Back in February, publisher CCP Games announced a partnership with citizen science platform Massively Multiplayer Online Science, the University of Reykjavik, and the University of Geneva to crowdsource the search for planets outside our solar system through EVE Online via its Project Discovery initiative. The company has completed the update necessary for the game to be able to do so.
Players of all skill levels and character ages can now interact with and analyze real-world astronomical data from the CoRoT telescope, which was launched into outer space in late 2006 to help discover extrasolar planets. The CoRoT telescope data has already lead to the discoveries of 37 exoplanets via transit photometry. This same method was used to find exoplanets in the star system of Trappist-1, the first known system to host seven Earth-size planets around a single star.
While interacting with Project Discovery in EVE Online and contributing to consensus classification of the data that is then sent back to the MMOS Citizen Science Platform and the University of Geneva for verification, players can earn in-game rewards as well, such as PLEX, SKINs, and the blueprints of prestigious CONCORD ships.
This is not the first sortie have made into citizen science: the first version of Project Discovery churned through over 20 million images that contributed human cell classifications to the Human Protein Atlas. The work by EVE Online players helped scientists identify several examples of proteins as belonging to a new cellular structure called Rods & Rings.
“The University of Geneva is proud to pioneer this new way to interact with so many people,” said Yves Flückiger, the Rector of the University of Geneva. “The image of the ivory tower is long gone when hundreds of thousands are invited to participate to scientific discoveries.”
“I discovered a new world 20 years ago with a telescope and another one this year when I learned about EVE Online and its players at EVE Fanfest,” added Professor Michel Mayor.