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Morphology Analysis Project for Participatory Exploration and Research (MAPPER)

Morphology Analysis Project for Participatory Exploration and Research (MAPPER)

The Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP) launched a citizen science Web site called Morphology Analysis Project for Participatory Exploration and Research (MAPPER) in conjunction with the 2011 field season.
The PLRP has been investigating the underwater environment of Pavilion and Kelly Lake in British Columbia, Canada with DeepWorker submersible vehicles since 2008.

Now with MAPPER, citizen scientists can work side-by-side with NASA scientists to explore the bottom of these lakes from the perspective of a DeepWorker pilot. The PLRP team makes use of DeepWorker subs to explore and document freshwater carbonate formations known as microbialites that thrive in Pavilion and Kelly Lake. Many scientists believe that a better understanding of how and where these rare microbialite formations develop will lead to deeper insights into where signs of life may be found on Mars and beyond.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Margarita Marinova
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: NASA Ames Research Center
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    Sign up for an account on the MAPPER home page. After logging in, click "Tag Photos" to get started. After a quick tutorial and quiz, you'll be able to tag photos and help NASA learn more about where to look for life on Mars.

See more projects in FreeObservationAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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