One of the hardest parts of being part of citizen science is trusting that it will work – trusting that the data provided by a great multitude of strangers will have sufficient quality that we can use these contributions to do science. I have spent the past many years of my life saying to other scientists, “Yes, you can trust the data.”
I have to admit though, I’m always scared until I have results in my hands that prove the data trustworthy.
I’m here to tell you today: CosmoQuest citizen Science – it works. It works for the Lunar data, and as of last night we know it works for Vesta data too.
Yesterday, programmer Cory Lehan pulled 20 random images from the database that had been marked by 15 people. He then sent the ones most littered with craters to scientist Jennifer Scully, who identified craters expertly. We also had scientist Stuart Robbins take the citizen science markings and process them from individual marks to summary crater maps, using software written by programmer Di Huang. These individual and summary marks were overlaid on the images by Cory.
The result? Those images’ summary crater maps, produced by a large and varied set of people, match the results of our expert.
We have now tested two projects and had two successes. Publications will becoming, but for me, this was enough to squee like a little kid given a puppy.
So many thanks to all of you who are here to learn and do science.