The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for citizen scientists—who also own a Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter—to contribute to future space exploration by playing the agency’s Astro Drone game. The game is part of a scientific crowd-sourcing project. People who possess a Parrot AR drone can play the game, in which they are challenged to perform different space missions in an augmented reality. Available via the Astro Drone Apple iOS app, the game will help the ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team (ACT) investigate whether it is possible to learn the distance to objects just by looking at their appearance in a still image.
The game’s first release contains the training level, in which players learn to dock to the International Space Station (ISS). New levels will be added incrementally with new releases. An Android version is in the works, although there is no estimated date for availability.
Astro Drone players can choose to contribute to a scientific crowd sourcing experiment that aims to improve autonomous capabilities of space probes, such as landing, obstacle avoidance, and docking. The app processes the images made by the AR drone's camera, extracting abstract mathematical image features.
- PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Paul K. Gerke, I.G. Sprinkhuizen-Kuyper, Guido C.H.E. de Croon
- SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: European Space Agency / Radboud University Nijmegen
- DATES: Ongoing
- PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
- COST: More than $50
- GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
- TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
- HOW TO JOIN: