Scientists have long believed there to be a ninth planet in our solar system, due to some theories that involve science and numbers and gravitational pulls.
I’m not too sure. I like movies.
What I do know though, is that they are now enlisting the help of the trusty web to expedite the search for the mysterious planet hiding out there in the dark — and you can join in whenever you’d like.
Backyard Worlds is asking people to look through flipbooks of data to identify moving objects. Mostly what you’ll be finding are failed stars, but the creators assert that you may just be the person to discover a star closer to the sun than Proxima Centauri or even the elusive and still hypothetical ninth planet.
Do you want to help NASA find the solar system’s ninth planet?
“Automated searches don’t work well in some regions of the sky, like the plane of the Milky Way galaxy, because there are too many stars, which confuses the search algorithm,” UC Berkeley physicist Aaron Meisner said in a statement.
That’s why they need you.
Human brains can identify movement in these pieces of data more reliably than computers, and so the NASA-funded study is asking for citizen help.
If finding another planet doesn’t excite you, there are other ways to be a citizen scientist.
Last year NASA released its GLOBE observer app for iOS and Android, in which observations of your home planet (presumably Earth) help its teams compile data.
So if you’re a little bored and in need of some purposeful validation, head over to Backyard Worlds or GLOBE observer and potentially change the way we view our universe from the comfort of your own couch.