Help NASA discover new asteroids with new software
Yesterday, the space agency released its asteroid tracker desktop software, enabling ordinary people to help NASA discover new asteroids.
I have always been fascinated by space, the stars and the infinite nature of our universe. A career in astronomy has always perked my interest but never seemed to work in my head for some reason. Well now there is a way for me, and you, to get involved with the work that NASA is doing. You can now help NASA discover new asteroids. At South by Southwest yesterday, the space agency released its asteroid tracker desktop software, produced in conjunction with asteroid mining company Planetary Resources in an online competition.You can get exploring right now…
The software, which will run on any standard Mac or PC, will accept images from a telescope and run an algorithm on them to determine which celestial bodies are moving in a manner consistent with an asteroid. You can find and install the software from this site.
What really makes this software a massive achievement is the algorithm. It is said to be able to identify 15 percent more asteroids in the asteroid belt (located between Mars and Jupiter) than previous solutions. The algorithm can not only identify possible asteroids, but attempt to match them to currently known near-Earth objects (NEOs). With the free app, any amateur astronomer can analyze images taken from their own telescopes. Possible new matches can also be sent to NASA for the agency’s databases.
NASA is currently struggling to keep tabs on all the NEOs that are whirling around the Earth. The new algorithm will prove extremely useful and due to its more efficient tracking ability. The agency should be able to better keep track of asteroids that may be a threat to Earth. It will also be able to scout for possible candidates for future asteroid missions. That work will also be of particular interest to Planetary Resources, which hopes to mine asteroids some day in the future.
So if you really want to work for NASA, even though it is on a volunteer basis, this is your chance!