(Gray News) – NASA’s calling on gamers to help map the world’s coral reefs.
The agency collects more information than it can analyze, so it’s put together a video game where “citizen scientists” can go on their own underwater expeditions and sort through the data themselves.
The game is called NeMO-net.
“Anyone, even a first grader, can play this game and sort through these data to help us map one of the most beautiful forms of life we know of,” according to Principal investigator Ved Chirayath at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
The game is available in the Apple App store and can be played on iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. A version is coming for Android systems.
In the app, players will go on ‘dives’ where they interact with real NASA data and images, learning about the different kinds of corals that lie on the ocean floor and highlighting them.
The missions will help NASA’s supercomputer learn to recognize corals and classify them.
The more people who play NeMO-NET, the better the supercomputer's mapping abilities become.
Scientists say corals are at risk from rising ocean temperatures, pollution and ocean acidification.
They say the game will help them learn what is happening to the world’s corals and find ways to preserve them.