NEEMO

We’re inviting you – for a limited time only! – to take part in a big experiment! For our first ‘Zooniverse Lab’, we’ve partnered with NASA, who are training astronauts in an underwater environment. For the next two weeks they’re sending six astronauts, researchers and habitat technicians to live in an undersea habitat and work as part of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO). We’re interested to see if having many eyes on the problem will help the scientists and engineers working on NEEMO.

The mission is taking place 43 feet underwater at the NOAA ‘Aquarius’ facility, three miles off the coast of Key Largo, USA. The goal of this NEEMO-15 mission is to understand how NASA may one day explore and operate on asteroids, using techniques that are orders of magnitude more capable and efficient than methods are in use today.

For the Zooniverse this is the first of a new breed of project for us – one where the experiment is the interface itself! The project will only run for two weeks and in that time we hope to collect sufficient data to work out if an interface where people confirm or reject each other’s classifications can prove more efficient than our current approach of purely independent classification. NASA science teams will be using the data collected during NEEMO-15, alongside your classifications, to help develop different data sampling techniques for future asteroid missions.

Although we can’t promise that this project will result in academic papers, it will aid the NEEMO project and we’re convinced that it can help us better understand the limits of citizen science online.

Check out http://neemo.zooniverse.org and let us know what you think.

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The New Zooniverse Home

If you visit Zooniverse Home today you may notice that a few things have changed. For a while now we’ve wanted to improve the design of the site to better handle the growing range of projects that are part of the Zooniverse. With the updates released today we’ve completely reworked the look and feel of the site. We’ve organised projects into different categories, starting with Space, Climate and Humanities. There are lots of new categories coming soon.

Today we’re also launching an entirely new type of project as part of ‘Zooniverse Labs’. To date all Zooniverse projects come with the guarantee that your work will contribute directly toward real research output (usually academic papers), however this can make it hard to try new ideas. As the name suggests, Zooniverse Labs is about experimentation and we’re excited about launching new, often smaller-scale websites that continue to stretch the boundaries of science online. More news on this very soon.

Another new part of the redesigned Zooniverse homepage is the ‘My Projects’ section that allows you to see your contributions to the Zooniverse, and what else you might like to try out. This part of the site is very much in beta, and we hope to add to it in the coming months.

We hope you like the new look, and that it helps you explore more of what the Zooniverse has to offer.