Citizen science: The Milky Way Project classifies 1M images + New Kepler data for Planet Hunters

The Milky Way Project at the Zooniverse citizen science site has accomplished a lot in a short time: 1,000,000 Classifications and 7 Languages – The Milky Way Project

The Milky Way Project has now passed one million classifications since its relaunch a few months ago. The project is currently 75% complete, meaning there are still many, many images left to classify. Which is fine because in fact the project has become truly international lately – with citizen scientists around the world now able to participate in English, Spanish, German, French, Indonesian, Polish and Danish. There are more languages on the way too!


The Kepler Observatory was severely crippled last year due to the failure of a reaction wheel needed to maintain the pointing precision of the space telescope. The Kepler K2 recovery plan will return the observatory to planet finding by taking advantage of solar radiation pressure to maintain the pointing alignment.

This is good news for the Planet Hunters citizen science program, which will now get a stream of new data from the space observatory: Welcome to the Era of K2 – Planet Hunters

Satellite images show changes in earthscapes

A nice collection of then-and-now satellite images of areas on earth that have experienced major changes: Fascinating Satellite Images of Earth’s Ever-Changing Landscape – Science/WIRED

ca-snowpack-comp-1200The Sierra Nevada mountains of California have far less snow pack this
year (right image)  
compared to earlier years (left image) due to
an extended drought.


Space policy roundup – May.30.14 [Update]

As he explained in the book Safe Is Not An Option and discussed in a USA Today article recently, Rand Simberg is campaigning for astronaut safety to be put into its proper perspective. A decision to push forward on a dangerous and difficult frontier is a decision to make that frontier more important than safety. He has opened a petition to Congress to push forward on the dangerous and difficult space frontier :

[ Link change: Rand  decided it was best to move the petition to this page: Safety Cannot Be The Highest Priority In NASA Spaceflight – Safe Is Not An Option


The Onion reports on introducing realism into Space Camp : Modernized Space Camp Allows Kids To Simulate Frustration Over Lack Of Funding – The Onion.

More space policy/politics related links:

[ Update:



The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 5-28-14 – Thespaceshow’s Blog –  Batchelor and David Livingston talk with John Logsdon, former head of the GWU Space Policy Institute, about “U.S.-Russia space cooperation, NASA, RD180 engines, GPS, & more”.

Wed 5/28/14 Hr 3 | John Batchelor Show –  – Bob Zimmerman (guest 4) reports on space news and policy

Thurs 5/29/14 Hr 3 | John Batchelor Show – Bob Zimmerman (guest 3) gives another update on space news and policy

ISEE-3 Reboot Project takes command of the spacecraft

The ISEE-3 Reboot Project (see earlier post) is now talking with the spacecraft :

We Are Now In Command of the ISEE-3 Spacecraft

The ISEE-3 Reboot Project is pleased to announce that our team has established two-way communication with the ISEE-3 spacecraft and has begun commanding it to perform specific functions. Over the coming days and weeks our team will make an assessment of the spacecraft’s overall health and refine the techniques required to fire its engines and bring it back to an orbit near Earth.

First Contact with ISEE-3 was achieved at the Arecibo Radio Observatory in Puerto Rico. We would not have been able to achieve this effort without the gracious assistance provided by the entire staff at Arecibo. In addition to the staff at Arecibo, our team included simultaneous listening and analysis support by AMSAT-DL at the Bochum Observatory in Germany, the Space Science Center at Morehead State University in Kentucky, and the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array in California.

Of course this effort would not have been possible without the assistance of NASA and the Space Act Agreement crafted by NASA Headquarters, NASA Ames Research center, and the System Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

For further information on the ISEE-3 Reboot Project please visit our website at A much more detailed description of our First Contact efforts and future plans will be published on our website next week.