EVE Online has made a name for itself over the last few years as being THE science fiction MMO. So it’s extremely exciting to see that science fiction being utilised to achieve science fact. A partnership between CCP Games, Massively Multiplayer Online Science and the University of Geneva has brought us EVE Online: Project Discovery Phase 2.
Project Discovery will aim to utilise the expansive community of EVE Online to locate and catalogue actual exoplanets from data collected from the Keplar Telescope satellite. For those wondering, an exoplanet is essentially a planet that exists outside our own solar system. With the launch we were treated to a message from Michel Mayor, the man who discovered the first exoplanet in 1995.
But how does this manifest in the game? Right now EVE Online players will be able to begin the Project Discovery mini-game. After a brief introduction by a digital Michel Mayor that will explain the scientific elements being used in the research, the game will hand players chunks of wave form data to assess. Players will be looking for discrepancies in the data and as more players find correlating results that data will be sent back to professors and student from the University of Geneva to focus on much more refined information.
Players will obviously also receive lots of experience and game specific loot, but I’d like to think that they are really there to help the advancement of space exploration. This isn’t the first time EVE Online has utilised their player base for the good of science. Last year players could join in on a mini-game that looked to create the Human Protein Atlas.
Scientific studies have found that gamer mentality is perfect for noting patterns and as such can be utilised for these scientific endeavours. An early bug in the mini-game was discovered by CCP Games that wasn’t correctly assigning challenges to correct skill levels but they have already moved to fix this. I for one think this is so amazingly exciting, crowd sourcing the gaming community to help with such important work is great — here’s looking forward to even more of these experiments in the future.