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Spring 2008 HiRISE Image Suggestion Challenge
Think you have to be a scientist to contribute to cutting-edge Mars research? Think again!

HiRISE Image On March 4, 2008 at 10 a.m., Students can join in a live webchat to learn how to analyze the HiRISE images, submit reports on them and write image captions. NASA is looking for students to determine the next target for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera in NASA's search for water on Mars. Register for the Spring 2008 HiRISE Image Suggestion Challenge and you can help determine the next imaging site and search for water. A new challenge is beginning for the spring school semester.

In the coming weeks, the first of a series of student images from the first HiRISE Image Suggestion Challenge will be released to the public. Each student image was suggested and analyzed by students in classrooms around the world.

On Wednesday Sept. 19, 2007, the first student image, submitted by third grade students from Sunridge Elementary School in Phoenix, Ariz., was released on the HiRISE website. The image is of the valley system, Iberus Vallis, located on the southeast flank of the volcano, Elysium Mons in the northern lowlands of Mars.

Image left: 'Iberus Valles' in Mars' Elysium Planitia region, taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

+ View and download the Student Image

HiRISE, one of several instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), has been taking images of the Martian surface in search of evidence of water since November 2006. The camera takes pictures at a higher resolution, about 25 cm per pixel, than any other Martian explorer to date, allowing scientists to see details of the Martian surface as small as a meter across.

HiRISE is also known as 'The People’s Camera' because soon anyone, regardless of scientific background, will be able to help decide where to point the camera and analyze the resulting images, making a direct and significant contribution to the study of the Martian surface.

HiRISE camera during installation and testing Image right: Technician at Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp., Boulder, Colo., prepares the HiRISE camera before it is shipped for attachment to the spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Ball Aerospace .

Over the past six months, more than 6000 students participated in the HiRISE Image Suggestion Challenge. The students, in grades three to fourteen, hail from such diverse locales as Hungary, Nepal, Curaçao, India, Arizona, and New Jersey. Each class selected regions of Mars that may have once been covered in water, developed an argument for why these regions were particularly interesting, and suggested them to the HiRISE team as potential targets for the camera. Due to time and camera constraints, only twelve of the suggested regions were imaged in this first round, but all of the participating students were invited to analyze the resulting images for signs of water, and write image captions that will appear with the images when they are released to the public.

This challenge is brought to you by MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera team in collaboration with NASA Quest.

To learn more about how you can get involved or sign your class up for the spring session, visit:

To view HiRISE images, visit:

Lisa Grossman
Cornell University, Ithica, N.Y.

Virginia Gulick
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Jonas Dino
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.