By Tom Fenwick
If you enjoy navigating distant galaxies, leading intergalactic alliances and fighting space pirates, you might want to take on another challenge: discovering real planets.
The space-based online game EVE Online, which bills itself as “the world’s largest living work of science fiction”, is delving into science fact by asking players to help search for planets outside our solar system. Details of the citizen science challenge, which is part of an initiative called Project Discovery, emerged at the game’s annual Fanfest event in Reykjavik, Iceland, last week.
A mini-game launching later this year within the EVE universe will present players with data from the now defunct COROT space observatory, which launched in 2006. They will be looking at luminosity curves, representing the change in a star’s brightness as a planet passes in front of it. Besides revealing the presence of exoplanets, the luminosity variations can reveal information about their orbit …