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What CosmoQuest Does

Photos – everyone has them waiting to be sorted, either tucked away in boxes or stored electronically on a hard drive somewhere. And NASA’s scientists are no different – only instead of megabytes of data, they have not just terabytes, but petabytes (and more!) of images, all waiting to be triaged so that the most promising and useful photos can be further studied by scientists.

This is where CosmoQuest – and you – can help.

CosmoQuest designs Citizen Science projects using a proven framework with an easy-to-use, online science interface and user training, and supports your science engagement through acommunity forum, webinars, and online classes. And the best part? Anyone with an interest can participate! No specialized scientific knowledge is required. No dedicated time commitment is demanded. And you can have fun while knowing that you are contributing to actual science.

So What Exactly is Citizen Science?
The world is filled with individuals who want to use their spare time to contribute to something extraordinary – individuals who love astronomy and space, but who are not scientists. Citizen Science projects match individuals who want to do science with projects that need their help.

So easy, a five-year-old can do it!

So easy, a five-year-old can do it!

Through our Mapper projects, you can help us map the surfaces of rocky worlds scattered throughout our Solar System. Through your efforts, we extend our understanding of these worlds’ histories and geophysics. With our Investigator projects, explore the space between planets, and observe the storms on other worlds. Along the way you may discover Kuiper Belt Objects, watch moons orbit, or even notice an asteroid flash through the inner Solar System.

Example Data from Moon Mappers

It’s as easy as drawing a circle.

What is Mapping?
Many of our projects involve “mapping” craters in images. We have projects for the Moon, Mars, Mercury, and the asteroid Vesta. What does mapping involve? We show you an image, and you use a simple tool to draw a circle the size of the crater on top of our image. There are often multiple craters, craters inside craters, or craters with worn down edges, but our tools let you do your best marking these objects. We show these images to many citizen scientists, so that over time we get a consensus of the craters’ sizes and locations. This information is then used by team scientists who are working to understand the history of these worlds, and to define how best to explore these worlds with future spacecraft.

To learn more about getting involved, click over to our “Quick Start Guide.”

For Scientists
Have you ever found yourself saying, “I just need help to do…” as you mulled over a very repetitive task that needed to be done for the sake of science? Many of today’s science projects start with the task of someone (or many someones!) needing either to obtain large amounts of data or to analyze large amounts of data in a way that can’t be automated. By engaging volunteers, more science can be done faster with lower costs, allowing you to explore our universe. Your research problem can become their chance to contribute to science – your science. We are looking to partner with research teams with problems requiring image annotation, tagging, or mapping tasks. We can often launch a new project in as few as eight weeks, and will provide your citizen scientists the training needed to help you make great discoveries.

Comparison of Expert & CQ crater marks for Vesta

Comparison of Expert & CQ crater marks for Vesta show that crowd-sourced citizen science efforts are quite accurate.