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Crowdsourcing the hunt for alien artifacts

Posted on Thursday, 24 July, 2014 | Comment icon 36 comments

Could there be ET evidence on the moon ? Image Credit: CC BY-2.0 Jason Bache

A future initiative could enable thousands to scan images of the moon for signs of anomalous objects.

The plan, which is being championed by SETI researcher and physicist Paul Davies, would be to use crowdsourcing to help analyze thousands of high resolution images taken of the lunar surface by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The target would be anything anomalous that could potentially indicate that an advanced extraterrestrial civilization had once visited the moon at some point in its 4.5 billion year history.

"In searching for artifacts, one is looking for ‘something fishy’," said Davies. "But ‘fishiness’ requires a human decision in advance about a signature of artificiality. There are some simple examples, like right angle edges. But we have little idea what million year-old technology might look like."

The ambitious and somewhat unorthodox idea could also serve an additional purpose by helping scientists look for signs of important geological features.

"Professional astronomers sometimes suffer from the tendency to discount anything other than our expected signal as instrumental noise or some kind of interference," said research astronomer Andrew Siemion. "When identifying the unexpected, the eye of an amateur citizen scientist can be just as effective, if not more so, than that of a conditioned professional."

Source: Forbes | Comments (36)

Tags: Moon, Extraterrestrial

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #27 Posted by badeskov on 25 July, 2014, 4:08
I hate posting from my phone! Cheers, Badeskov
Comment icon #28 Posted by ChrLzs on 25 July, 2014, 4:37
Either way, you lost me, Bade. CosmoQuest, despite the naff name, is a project to crowdsource moon-mapping (and mercury, mars, venus..) by enthusiastic amateurs. It is a science-based site and forum, ie it isn't deliberately seeking alien artefacts - it is just looking for anything interesting and allows Joe/Jolene Average to help with the logistics of mapping. The Bad Astronomy (BAUT) forum (Phil Plait's original but now abandoned creation) was set up well before Cosmoquest existed, to discuss media misrepresentation of astronomy, along with silly ufo books and conspiracy theories.... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by badeskov on 25 July, 2014, 4:44
My apologies, I did indeed confuse the sites. My fault for posting from memory and my phone, which I normally don't! Please consider the aforementioned post retracted based on my faulty memory. Cheers, Badeskov
Comment icon #30 Posted by DONTEATUS on 26 July, 2014, 4:46
Is this crowdsourcing like when you let it dry hard enough to pick it up and then Chunk it as Far as you can? Or was that to do with Cows ?
Comment icon #31 Posted by skookum on 30 July, 2014, 9:00
Isn't this a massive change in stance from SETI? I thought they believed in Extraterrestrial Life exists but we have not found each other yet. Surely looking at the moon suggests that ET has already been here which is more of a the Ancient Alien theory.
Comment icon #32 Posted by Rei4ever on 4 August, 2014, 14:04
Another Big cover up story...
Comment icon #33 Posted by Grey Area on 6 August, 2014, 12:49
This already happens! Anyone can get involved here: Strictly speaking it is an effort to classify Craters above a specific size. The process is quick simple and intuitive and there is an easy to follow tutorial before you start. There is an option to highlight areas on each image if they contain interesting or wierd stuff. A clear indicator that there is no big cover up, all the images you will review will be previously unstudied. Anyone interested in astronomy should get involved, there are other image analysis as well that they need your help with.
Comment icon #34 Posted by Grey Area on 6 August, 2014, 12:51
How so?
Comment icon #35 Posted by DONTEATUS on 6 August, 2014, 13:42
Boy that got a lot of Air time ! Those Moon bases will get-em coming outta the Moon dust every time ! Well Its a Long Hot Summer,the Key boards are a calling ! I`ll bee waithing too ,Grey Area !
Comment icon #36 Posted by sinewave on 6 August, 2014, 17:27
What about the moon tells you that?

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