sand dunes, or a big recent impact, etc.) to resurface it, the more craters it has had time to accumulate. (By the way: Earth and its moon receive the same steady bombardment as Mars, but Earth has very few craters. Think about why that is.)

Below, you can compare the product that was produced purely from the inputs of volunteer clickworkers to the product produced the same way from a catalog created by scientist. There are two ways to make such a map:

  1. Purely from crater counts, by dividing the map into a grid pattern. This produces a very fuzzy map, because each grid square will cut through several unrelated geologic units (say, a valley running through some mountains and then through some plains). If the grid is made finer, there aren’t enough craters in each square to produce a good sample.
  2. From crater counts plus a geologic map made by scientists, as a separate effort from crater counting.Each type of terrain (the map we used has 45, plus 15 more that don’t occur in the 30N-30S range of this site. In this method, we compute the craters per square kilometer of each of the 45 types of terrain.

In all these maps, red=heavily cratered (old), green=medium, violet=lightly cratered (young).

The map currently being displayed was made from by counting the craters in each and is shown an image of Mars behind it.

The main advantage of clickworker-produced products is that it can be done rapidly by many volunteers working in parallel. The clickworker products above were generated from a little over one year’s work -- only a little faster than one graduate student might have done it. But there have been times when all of Mars could have been examined in one week. Below, you can see a product produced in one particularly busy day, one particularly busy week, and about one year:

This map was made from clickworker inputs over a period of and is shown an image of Mars behind it.
PeriodDates# clickworkerswork hours# sessions# crater entries
One dayMay 22, 20014582006,438 24,646
One weekMay 22-28, 200113651,00031,992122,227
One yearNov. 17, 2000 - Jan. 3, 2002as many as 101,00014,000612,8322,378,820

NASAAmes Research Center

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