Very cool story at Space.com a couple days ago — a new Web site from NASA that asks visitors to look around at new high resolution images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The Moon Zoo Web site is available at http://www.moonzoo.org/.
Basically Moon Zoo is a crowdsourcing project; there’s a huge amount of moon surface imagery available and Moon Zoo wants to give you some basic training on recognizing moon features — craters, boulders, and so on — so you can review images and report anything interesting you see. There’s also the opportunity to see other things on the moon, including left-behind equipment and even astronaut footprints.
(This reminds me somewhat of the effort to find the late Steve Fossett’s plane after it crashed a few years ago; a Mechanical Turk task was set up that let people review imagery of the area where his plane was believed to have gone down.)
There’s a video and some tutorials that explain what you’re looking for and how the tools to find it work. There are two tools that you can use to help review the imagery. One of them is called “Crater Survey,” and you’re going through images and marking features you believe to be craters (or other interesting items you think a scientific team might want to see.) The other tool is called “Boulder Wars” and that one is just looking at two images and indicating which one has more boulders.
Obviously this site is not going to put the Nintendo Wii out of business, but this site is oddly addictive — what’s a crater, what’s a hill, what’s that weird thing over the corner, man look at that bizarre light pattern, and the next thing you know an hour has passed. And, hey, you’re helping review high res imagery of the moon. How cool is that?
While we’re here and talking about space, let me also mention a few sites that reader RS sent me that you might want to check out:
The NASA Historical Reference Collection — https://mira.hq.nasa.gov/history/ — Press releases, press kits, mission transcripts, etc.
NASA Technical Report Server — http://ntrs.nasa.gov — Exactly what it sounds like: NASA Technical Reports. There are at least 379,000 here because that’s how many my OR search for and, the, and NASA turned up.
JSC Oral History Project — http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/history/oral_histories/oral_histories.htm — Oral histories from the manned space flight program at NASA.