The Fast and Easy Image Suggestion Tutorial


If you want to suggest a target area on Mars for HiRISE, but you want to let the scientists decide on the "extras", like the time of year that the image is taken, you can use this tutorial to walk you through it.  If you have more time and want to use all of the advanced features of the Image Suggestion site, go here.  The fast and easy tutorial will take you through all of the basics you need to get started finding and suggesting areas on Mars for HiRISE to image. Now let's get started!


  1. When you open up the HiRISE Image Suggestion Facility Webpage (HiWeb), you will see a bright colorful map of Mars.  This map has been created using data from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), which is an instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor.  It shows the elevation of different areas of Mars. The very highest spots on the planet, the tops of the volcanoes of Tharsis and Olympus Mons, are white.  The lowest area, in Hellas Planitia, is a deep purple. (You also have the option of seeing maps created with other instruments, by selecting one from the top of the map.  Try looking at each of the maps.  You will find that different features are more or less clear using the various tools.)




  1. If you move your cursor around the map, you will see a box.  Find the box that surrounds the area in which you are interested and click on it. A new window like the one below will pop up with an MDIM surface image of the area.



  1. You can either click on the + and – to zoom in and out, or you can click on one of the options under "Map Scale".  If you use the plus and minus buttons, the percent zoom and resolution is shown to the right of the box.  You can move the image by either clicking on the arrow buttons, clicking on the image and holding the mouse button down as you drag it, or by dragging the red box in the map at the lower left to the area you want to look at. 



  1. Once you have found the area you are interested in, click on Suggest a HiRISE Image at the lower right.  This window will pop up: 





  1. In this window you will see your zoomed-in image of Mars and a series of buttons to the left. You can click on the button "View Suggestions" to see if anyone has already suggested the location you are interested in. These will appear as blue boxes or polygons. 


(Also on this page you can select different maps to view this region.  You may experiment with this if you like.  If you click on the "MOC/THEMIS" button at the upper left, it will allow to you see the more detailed images from MOC or THEMIS. You do not need to use this to suggest a site, but if you want to check it out, go here for more information.)



  1. Now you can select the area that you think should be imaged. Click "Suggest HiRISE Target".  If you are a new user, you will have to create a user name and password.  Do this by clicking the "Register" button at the right of the window that pops up and filling in the Registration Form. Once you are registered, login with your user name and password.



  1. Once you have logged in, this window will appear:



  1. Leave this window open, but return to the previous "Map Display/Suggestion" page to select the area you wish to image.  Under the button "Suggest HiRISE Target" you can choose either "image footprint" or "polygon".  It is easiest to select an image footprint.  Do this by clicking the image footprint button (see arrow below).  Image footprint will give you a parallelogram by clicking on the image and dragging the cursor or by simply clicking on the page.  If it is not in the correct place, you can drag this parallelogram to the area you wish to image. The web image below shows a selected area with an image footprint selected, outlined by the yellow and green box. To find out how to make a polygon, go here.  If you do not like the footprint or polygon you created, you can always cancel it by clicking the "Cancel Suggestion" button and trying again.




  1. The parameters will automatically be entered into the orange HiRISE suggestion form window under General parameters. 



  1. At the right side of the window is an area labeled "Your Priority".  If you are selecting a number of locations, chose which ones are the highest priority for you.  1 is low priority, and 5 is high.  Remember that not all of the suggested locations can be imaged, so chose your high priority locations carefully. 



  1. Next go to Science Justification, just below the general Parameters on the same window, and select a "Primary Science Theme". This allows you to chose the scientific area that best applies to the reason for your selection.  For example, if you think that the area you selected may be an interesting ancient river bed, you would select "Fluvial Processes". Alternatively, if you are looking at growth or recession of the polar caps, you may select "Glacial Geology" as your primary theme and "Climate Change" as your secondary theme.  This then tells us where this request should be sent.  Each science theme has a different scientist that will select the best suggestions to be imaged. Only a primary science theme selection is required.  Secondary science themes are optional. You may select as many secondary science themes as appropriate for your suggestion.


Here is a brief description of what each of these scientific areas cover.  Click on the term to go to a link with more information about the scientific theme. 

v    Climate Change: any features, deposits or landforms indicative of changing climatic regimes.

v    Eolian Processes: refers to features or processes involving wind erosion or deposition.  Examples include: dunes, wind streaks, dust devils.

v    Fluvial Processes: refers to surface and subsurface water flow processes involving the formation and subsequent development of channels, rivers or streams and the valley systems in which they flow or once flowed.  Water is critical for life as we know it, so the presence of water in streams or gullies on Mars suggests that there was water on the surface of Mars at one point.  Persistent surface and subsurface water flow could have potentially created habitable regions in the planet's past. 

v    Future Exploration/Landing Sites: Understanding past landing sites from orbit or to target areas of potential future landing sites for further study.

v    Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy: refers to the description, correlation, classification of stratigraphic layers and their depositional environments. Also refers to the geologic boundaries between two different layers, surface units, materials, or features.

v    Glacial Processes: refers to the landforms, features and materials produced by glacial or ice sheet activity. Examples include: moraines, eskers, kettles, kames.

v    Hydrothermal Processes: refers to processes involving hot ( or above ambient temperature) water at or near the surface.  Many hydrothermal areas have been heated by hot magma bodies beneath the surface of the planet, such as the hot springs in Yellowstone National Park on Earth.  There may have been significant hydrothermal activity near the volcanoes or impact craters on Mars in the past. 

v    Impact Processes: refers to the processes involved in meteorite impacts and the subsequent formation of impact craters and basins and related features to the surface of the planet. 

v    Landscape Evolution: different landforms and processes that affect the overall changes in a region's or landscape's shape and elevation over time. Many of the features on Mars look similar to those seen on Earth, but many are quite different.  Understanding the origin of the unusual features can tell us about the history of the planet.

v    Mass Wasting Processes: refers to the movement of sediment and rock material downslope by gravitational forces.  Downslope movement may be slow as in creep and solifluction or may be rapid as in landslides, rockfalls, rockslides and debris flows.

v    Periglacial Processes: refers to landforms or features that form at the margins of former and existing ice sheets and glaciers. Environments where frost action is important and induced by a periglacial climate beyond the margin of an ice sheet.  Such landforms include: pingos, polygons, and a variety of patterned ground.

v    Polar Geology: (detailed version) studies of the polar caps.  Understanding the polar caps on Mars can help us better understand past climate changes on Mars. 

v    Seasonal Processes: refers to any processes, landforms or features that change with the season.  Examples include: the sublimation of the polar ice caps, presence of seasonal frosts, landforms or features that change shape, color or are present with the season.

v    Sedimentary/Layering Processes: refers to the deposition or erosion of sediment layers in lakes or oceans, layers formed by deposition of ash from volcanic eruptions or layers from cyclic changes in the amount of dust in the atmosphere.

v    Surface Properties: refers to understanding the physical and chemical composition of the surface. For example: the nature and abundance of rocks on the surface and the materials that comprise the surface.

v    Tectonic Processes: refers to deformation of the planets surface into fractures, lineaments, grabens and faults caused compression, shearing or expansion of the planet's crust by volcanic, impact or sedimentary processes.

v    Volcanic Processes: (detailed version) refers to the processes involved in volcano formation and lava emplacement on the surface of the planet.  Much of Mars is covered in volcanic rocks, and ancient lava flows can be observed over much of the planet.  Volcanoes also greatly affect the atmosphere due to the eruption of gasses, and this could have had a large impact on past climate. 


(You can leave the rest of the parameters at the defaults and a scientist will select the appropriate parameters if the site is selected.  If you want to learn more about modifying the parameters, go to the Advanced Tutorial here.)



  1. Finally, when you have finished this, you can click "Submit" at the bottom of the window.  If any information is missing, you will be alerted.



  1. Thank you for suggesting a target!  When the image is taken you will be notified by email and will be able to view the collected images at a link provided at: .