Players of the science fiction game EVE Online are set to get a dose of science fact after developers announced a crowdsourced search for exoplanets.
The initiative will see players of the ‘massively multiplayer’ game sift through astronomical data in an attempt to identify worlds outside our solar system.
Rather than intruding on normal gameplay, the searches will take place between space flights, which often take several minutes if it’s a long journey.
“In searching for the next dataset for our massive player community to tackle, the stars aligned for players to have the opportunity to directly contribute to the search for new planets with a world-renowned scientific team,” EVE Online Executive Producer Andie Nordgren said in a statement.
“Real people around the world collaborating in a virtual universe to explore the real universe is the stuff science fiction, and soon science fact, is made of,” Nordgren added.
CCP games have teamed up with Massively Multiplayer Online Science, the University of Reykjavik and the University of Geneva to organise the project, which is set to launch later this year, Engadget reported.
If enough players identify a particular feature in the data, it will be sent back to scientists at Geneva to review.
It’s not the first time CCP Games has entered into the world of citizen science. Last year, players returned more than 25 million classifications of human cells to the database behind the Human Protein Atlas.