2,339 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
Last week, NASA announced the release of a new game on the citizen science site Zooniverse, this time to identify space clouds and black holes.
It's the latest in the string of crowd-powered initiatives undertaken by the space agency.
The game, appropriately named Clouds, is part of the Milky Way Project, a series of citizen science projects meant to help researchers sort through the data they receive from a number of sources. For the most recent game, the images come from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory.
Clouds, like the other Zooniverse games, is fairly straightforward. Players look at an image and have to decide if it’s a “glowing cloud, a hole in the sky or something in-between.” They can change the color palette to better see the objects in the image and have a number of examples of black holes and glowing clouds to help them make a decision. (In the image above, black holes are on the right and clouds on the left.)
Players can also discuss an image once they’ve classified it to see what others thought. Presumably, they can’t see the discussion before making the decision so they’re not swayed by others’ potentially misleading opinions.
With enough participation, the space agency hopes, scientists will have a better understanding of our galaxy and its construction. So far, nearly 250,000 clouds have been identified.
NASA’s taken to crowdsourcing in a big way over the last few years. A few weeks ago, we covered the agency’s open call for suggestions on what its new website should feature. For that effort, NASA partnered with the platform IdeaScale, which has worked with several government agencies in the past.
NASA was also partly responsible for Planet Hunters, which helped citizen scientists to uncover a planet with four stars. And the space agency has even dabbled in crowdfunding, helping to fund an educational game about space exploration on Kickstarter.
For more on Zooniverse and citizen science, click here.