back to article NASA maps Mars with child labor web games

NASA is outsourcing laborious Martian cartography to Earth children with a website that entices users to make a game out of sorting through the space agency's hundreds of thousands images of the Red Planet. In collaboration with Microsoft, NASA has created the "Be a Martian" website, where helping to improve Mars map data …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. LaeMi Qian Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Dang Kids Today!

    >helping to improve Mars map data earns participants "points" and "badges" as well as a heady sense of aiding humanity's exploration of distant worlds

    They should be outside... breaking shop windows and mugging pensioners.

  2. Bad Beaver


    What are they, underfunded? Can we at least use this to create interesting structures on Mars?

  3. styx-tdo


    personal* time

    where's the footnote for that one?

    i have been lookin for it for 15 minutes now, even requesting assistance from some colleagues at work...

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I'm in, where do I sign up

    Mars needs you!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Another example Micro$oft has contrived to force users to install silverlight.

    NASA FAIL: what about browser and platform neutrality?

    NASA should not allow its educational outreach programme to become embroiled in the machinations of the monopolistic Megacorp and its propriatery software 'standards'.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kidsourcing (n): the use of minors for labour at minimal wage

    see also: Satanic mills, chimneysweeps, Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews, Petula Clark, Sean Connery, 1963

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Flash Travellers ..... Warp Opportunists ..... Power Entrepreneurs

    "Both companies hope the website will inspire youngsters to grow up to be part of their payroll."

    Is there a payrolled top shelf, under the counter, back room, Adults Only version ........ for Presently Intrepid Future XPerienced Explorers?

  8. Ian Halstead

    It's a NASA trap...

    NASA will invite the heads of Microsoft to be the first to land on the red planet. They'll give them a few days on Mars and then announce someone forgot to fuel the return stage. "Sorry, a problem with Outlook calendar reminders and Windows 7 apparently."

    Oh, if only...

  9. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Microsoft Martians

    I looked forward to trying it and introducing it to my boy, but found the site requires MS Silverlight. I run Linux (no computer in my house will run Windows, ever!), so that was that.

    A very good idea, but why did they have to spoil it with Microsoft-only crap? Idiots.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With the recent surge in university applications

    I''m surprised they don't just use students like the old days...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    personal time?

    "a standup sort willing to donate your personal* time to Mars science"

    * I'm donating the firm's time and bandwidth to this enterprise, actually.

  12. Sillyfellow

    the entire surface?

    including the normally omitted 'uninteresting' 2 small polar regions usually (conveniently) not mapped for some reason or another ?

    i somehow doubt that and think only certain pre-selected areas will be shown to the public.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the future

    "Both companies hope the website will inspire youngsters to grow up to be part of their payroll."

    Hey kids, now that you've seen how much fun it is spending hours in mindless repetitive digital drudgery in return for meaningless rewards, why not come and work for us, and spend the rest of your life doing it !

    Yeah, right. I'm off to join the NLRA.

  14. tumbleworld

    Damn right.

    Good to see Microsoft putting the world's children to work, and paying them less than even the most crazed Victorian industrialist's wet dreams would have pictured. Get the little bastards working productively. We don't want them having any chance to exercise their creativities or free wills; get them used to the yoke of corporate predation nice and early. Spend your life in a cubicle! You can earn badges! Work, little Monkey. WORK!

  15. David Pollard

    Not Invented Here

    Last spring I'd suggested to the good folks who are cleaning up the sea near Sellafield that they might consider turning the hunt for hot particles into some sort of game; or putting one of the undersea cameras online when the went to clean up the pipeline dump. As with mapping Mars, this would promote the industry and encourage youngsters to take part etc..

    Hmm. The front-line engineer to whom I spoke took the point, but I got short shrift from them upstairs.

  16. chris 233
    Thumb Down

    NASA as MS marketing tool

    Not only that, the site is dog slow. Must be running ms servers also.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which way is up, again?

    "Microsoft" and "social responsibility" in the same sentence. Add in the "junior labour" aspect and no-one knows what to believe any more. Please recalibrate my moral compass!

  18. DJV Silver badge

    Azure? Eek! Silverlight, oh noes....

    "The website is built on Microsoft's Windows Azure platform"

    which probably accounts for how slow it is....

    I was interested in it until I read that (and other commenters saying it needs Sluglight).. will now avoid at all costs.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    It's useless

    1. It's suffering from the slashdot effect - it's slow and/or frequently unavailable

    2. It requires an MS proprietary plugin that's not available on many architectures

    3. it doesn't award rep points per the spec

    4. sometimes it doesn't even give you an image to align

    5. there's no way to flag that you can't find the location

    Try Galaxy Zoo instead, it's way better.

  20. Daniel 1

    Reputation points?

    "Fluffyfoot has gained the achievement [Exalted with NASA]






  21. Cameron Colley

    How much discount did Microsoft give them then?

    I'm guessing that NASA got a large "non profit organisation discount" or similar -- pretty clever marketing by Microsoft really.

    It's a shame, because this sounds like the kind of thing that would be useful for passing a few hours while upgrading an OS at home or sitting around waiting for jobs to finish at work.

  22. Tom Chiverton 1


    Oh, it needs silverlight. They made that clear. Not.

    Guess I'll go back to Galaxy Zoo then.

  23. Ryan 7
    Thumb Up

    @MacroRodent & @Tom Chiverton 1

    Moonlight is the non-MS open-source client for Silverlight

  24. xyz

    A waste of time and space

    Took me about 12 attempts to register, dog slow, then connection timeouts. Then I discover it needs silverlight which isn't supported on my Mac OS version (2 years old) which I found out after I downloaded it.

    Now I like MS, but this is the biggest pile of hot turd I have ever come across.

    And judging by the style and wording (if you actually get a display) you need a lobotomy to become a member....who runs this the Scientologists?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    We need help with Mars

    And we understand your paperwork is right on target with Uranus.

  26. MacroRodent Silver badge

    @ Ryan 7

    "Moonlight is the non-MS open-source client for Silverlight"

    But the site doesn't work with it! I tried. Still shows "Get Silverlight" boxes on the interesting sub-pages. Actually I'm not surprised. "Moonlight" is always behind "Silverlight" in the level of features it supports. Contrast this with Flash, where Adobe officially supports multiple platforms, and the Linux version is not far behind the Windows version. Even better still would have been to implement this with "AJAX" techniques, or Java.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019