NASA created a game that allows you to help map coral reefs in the ocean | Instant News


Screenshot by Ry Crist / CNET

Understanding what is happening under the sea is one of the great challenges of earth science. Now, NASA is taking a crowdsourced approach to that challenge turn to gamers and “citizen scientists” to help map the rich diversity of coral reefs in the ocean.

Specifically, researchers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California have spent years comb the seabed using a special camera mounted on drones and planes. The unique lens on the camera gives researchers a clear view of the ocean floor, including coral and other wildlife with 3D imagery from locations in places like Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa. Now, NASA has a big job at hand – combing the images and identifying everything in them.

NASA Solution? A new game for Mac and iOS called NeMO-Net, which is you can play now (Android version still in progress). In it, you will travel on the seabed by ship called Nautilus, identifying and classifying whatever coral you encounter. As more people play the game, the actual details in NASA’s image will become the focus.

“NeMO-Net utilizes the most powerful power on the planet: not luxury cameras or supercomputers, but humans,” lead investigator Ames Ved Chirayath said in a Thursday release. “Anyone, even first graders, can play this game and sort through this data to help us map one of the most beautiful life forms that we know of.”

Playing the game will help train the Pleiades supercomputer in Ames to recognize corals from any ocean floor image, even those taken with less powerful instruments, NASA said. When the supercomputer gets smarter, NASA will do it can better map and track changes in the Earth’s coral population, considered important for marine ecosystems
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If nothing else, it sounds like fun and productive way to spend time while we are all stuck at home. Drive you to the bottom of the sea?

Read more: Restarting the reef: CNET dives deep into efforts to save Australia’s marvelous marvels



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