Clickworkers logo Mars Clickworkers About the Mars Pathfinder magnet experiment
Let me at 'em

One of the science investigations performed by the Mars Pathfinder lander was the magnetic properties experiment, which used magnets to collect magnetic dust particles from the air. (The results of the experiment are consistent water being present on the surface in the distant past.) The science team periodically took camera images of the magnets and eagerly examined the images to see whether dust was collecting. The magnetic properties team, who were from a university in Denmark, spotted dust right away in some of the earliest images, but it was so hard to see in the (unprocessed) images that the joke among the science team was that Danes must have superior eyesight, because the other scientists couldn't see anything on the magnets.

Now you can find out how well you can judge the relative thickness of dust on the magnets. You'll be given two images of one of the magnet arrays. Your task is to determine which one has a heavier accumulation of magnetic particles. To make it more interesting, you won't be told which one was taken later and is expected to have more particles.

This activity is just for fun, and also to serve as a proof-of-concept. The magnet team has already thoroughly analyzed the images from the magnets and published their results [Hviid et al, 1997].

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NASAAmes Research Center

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