This weekend get your Space Geek on!

Sat­urday Septem­ber 18th is first Inter­na­tion­al Observe the Moon Night, fall­ing con­veni­ently before Inter­na­tion­al Talk like a Pir­ate Day, but I digress matey, arrr.


Inter­na­tion­al Observe the Moon Night is about get­ting out­side in the cool even­ing air and tak­ing a look at the biggest celes­ti­al object with­in a few mil­lion miles: The Moon. And to sup­port that activ­ity, Moon Night was cre­ated — along with a host of down­load­able mater­i­als and ideas to help you host your own Moon Night event.

We would like to encour­age every­one who is inter­ested in the Moon and shar­ing the excite­ment of lun­ar sci­ence and explor­a­tion to host their own InOMN event, and bring it to com­munit­ies around the world.  And we would like to help you do it.  This web­site will provide you with the inform­a­tion, mater­i­als, and activ­it­ies you need, accom­pan­ied by a step-by-step guide, to host your own InOMN event.  With this, we invite you to be a part of some­thing big­ger. Some­thing inspir­a­tion­al.  A part of Inter­na­tion­al Observe the Moon Night.

And the folks over at Moon Zoo have put togeth­er a spe­cial chal­lenge — the mighty Moon­met­er™.


Moon Zoo is a pro­ject that crowd­sources lun­ar fea­ture data by get­ting people like you and me to take a look at small images of the moon, and identi­fy craters on the sur­face.

The aim of Moon Zoo is to provide detailed crater counts for as much of the Moon’s sur­face as pos­sible. Unlike here on Earth where weath­er quickly erodes any signs of all but the most recent impacts, craters on the lun­ar sur­face stay almost until etern­ity. That means that the num­ber of craters on a par­tic­u­lar piece of the sur­face tells us how old it is. This tech­nique is used all over the Sol­ar Sys­tem, but the Moon is par­tic­u­larly import­ant because we have ground truth — samples brought back by the Apollo mis­sions — which allow us to cal­ib­rate our estim­ates. Plan­et­ary sci­ent­ists have always car­ried out this kind of ana­lys­is on large scales, but with your help and the fab­ulous LRO images then we should be able to uncov­er the finer details of the Moon’s his­tory.

And the Moon­met­er chal­lenge is designed to turn this sci­entif­ic activ­ity into more of a com­pet­i­tion.

To take part in the chal­lenge all you have to do is clas­si­fy things on Moon Zoo using either the Crater Sur­vey or Boulder Wars tools. The Moono­met­er™ keeps track of the num­ber of LRO images that have been clas­si­fied and con­verts them into approx­im­ate equi­val­ent areas.

You can also keep track of activ­ity on Moon Zoo via the Moon Zoo Live! page. Here you’ll find ever-updat­ing maps that show how Moon zoo is con­nect­ing the Earth to the Moon thanks to our users.

So there you go. Take a break from Halo Reach on Sat­urday night and get out and take a look at the Moon, if the skies are clear. Enjoy Inter­na­tion­al Observe the Moon Night, and then jump back on your com­puter and count a few craters in the Moon Zoo. You’ll be doing Sci­ence!

This post of is one of many I pub­lish weekly at the Future Shop Techb­log. Read more of my stuff here.

Published by Brad Grier geek.hack