NASA: Let’s Go Asteroid Hunting with Ted and Charles

The latest news about NASA was Senator Ted Cruz’s admonishing Charles Bolden, its manager, concerning  setting his priorities right. Cruz told Bolden  to concentrate the agency’s resources to space explorations rather than delving with climate change.

The suggestion may come as strong to people who cares about our plane’ts well being. However if NASA discovers new life form in those asteroids, the senator will be a shoo in as the country’s next president.

Meanwhile, let’s go asteroid hunting and enjoy the new game  “Asteroid hunters” from NASA. Maybe the good senator and the affable NASA chief will oblige playing a three some.

It may sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster movie, but now you can be one of the “Asteroid hunters” for real, straight from your PC.

NASA recruits civilians to help identify asteroids from telescope photography and has lunched a desktop application helped by a special asteroid algorithm.

During in a panel discussion, scientists announced the desktop app at SXSW where they elaborated on how citizen scientists were helping their efforts to identify and tag asteroids. The app is collaboration between NASA and Planetary Resources. (It’s apparently all under a Space Act agreement, which is the coolest act we’ve heard of in a while.)

The software application is based on an algorithm that can able to detect asteroids specifically sniffs out asteroids from images taken by Earth-based telescopes. Apparently, it is impossible for astronomers to verify all detection by hand due to the sheer volume of images being captured these days. For now, the computers are burden for the heavy lifting, filtering down to the images that merit further investigation.

“The beauty of such archives is that the data doesn’t grow insipid, and with innovative methods, techniques and algorithms, they can be harvested for new information. The participants of the Asteroid Data Hunter challenge did just that, probing observations of the night sky for new asteroids that might have slipped through the software cracks the first time the images were analyzed,” said Jose Luis Galache of the Minor Planet Center.

The desktop software application is free and can be used on any basic desktop or laptop computer. Amateur astronomers can even take pictures from their telescopes and analyze them with the application. The application can tell whether a matching asteroid record already exists and can report new findings to the Minor Planet Center, which confirms and archives any new discoveries. Be one, You can start the hunt now.




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