Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Volunteers Needed to Review Stardust Data

If NASA's Stardust spacecraft manages to successfully deliver its earthbound cargo of interstellar dust Saturday (and that's assuming it managed to catch any in the first place) researchers plan to offer the public a chance to review the data and help them search for the microscopic particles.

In March they will begin posting on the Web the first of more than 1.5 million microscopic images of the collector plate used by Stardust to snatch bits of dust. These images will be made available to qualified volunteers much like the SETI At-Home project does. Anyone is welcome to participate in the project, but only after passing a rigorous training program provided free by NASA.

About 30,000 labor hours will be needed to complete the project but it's estimated the search will only yield about 45 particles of dust...

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