Want to help professional astronomers get some serious work done? Have a few spare minutes? Log on to Moon Zoo and start counting craters! Moon Zoo is the newest Zooniverse project, and is a way for astronomers to cope with the sheer volume of lunar data returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) which is photographing and mapping the entire surface of the moon in incredible detail. As a volunteer, you are presented with images of tiny areas of the moon’s surface. Your cursor becomes a circle, and you just click on all craters which are bigger than the circle. The software takes care of the rest!
Zooniverse’s more well known Galaxy Zoo project (in which volunteers classify pictures of galaxies according to a very simple scale) has already produced a number of unexpected discoveries, most notably the enormous green mystery object known as Hannie’s Voorwerp. It is a safe bet that Moon Zoo will reveal just as many unexpected surprises and expand our knowledge of Earth’s nearest neighbour.
To log in, click on http://www.moonzoo.org