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The InSight Blind Test: An Opportunity to Bring a Research Dataset into Teaching Programs

Abstract : On November 26, 2019, SEIS, the first broadband seismometer designed for the Martian environment (Lognonné et al., 2019) landed on Mars thanks to NASA’s InSight mission. On April 6, 2019 (sol 128), the InSight Science team detected the first historical “marsquake” (NASA news release). Before it was recorded, the InSight Science team developed the InSight Blind Test (hereafter IBT), which consists of a 12-month period of continuous waveform data combining realistic estimates of martian background seismic noise, 204 tectonic and 35 impact events (Clinton et al., 2017). This project was originally designed to prepare scientists for the arrival of real data from the upcoming InSight mission. This paper presents the work carried out by middle and high school students during this challenge. This project offered schools the opportunity to participate in and strengthen the link between secondary schools and universities. The IBT organizers accepted the approach to enable fourteen schools to take part in this scientific challenge. After a training process, each school analyzed the IBT dataset to contribute to the collaborative School Team catalog. The schools relied on a manual procedure combining analyses in time and frequency domains. At the end, a combined catalog was submitted as one of the IBT entries. The IBT organizers then assessed the catalog submitted by the consortium of schools together with the results from science teams (Van Driel et al., 2019). The schools achieved a total of 15 correct detections over a short time period. While this number may seem modest compared with the 239 synthetic marsquakes included in the IBT waveform data, these correct detections were entirely made during class time. All in all, the students seemed to be fully engaged, and this exercise seemed to increase their scientific inquiry skills in order to fulfill their task as a team.
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Contributor : Julien Balestra <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 9:13:30 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 1:34:13 PM



Julien Balestra, Jean-Luc Berenguer, Florence Bigot‐cormier, Françoise Courboulex, Lucie Rolland, et al.. The InSight Blind Test: An Opportunity to Bring a Research Dataset into Teaching Programs. Seismological Research Letters, Seismological Society of America, 2020, 91 (2A), pp.1064-1073. ⟨10.1785/0220190137⟩. ⟨hal-02461538⟩



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