EVE: Online gets more scientific with exoplanet research
Continuing Project Discovery where EVE: Online players contributed to the development of the Cell Atlas and the Human Protein Atlas, CCP announced the upcoming scientific endeavour – the search for exoplanets in 2017!
By categorizing more than 250,000 images of proteins within human cells, capsuleers contributed to real life science through their gameplay, providing thousands of man hours of analysis for the Human Protein Atlas.
The first stage of Project Discovery proved EVE community's incredible support for real science efforts, as players formed one of the largest collectives of citizen science contributors in the world.
During 2017, all players will have the chance to collaborate with MMOS (Massively Multiplayer Online Science) for a second time – alongside the University of Reykjavik and the University of Geneva in the search for exoplanets.
The search will begin this year and once enough capsuleers reach comparative consensus on classification of the data, it will be sent back to the University of Geneva for use in refining the search for exoplanets.
For those who might not know, an exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet that orbits a star other than the Sun. The first scientific detection of an exoplanet was in 1988. However, the first confirmed detection came in 1992; since then, and as of 15 February 2017, there have been 3,577 exoplanets in 2,687 planetary systems and 602 multiple planetary systems confirmed.
HARPS (since 2004) has discovered about a hundred exoplanets while the Kepler space telescope (since 2009) has found more than two thousand. Kepler has also detected a few thousand candidate planets, of which about 11% may be false positives. On average, there is at least one planet per star, with a percentage having multiple planets. About 1 in 5 Sun-like stars have an "Earth-sized" planet in the habitable zone. Assuming there are 200 billion stars in the Milky Way, one can hypothesize that there are 11 billion potentially habitable Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way, rising to 40 billion if planets orbiting the numerous red dwarfs are included.