A new study revealed that using crowdsourcing when counting moon craters is just as accurate as experts with five decades of experience. This study points out that crowdsourcing is a practical way to do planetary science.

A team of researchers led by the University of Colorado Boulder found that counting the moon craters can be easily and accurately done using crowdsourcing -- a way to obtain information through the Internet.

The study of moon craters is very vital to scientists because they tell something about the cosmic chaos that took place in the moon during the early formation of our solar system. In able to do so, planetary scientists have resorted to doing different things just to come up with accurate results. One of the initiatives for that is the CosmoQuest.

CosmoQuest, which is developed by Pamela Gay, a professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), is a citizen service Web project that aims to contribute real science to U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space missions using efforts of volunteers.

In its latest project, a large group of researchers, who acted as volunteer counters, examined a fraction of the moon that is about 1.4 square miles using high-definition images from the NASA. After counting the crater, they compared the figures they got with the figures of eight professional planetary crater counters and found that they got identical results.

Study lead researcher Stuart Robbins of the University of Colorado Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics said in a press release, "What we can say is that a very large group of volunteers was able to chart these features on the moon just as well as professional researchers. More importantly, we now have evidence that we can use the power of crowdsourcing to gather more reliable data from the moon than we ever thought was possible."

"The results from the study were very reassuring to us. Without this first step of verifying the accuracy of volunteer crater counters, there would be no point in continuing the project," he added.

Further details of this study can be read in the March 4 issue of Icarus.