Since 2003, gamers have explored the universe within the world of EVE Online. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game allows you to do all sorts of things as you traverse the expanses of the universe, as there are 7,800 star systems you can visit in the game. However, EVE Online is getting a dose of reality, and is giving players an opportunity to actually contribute to science. You will now be able to search our actual universe for exoplanets thanks to Project Discovery.
All EVE Online players can now analyze real-world astronomical data (long term measurements of luminosity of distant stars) from the CoRoT telescope. The CoRoT was launched into space in 2006 as part of an attempt to discover extrasolar planets. Data from the CoRoT has already led to the discovery of 37 exoplanets, but they are always on the lookout for more.
This is the latest example of “citizen science” in action, as by tapping into all the people who play EVE Online, it greatly increases the chances of people identifying exoplanets in all the data available. This is not the first time EVE Online has been chosen for a Project Discovery venture. Previously, players helped contribute to the Human Protein Atlas, helping to identify several examples of proteins that belonged to a new cellular structure.
If you play EVE Online, and you want to contribute to the search for exoplanets, this is a cool opportunity.