New Moon Zoo Scientist Position Available
Moon Zoo Science Position Advertised
Since it’s launch, Moon Zoo has been an enormous success, with 76,960 people contributing more than 2,858,389 classifications of craters (as of last night!). What we haven’t done, yet, is turn those clicks into results which we can share with the rest of the scientific community. As I noted on my blog from the recent American Astronomical Society conference, that’s the real test of any citizen science project.
An early look at the data looks extremely promising, and I’m pleased to say we’ve just taken two major steps towards that goal. Firstly, thanks to the sterling efforts of Ian Crawford at UCL we’ve obtained funding from The Leverhulme Trust for a three-year postdoctoral position working exclusively on Moon Zoo science. This sort of effort is exactly what we need, and we’ve already got a job ad. out looking for the right person. Having someone working on Moon Zoo full time will also help us investigate some of the weird and wonderful terrains and images uncovered by the Moon Zoo forum.
Secondly, the first paper from Moon Zoo’s sister site, the Milky Way Project, is nearly accepted. As the Milky Way Project uses a modified version of the Moon Zoo interface, the techniques we used there to combine classifications should be easily adapted to the larger Moon Zoo dataset. For example, we have to account for inevitable problems caused by adopting a particular tool – for example, the tendency of classifiers to repeatedly mark craters at the smallest allowed size – but we can do this through careful database manipulation.
We’re tentatively targeting having early results to share by April, and we’ll keep you informed by the blog.
P.S. Pamela Gay and Stuart Robbins, who had been working with us on Moon Zoo have decided to launch their own, competing, project. Pamela in particular has put a lot of time into the Zooniverse over the last few years, and we’re grateful for her help. Competition in science is usually a good thing, and I hope we’ll see papers from both groups before too long.