CCP Games today announced that the search for planets outside our solar system (AKA exoplanets) will come to their massively multiplayer online game EVE Online. This unique scientific crowdsourcing effort represents a collaboration between CCP developers, Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS), University of Reykjavik, and the University of Geneva and its honorary professor Michel Mayor, winner of the prestigious 2017 Wolf Prize for Physics and discoverer of the first exoplanet.
Within EVE's virtual universe, players will interact with real-world astronomical data provided by the University of Geneva through a fully integrated part of the EVE Online game experience called Project Discovery. Once enough players 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.
"We were thrilled to see the successes of our first foray into citizen science, in which EVE players have been voracious contributors to the database of the Human Protein Atlas," said Andie Nordgren, EVE's Executive Producer. "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. 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."
The previous iteration of Project Discovery yielded incredible results in a short amount of time, with players submitting over 25 million classifications of human cells back to the Human Protein Atlas. It proved EVE's legendary community's massive support for real science efforts as players formed one of the largest collectives of citizen science contributors in the world.
The search for exoplanets will come to EVE in 2017, with a full presentation by Michel Mayor scheduled for 6-8 April at EVE Fanfest 2017 in Reykjavik, Iceland.
You can learn more about EVE Online and play for free on the official website.