Gamers and scientists are coming together to explore astronomical data, because science is awesome. In a collaboration between a multiplayer game EVE Online, Massively Multiplayer Online Science, Reykjavik University, and the University of Geneva, players can actually help scientist find and classify exoplanets. Though it sounds like science fiction, this new method of data-gathering looks to be awesome for both gamers and science!
Naturally, with excitement up after the recent scientific discovery of seven exoplanets, players and scientists are working quickly to refine the search of data.
Here’s how the video game blends science and gaming:
EVE’s players will interact with data provided by the University of Geneva. After the players reach a consensus on the data, the information goes to scientists at the University of Geneva.
The Executive Producer of EVE, Andie Nordgren said, “In searching for the next dataset for our massive player community to tackle, the stars aligned for players to have the opportunity to directly contribute to the search for new planets with a world-renowned scientific team. Real people around the world collaborating in a virtual universe to explore the real universe is the stuff science fiction, and soon science fact, is made of.”
Because of how exoplanets are discovered, EVE is an ideal way for the scientific community to get outside help. Planets are found is by repeatedly examining changes to the light from stars, which occur when a planet passes in front of it. This “transit method” of discovery benefits from several cycles of observation, to rule out the light changes being a fluke.
Which means, that by helping to observe, players can quickly help scientists identify and classify exoplanets. SO COOL!!
Check out the latest updates on the project below; the graphics are stunning!
Michel Mayor will be presenting EVE in Iceland from April 6-8th. If you can’t make it to Iceland, livestreaming of the presentation is available! You can learn more about EVE Online and play for free on their website.