For the past week, whenever I’ve had a few spare minutes to kill, I’ve logged into my Moon Mappers account and done my bit for lunar science. A Cosmoquest project, the goal is to map out every single crater on the moon from imagery returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and find unusual structures that require study. There are an enormous number of craters, however, so volunteers can choose between one of two sub-projects. In the first, where I’m putting my effort, you simply mark craters and other features of interest. In the second, you verify existing computer-generated maps — the best algorithms are still only 80% accurate, so any work put in here goes straight to refining and improving the algorithms used to detect and identify craters.
The project is still in Beta, with under a hundred users (which I suppose makes me special in some way – I will be able to say I was doing it before it became popular and went all commercial!), but is still open to new volunteers. New users are required to complete a tutorial session before their work will be counted, but this shouldn’t take more than two minutes, and doesn’t insult your intelligence.