NASA asks internet users to help recognize the shots
NASA is in the possession of over a million shots taken aboard of the International Space Station throughout several years. Within its project Cities by Night NASA had to differentiate those images, however it didn’t prove to be possible by means of a computer program, as it couldn’t tell the difference between the starry sky, a city lights in the dark, or other similar objects.
To solve this problem, the outer-space agency turned to the everyday users – because in actuality a human has better recognition skills than a machine does. The task was broken down into several segments. The first one, called Dark Skies, initially had to sort out photos according to categories (“Stars”, “Cities”, etc.), and anyone could help to make it happen.
The second segment — Night cities — had to define what city was in the photograph, as well as marking it on the map. The third segment was all about coordinating what was in the shot with what’s been pinpointed on the map.