Saturday, January 14, 2006


Help NASA find star dust in aerogel.

NASA had send a probe traveling through space that contained blocks of so called Aerogel (very fascinating stuff - the image to the left shows 2g Aerogel supporting a 2.5kg brick) that where exposed to "star dust". This probe returns to earth tomorrow and it is expected that a small number of "space grains" will be embedded in the Aerogel - the challenge now is to find these very small particles. In order to do so, they will take microscopic pictures of the Aerogel and YOU can - via a "virtual microscope" - search the aerogel for traces of space grain. In essence they are using the interested public to analyze their pictures.

I think this idea will be received enthusiastically and will be a major success. I though about something similar in the aftermath of the bomb attacks on the London subways - then it was the challenge to sift through thousands of hours of CCTV coverage for leads - why not ask the public to help? I'm sure millions of Britons and people around the world would have loved to do their share to bring those responsible to justice.