Following the NASA-Blackbird collaboration to create an interactive Mars Colony and the discovery of seven new exoplanets forty light years away, publisher CCP Games has also gotten into what may become a new space race. The publisher has partnered 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.

Players of the longstanding MMO will interact with real-world astronomical data provided by the University of Geneva through a fully integrated component of the game called Project Discovery. Once enough players reach comparative consensus on the classification of the data, it will be sent back to the University of Geneva for use in refining the search for exoplanets.

The previous iteration of Project Discovery yielded impressive results, with players submitting over 25 million classifications of human cells back to the Human Protein Atlas. Players received rewards for their contributions and were recognized with promotions in their Project Discovery rank.

“We were thrilled to see the successes of our first foray into citizen science, in which EVE players have been voracious contributors to the database of the Human Protein Atlas,” said Andie Nordgren, Executive Producer of EVE Online. “In searching for the next dataset for our massive player community to tackle, the stars aligned for players to have the opportunity to directly contribute to the search for new planets with a world-renowned scientific team. Real people around the world collaborating in a virtual universe to explore the real universe is the stuff science fiction, and soon science fact, is made of.”

The search for exoplanets will begin later in 2017. Dr. Michel Mayor, discoverer of the first exoplanet and a professor emeritus at the University of Geneva, will hold a special presentation in April introducing the search at the EVE Fanfest 2017 in Reykjavik, Iceland.