NASA Needs You To Play ‘Disk Detective’ And Search for New Planetary Nurseries.

NASA needs your help to discover embryonic planetary systems hidden among data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission through a new website,

Disk Detective is NASA’s largest crowdsourcing project.  Its goal is to produce publishable scientific results.  “Through Disk Detective, volunteers will help the astronomical community discover new planetary nurseries that will become future targets for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope,” said James Garvin (on the right), the chief scientist for NASA Goddard’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate.

WISE surveyed the entire sky twice at infrared wavelengths.  WISE measured more than 745 million objects.

Astronomers have searched the data for planet-forming environments and narrowed the field to about a half-million candidate. There may be thousands of solar systems in the WISE data, but the only way to know for sure is to inspect each one by eye.

So citizen sciences arise. Put on your Deerstalker hat and lend a hand.

Disk Detective incorporates images from WISE and other sky surveys in brief animations the website calls flip books. Volunteers view a flip book and classify the object based on simple criteria, such as whether the image is round or includes multiple objects. By collecting this information, astronomers will be able to assess which sources should be explored in greater detail, for example, to search for planets outside our solar system.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +


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