NASA Wants Your Help to Find Asteroids

NASA looks towards citizen scientists to help them to find asteroids in space, as it is too time consuming for the organisation to do it alone.

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I’d like to know more about space, wouldn’t you? It’s a shame then that despite all of the many planets, stars and various bits of space junk floating about in our galaxy and beyond, our ability to discover these things is being hindered. In the last few years, the United States government has drastically slashed the budget of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) which has put a serious dent in their ability to go and explore space.

That may be one of the reasons why NASA has been turning to citizen scientists. Citizen scientists are regular old Joes and Janes like you and I who get to do some work for NASA without being paid for it. It sounds like a crummy deal when you put it like that, I know, but their latest project ‘Asteroid Data Hunter’ allows us to have a genuine impact on future space travel, and that seems like payment enough.

NASA explains:

“Protecting the Earth from the threat of asteroid impacts means first knowing where they are. NASA & Planetary Resources are harnessing the incredible potential of innovators, makers and citizen scientists by opening up the search. In an increasingly connected world, NASA recognizes the value of the public as a partner in addressing some of the country’s most pressing challenges. We need your help in identifying asteroids – and to help further this effort, we’ve built an application that enables everyone, everywhere, to help solve this global challenge.”

Asteroid Data Hunter works by getting a computer to identify where asteroids might be in a photo. It does this by using an algorithm (which was also developed by a citizen scientist) to look at the many photos that NASA has taken of space. All we have to do is point out where exactly in the photo the asteroids are and then this info “will be used on future spacecraft to identify asteroids to maximize the capability of missions in the future”. Our discoveries may even help NASA to protect the Earth from asteroids or the asteroids ay be mined for resources in future.

More info on how to sign up for Asteroid Data Hunter at the source link.

Source: Asteroid Data Hunter

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