CosmoQuest’s Image Detectives

NASA had me at CosmoQuest, Image Detective sweetened the pot. A NASA funded citizen science project seeks public help identifying geographic features in photographs taken from the International Space Station. ISS astronauts take scores of photographs, science needs citizen help in creating a searchable image database of natural and man-made global locations. All you do is sign up, look at images and identify features.

Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) lead investigator Pamela L Gay said –

The astronauts’ photos of Earth are visually stunning, but more than that, they can be used to study our changing Earth. From erupting volcanoes, to seasonal flooding, these images document the gradual changes that happen to our landscape.

The trick is, we need to make these images searchable, and that means taking the time to sort through, analyze, and label (add metadata) the unidentified images within the database of 1.5 million plus photos.”

Jennifer Grier, Senior Education and Communication Specialist at PSI, CosmoQuest’s lead support scientist added –

This is a unique, powerful, and beautiful image data set that has already yielded excellent research science. But the data set needs the many eyes and minds of citizen scientists to reach its full potential as a publicly available, searchable catalog. With the additions that citizen scientists as detectives can make, professional research scientists will be able to conduct more research into our changing world, and do so much more effectively.”

Sign up at –

Algerian desert from the ISS –





Spot The Station

The International Space Station is the third brightest object in the sky. Moving at 8 km/second,  ISS completes one orbit every 92 minutes. How fast is 8 km/second? Fire a rifle bullet at one end of a football field, ISS would be gone before that bullet reached 30 meters. Quick as ISS is, it can be seen much like a fast moving airplane, provided we know when to look up.

NASA takes all the guess work out of ISS identification with their Spot the Station app. Click on the link below, enter your location and view time, direction, angle and duration of ISS sightings for the next week. True or aspiring space geeks can sign up for text or email alerts. I have no prizes, just kudos and admiration for those who “spot the station” with their very own eyes.