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Help NASA Out by Looking at Beautiful Pictures of Space

NASA wants your help identifying astronauts' photos of the earth

smithsonian.com

Astronauts take lots of pictures while they’re up in space: one of the many benefits of the job is a first-row seat to the best view of the world. NASA has accumulated well over one million pictures taken by astronauts, but sorting and cataloguing all of them is a mammoth task. Now, the agency is asking for help sorting and identifying the images.

Researchers studying light pollution are turning to crowdsourcing, because, as Gizmodo reports, computer analysis can only go so far when the pictures are dark or obscured. 

"We don't know which direction the astronaut pointed the camera, only where the station was at the time the image was taken," researcher Alejandro Sanchez told CNN. "Some images are bright cities, but others are small towns. It is like a puzzle with 300,000 pieces."

There are three projects. In one, people are asked to help researchers geolocate images, matching an image to its correct orientation on a map. In another, researchers are looking for help simply identifying the city. The third task is identifying images—telling the computer whether it’s a picture of stars, cities, an aurora, etc. 

If you want to help with any of the projects, jump right in, but you might want to hurry. Two are already over 60 percent completed. 

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