Moon Zoo lets you view new high-resolution images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) and NASA wants the public to help in sorting through these many images to spot anything of interest that it should be focusing on.
“We need Web users around the world to help us interpret these stunning new images of the lunar surface,” said Chris Lintott of Oxford University and chair of the Citizen Science Alliance. “If you only spend five minutes on the site counting craters you’ll be making a valuable contribution to science and, who knows, you might run across a Russian spacecraft.”
“We hope to address key questions about the impact bombardment history of the moon and discover sites of geological interest that have never been seen before,” said Katherine Joy of the Lunar and Planetary Institute and a Moon Zoo science team member.
Once you sign up you can do a Crater Survey or Boulder Wars. The first involves marking craters and other areas of interest on the images NASA has taken, while Boulder Wars gives you two images and asks you to identify the one with the most boulders in.
TechEye tested these to see what they’re like. Boulder Wars got very boring very quickly, but the Crater Survey had some more lasting appeal. Of course, there’s only so many images of a barren crater-filled landscape you can view in a day before you have to simply close the website. It’s no wonder NASA is trying to get other people to do this work for them.
You can view a tutorial which shows the Crater Survey in action below: