Our Moon is a thing of quiet grey beauty, and it has fascinated us for centuries. Those of you who can’t get their fill of looking at it at night should check out Moon Zoo, a project designed to review the many hundreds of images generated by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Much like the previously discussed Moon Mappers, Moon Zoo asks you to find and classify craters using a simple point-and-click interface. This project goes one step further, and also asks you to compare two images to determine which has the most boulders in the aptly-named “Boulder Wars” exercise. You can also highlight features of interest, like the grabens, cracks, and straight riles of my title.
Moon Zoo has a couple of nice extras. With the My Moon Zoo feature, you can effectively zoom out and see exactly where you’ve ‘visited’ when you’ve reviewed images of various craters and features; this is a good way to get some context and perspective. The Live! feature allows you see what’s happening on Moon Zoo in real time: an Earth map is displayed next to a Moon map, and both automatically scroll to show you that, for instance, UserJane from Vancouver is viewing images from the Ocean of Storms. It’s fun to watch the action for a while, as it gives you a real sense of participating in a group activity.
The site’s “moonometer” notes that to date, Moon Zoo players have reviewed more than 3 million images, which is the equivalent of 301 Chicagos, or .024 Australias. Just in case you were wondering what the Chicago to Australia conversion rate was.