CosmoQuest Press Room

New press releases will be added here on the day of their release. [box type=”shadow”]

Help NASA Asteroid Mission Choose Sample Site Using PSI’s CosmoQuest

May 22, 2019, Tucson, Ariz. — The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been at Bennu since Dec. 3, 2018, mapping the asteroid in detail, while the mission team searches for a sample collection site that is safe, conducive to sample collection, and worthy of closer study. One of the biggest challenges of this effort is that Bennu has an extremely rocky surface and each boulder presents a danger to the spacecraft’s safety as it touches down and grabs a sample. To expedite the sample selection process, PSI has been funded to develop a hazard map by flagging boulders identified by the public. This will be accomplished by the CosmoQuest program, developed and directed by Senior Scientist Pamela L. Gay, a pioneer of citizen science on the Web. You can help find the best place on asteroid Bennu to collect a sample for return to Earth for study by going to Bennu.cosmoquest.org and marking the locations of small rocks, boulders, and craters in high resolution images. In addition to finding safe places to grab a rock, your data will also help identify other scientifically interesting features on the asteroid. (more) [/box] [box type=”shadow”]

NASA Invites Public to Help Asteroid Mission Choose Sample Site

May 22, 2019: Citizen scientists assemble! NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to the asteroid Bennu needs extra pairs of eyes to help choose its sample collection site on the asteroid – and to help identify other scientifically interesting features. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been at Bennu since Dec. 3, 2018, mapping the asteroid in detail, while the mission team searches for a sample collection site that is safe, conducive to sample collection and worthy of closer study. One of the biggest challenges of this effort is that Bennu has an extremely rocky surface and each boulder presents a danger to the spacecraft’s safety. To expedite the sample selection process, the team welcomes citizen scientist volunteers to develop a hazard map by counting boulders. (more) [/box] [box type=”shadow”]

CosmoQuest releases Mappers 2.0 with a new look, new data, and new science

February 27, 2018: The CosmoQuest Citizen Science facility released a major update to its Mappers software. This software previously demonstrated that everyday people can map craters as effectively as a group of professionals. With version 2.0, CosmoQuest invites the public to use their skills to answer new science questions related to Mars and Mercury. The public can use their eyes, minds, and time to help determine the ages of valley systems on Mars and determine Mercury’s geologic past. These efforts are supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award numberNNX17AD20A. Mars Mappers and Mercury Mappers were produced through a collaboration of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Planetary Science Institute, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Southwest Research Institute. Images used are publicly available from the NASA MESSENGER and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter missions. (more) [/box] [box type=”shadow”]

Public Invited to Test New Tool to Study Earth using Photos Taken by International Space Station Astronauts 

September 28, 2017:  CosmoQuest’s Image Detective, a NASA-funded citizen science project, invites the public to identify Earth features in photographs taken by astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS). Citizen scientists are asked to help identify geographic features (natural or human-made) in astronaut photographs and then determine the location on Earth where the photo is centered. CosmoQuest is led by principal investigator Dr. Pamela L. Gay from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP). These efforts are supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award number NNX17AD20A.  Image Detective was produced through a collaboration of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at the NASA Johnson Space Center, the Planetary Science Institute, Youngstown State University, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. (more) [/box] [box type=”shadow”]

CosmoQuest receives $11.5 million to expand programs 

March 9, 2016:  NASA has awarded Southern Illinois University Edwardsville $11.5 million to expand its citizen science and educational activities through CosmoQuest, a second-generation citizen science facility. CosmoQuest Project Director Dr. Pamela Gay, assistant research professor in the SIUE STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Center, will lead the initiative as principal investigator. NASA’s cooperative agreement funds CosmoQuest team members at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, InsightSTEM, Interface Guru, Lawrence Hall of Science, Johnson Space Center, McREL International, the Planetary Science Institute, McDonald Observatory and Youngstown State University. (more) [/box] [box type=”shadow”]

The 2016 Leap Year in Podcasts 

January 5, 2015: As we prepare for 2016 and our eighth year of production, we seek to add more voices and more content to our community. We are open to audio submissions that address the science, science fiction and cultural stories of astronomy. We’re currently looking for content that is anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour in length! We’re looking for individuals, organizations, schools, companies, and clubs to sign-up for their audio spot on our calendar. Your voice can be heard alongside our regular series, including among others: Astronomy Cast, Cheap Astronomy, Awesome Astronomy, Alice’s AstroInfo, Ask A Spaceman, Globe at Night, Observing with Webb, Realspace, The Google Lunar XPrize Team Hangouts, Cultural Astronomy, Cosmic Perspective, Shaila’s Spacecast and The Weekly Space Hangout. (more) [/box] [box type=”shadow”]

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast Celebrates the International Year of Light 2015!

December 2, 2014: 2015 is an important year: UNESCO* has declared it the International Year of Light, and the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast will record its seventh year of daily content – content that focuses on light! This podcast is produced as part of the CosmoQuest virtual research facility through a collaboration with NUCLIO. (more) [/box] [box type=”shadow”]

Reliability of MoonMappers Confirmed

  • CosmoQuest’s MoonMappers shows everyday people can Map the Moon (SIUE) March 13, 2014: A team of scientists working with the CosmoQuest virtual research facility (CosmoQuest.org) has demonstrated that it is possible for everyday people to map the Moon with the same quality as a group of experienced professionals. These crowd-sourced results are being published in the journal Icarus and highlight the ability of citizen scientists to advance planetary research. (more)
  • CU-Bolder-led study on lunar crater counting shows crowdsourcing effective, accurate tool (CU-Boulder) March 13, 2014: If Galileo was still alive and kicking, he might want to take a selfie with some of the thousands of citizen scientists all around the world for their surprisingly accurate work of counting craters on the pock-marked moon. A new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder showed that as a group, volunteer counters who examined a particular patch of lunar real estate using NASA images did just as well in identifying individual craters as professional crater counters with five to 50 years of experience. And Galileo, who was observing the craters some 400 years ago with a rudimentary telescope, likely would be in awe. (more)
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XE.com helps CosmoQuest fill educational funding gaps left by federal cuts 

December 18, 2013: The CosmoQuest virtual research facility received an early New Year’s gift this year: XE.com, makers of the world’s favorite foreign exchange app and website, has sponsored the 2014 production of their online astronomy and science education videos. These videos provide public access to astronomy seminars, discussions, conferences, and even virtual star parties. This vast array of programming is collected together through the 365 Days of Astronomy Project. (more) [/box] [box type=”shadow”]

MoonMappers offers the public a chance to be part of NASA Lunar Science 

March 19, 2012: The MoonMappers citizen science project at CosmoQuest.org invites the public to become part of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s science team. Through this project, the public is invited to explore high-resolution Lunar images and map out scientifically interesting features. (more) [/box]