NASA who? Sixteen students in a 7th grade science class made a substantial contribution to our understanding of Mars.
The Evergreen Middle School students from Cottonwood, CA participated in a program headed by Arizona State University's Mars Education Program. As part of that course, they studied lava tubes and tried to find the most common locations of them on Mars.
Then they noticed a black spot with vertical sides on the Pavonis Mons volcano.
Glen Cushing is a US Geological Survey scientist and made a similar discovery in 2007. He told the class,"This pit is certainly new to us. And it is only the second one known to be associated with Pavonis Mons."
The middle school students' teacher, Dennis Mitchell, couldn't be more proud of his class. "The Mars Student Imaging Program is certainly one of the greatest educational programs ever developed. It gives the students a good understanding of the way research is conducted and how that research can be important for the scientific community. This has been a wonderful experience," he says.