Planetary citizen science

Perhaps you’ve heard of a movement called “citizen science.” The term describes efforts that involve a collaboration among scientists and a team of amateur scientists who help them gather or evaluate data—otherwise known as anyone with an interest in science who isn’t getting paid for participating! More and more projects are receiving attention through the news and social media, and I’d like to highlight some opportunities on these pages to encourage others to get involved. This is also potentially a fun way to introduce children and teens to the process of science.

Two citizen science projects of the cosmic variety caught my eye over the past few days. The first one requests help from people with an eye for photography to process images from a camera called JunoCam, which is part of a NASA mission to explore Jupiter. An article from ScienceNews describes some of the context of the project and how everyday citizens are helping turn out remarkable images of our giant planetary neighbor:

Feel inspired? Check out the latest at the NASA website and start participating!

Jupiter’s south pole

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Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/John Landino

If Jupiter isn’t ambitious enough for you, consider helping find a new planet in our solar system. Dubbed “Planet 9,” this as-yet-undiscovered planet may be lurking outside the orbit of Neptune. Infrared waves given off by the possible planet, as well as by brown dwarfs and other objects, have been detected by NASA’s WISE telescope orbiting Earth. Scientists need your help to visually scan all these images and look for something unusual. Check out this news summary for more information: Then, head on over to the team’s Planet 9 website and get started!

Look me up when you’re famous for your discoveries…





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