Latest in Science

Image credit:

NASA wants your help hunting for asteroids

46 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

"Asteroid hunters." It sounds like some Hollywood blockbuster / straight-to-DVD "classic" that already exists, but now you, yes you, can be one... from your PC. NASA has launched a desktop app that recruits civilians to help identify asteroids from telescope photography, helped by a special asteroid algorithm. Scientists announced the desktop app at SXSW during in a panel discussion where they elaborated on how muggles citizen scientists were helping their efforts to identify and tag asteroids. The app is another collaboration between NASA and Planetary Resources. (It's apparently all under a Space Act agreement, which is the coolest act we've heard of in a while.)

The app is able to detect asteroids thanks to an algorithm that specifically sniffs out asteroids from images taken by Earth-based telescopes. Apparently the sheer volume of images being captured these days makes it impossible for astronomers to verify all detections by hand. Here, computers are doing the heavy lifting, filtering down to the images that warrant further investigation. "The beauty of such archives is that the data doesn't grow stale, and with novel approaches, techniques and algorithms, they can be harvested for new information. The participants of the Asteroid Data Hunter challenge did just that, probing observations of the night sky for new asteroids that might have slipped through the software cracks the first time the images were analyzed," said Jose Luis Galache of the Minor Planet Center.

Amateurs can even take their from their telescopes and analyze them with the application. The application can tell them whether a matching asteroid record already exists and can report new findings to the Minor Planet Center, which confirms and archives any new discoveries. You can start the hunt by downloading the program here.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
46 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The 2019 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2019 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
Jabra's Elite 75t true wireless earbuds are available now for $180

Jabra's Elite 75t true wireless earbuds are available now for $180

View
'Fortnite' star Ewok is the latest Twitch streamer to switch to Mixer

'Fortnite' star Ewok is the latest Twitch streamer to switch to Mixer

View
Wikipedia co-founder wants to give you an alternative to Facebook and Twitter

Wikipedia co-founder wants to give you an alternative to Facebook and Twitter

View
Google rolls out next-gen RCS texting to Android users in the US

Google rolls out next-gen RCS texting to Android users in the US

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr