Moon Mappers

Notice – This project is down for maintenance and will be back up soon!

We need your help mapping out craters on the moon so we can train computers to replace you (and us) doing the mapping someday in the future!

The moon is an awful big place, even if it does seem tiny next to our Earth. In fact, it has a surface area of 37.9 million square kilometers! Thanks to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), we have the images necessary to map out features only a few meters across. Unfortunately, software can’t do this mapping (yet) and we don’t have the human resources needed to map out the entire moon (and never will).

We need you to help us collect a diverse enough data set that we can train machine learning algorithms to find craters in different kinds of soils and other different lighting conditions. To make sure nothing is missed, we have overlaps, and each area is looked at using different magnifications. The images we show you are anywhere from ~0.5 square kilometers to 1 square kilometer. At an average of 2 minutes per image, it would take one person 1,442 years (without pausing!) to make it through these images. More realistically, if we wanted to map the moon in 10 years, we’d need 75,800 volunteers who put in 1000 hours per year to mapping the moon! That’s a lot to ask of anyone, and there are a lot of worlds out there to explore that aren’t the moon, so instead of relying on volunteers, we’re going to use your efforts to train algorithms, and speed up the process.

Will you help? Will you teach a machine to find the safe places to land and the scientifically interesting places to explore?