Thursday, November 19, 2009

NASA Outsources Mars Exploration...

...just kidding (I think).

NASA and Microsoft recently launched a Web site where "Internet users can have fun while advancing their knowledge of Mars." The site, Be a Martian, allows you to participate as a citizen scientist and improve Martian maps, take part in research tasks (one task is counting craters) and assist Mars science teams studying data about the "Red Planet." One of the hoped-for outcomes is that the collaboration of thousands of "citizen scientists" would assist the real, NASA-employed scientists in producing better maps, for example. (Can I say that as a liberal arts major, with limited math/scientific skills, I might not be the citizen you want submitting data?) And of course, a Web site like this would inspire (hopefully current and future tax-payers) life-long learning and interest in the sciences, particularly space exploration.

To explore the Web site without actually signing up as a Martian, visit http://beamartian.jpl.nasa.gov/.

P.S. Check out NASA's Mars Images and Videos and their All About Mars features

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