The Moon Zoo citizen science project: Preliminary results for the Apollo 17 landing site

Roberto Bugiolacchi, Steven Bamford, Paul Tar, Neil Thacker, Ian A. Crawford, Katherine H. Joy, Peter M. Grindrod, Chris Lintott

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    Abstract

    Moon Zoo is a citizen science project that utilises internet crowd-sourcing techniques. Moon Zoo users are asked to review high spatial resolution images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), onboard NASA's LRO spacecraft, and perform characterisation such as measuring impact crater sizes and identify morphological 'features of interest'. The tasks are designed to address issues in lunar science and to aid future exploration of the Moon. We have tested various methodologies and parameters therein to interrogate and reduce the Moon Zoo crater location and size dataset against a validated expert survey. We chose the Apollo 17 region as a test area since it offers a broad range of cratered terrains, including secondary-rich areas, older maria, and uplands. The assessment involved parallel testing in three key areas: (1) filtering of data to remove problematic mark-ups; (2) clustering methods of multiple notations per crater; and (3) derivation of alternative crater degradation indices, based on the statistical variability of multiple notations and the smoothness of local image structures. We compared different combinations of methods and parameters and assessed correlations between resulting crater summaries and the expert census. We derived the optimal data reduction steps and settings of the existing Moon Zoo crater data to agree with the expert census. Further, the regolith depth and crater degradation states derived from the data are also found to be in broad agreement with other estimates for the Apollo 17 region. Our study supports the validity of this citizen science project but also recommends improvements in key elements of the data acquisition planning and production.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalIcarus
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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