NASA gives gamers a taste of Mars

The big brains at NASA know that making things fun is a good way to trick people into doing work, so they've turned analysing the surface of Mars into

They've been taking snapshots of the red planet for almost 50 years and are having some serious problems sorting through their albums. So they've decided to use crowdsourcing as a way to get through the backlog.

Wannabe "Martian Citizens" can visit the citizen-science website at and earn points by helping Nasa analyse and organise the hundreds of thousands of images to form a better picture of the planet. They are also asked to count impact craters to help calculate the age of rocks on Mars' surface.

Be warned, though, the site uses Microsoft Silverlight so you might have trouble joining in the fun if you're not running a Windows/Internet Explorer combo.

via BBC News