Nowadays, it’s possible to become not just a participant in scientific studies, but one of the researchers. The internet and crowd-sharing knowledge has made this possible.
We are now swimming in data, so rather than wade through everything themselves, scientists are asking the ”hive mind” of the internet to help them to resolve challenges, and gain insights from enormous tracts of data. Here are some of the current, real studies that are looking for science enthusiasts to become involved in crunching the data and exploring fascinating, rarely- seen worlds of science.
Galaxy Zoo: Explore and classify galaxies
Galaxy Zoo is now arguably the world’s best-known online citizen science project. It began in 2007, with a data set made up of a million galaxies imaged by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. With so many galaxies, they assumed it would be years before people made in-roads with the data. However within 24 hours of launch they got about 70,000 classifications an hour.
Galaxy Zoo asked volunteers to classify galaxies into ellipticals, mergers and spirals and — if the galaxy was spiral — to record the direction of the arms. A second phase of the project asked volunteers to look closely at the 200,000 of the brightest of the Sloan galaxies. Within14 months the site was up we received a little more than 60 million classifications.
With this metadata in hand, Galaxy Zoo has led to unprecendented numbers of publications on cosmology, astronomy and astrophysics. Explore and classify galaxies
Planet Four: Classify and explore the surface of Mars
Be the first to see and measure close-up features on the surface of Mars. Unlike anything else you will see on Earth. Search and classify ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ such as those below, on the Martian surface. Scientists believe that these features indicate wind direction and speed. By tracking ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ over the course of several Martian years to see how they form, evolve, disappear and reform, we can help planetary scientists better understand Mars’ climate. Scientists hope to find out if these features form in the same spot each year and also learn how they change. Explore and classify the surface of Mars