For Citizen Scientists

Watch the latest video in the NASA ScienceCasts series, The 2016 Transit of Mercury

Citizen Scientists have helped to answer serious scientific questions, provide vital data to the astronomical community, and have discovered thousands of objects including nebulas, supernovas, and gamma ray bursts. NASA supports several resources which may be of interest to amateur and professional scientists alike.

  1. Public Presentations
  2. Opportunities for Citizen Scientists
  3. Resources for Citizen Scientists



    Ancient Earth, Alien Earth


    The Search for Life in the Universe

    Ancient Earth Alien Earth


    If you could visit the early Earth, you would find it a vastly different, inhospitable, and alien place. Yet, it was in this environment that life on this planet began and evolved. What do we know about the ancient Earth and how can that guide our search for habitable planets orbiting other stars? Come find out at a panel discussion featuring leading scientists in the fields of early Earth and habitability and co-sponsored by NASA, NSF and the Smithsonian Institution.
    Wednesday, August 20
    5:30-6:30 p.m. EDT
    NASA HQ, Webb Auditorium
    This event is open to the public, so please bring your friends and families. There will also be refreshments!
    For more information:
    Dwayne Brown (202) 352-1726


    Disk Detective

    Our solar system used to be a massive disk of dust and debris. NASA scientists need your help combing the sky to find other stars that harbor these planet-forming disks!

    At, you'll look at animated images from NASA's WISE space telescope and other telescopes, and help astronomers hunt for good disk candidates among galaxies, asteroids and interstellar dust. Watch Disk Detective: Search for Planetary Habitats by clicking the image below!

    Disk Detective

    S'COOL Roving Observers

    As a roaming S’COOL Cloud Observer, a Rover, you will collect data on cloud type, height, cover and related conditions. Your observations help us to validate satellite data and give us a more complete picture of clouds in the atmosphere and their interactions with other parts of the integrated global Earth system. Observations are sent to NASA for comparison to similar information obtained from satellites. Reports from a wide range of locations are helpful to assess the satellite data under different conditions.

    This site provides all the information that you need to make and report a cloud observation. We welcome participation from any interested observers, especially from places where official weather observations are few and far between.

    More stars. Less light. Participate in GLOBE at Night!

    Calling all Earthlings! Take a few minutes to get involved in the GLOBE at Night campaign to preserve dark skies! GLOBE at Night is a citizen-science campaign open to people all over the world to raise awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and report their observations to a website from a computer or smart phone. Light pollution threatens not only our “right to starlight”, but can affect energy consumption, wildlife and health. Through 2011, people in 115 countries contributed 66,000 measurements, making GLOBE at Night one of the most successful light pollution awareness campaigns to date. Please join us to participate in the 2012 campaign an hour after sunset til about 10pm January 14 through 23, February 12 through 21, March 13 through 22, and April 11 through 20. For information and resources, visit us at

    Be a Martian

    Participate as a citizen scientist to improve Martian maps, take part in research tasks, and assist Mars science teams studying data about the Red Planet.
    Become a Martian Citizen


    You can help decide where the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will point its camera, HiRISE, next! Suggest a new target or browse the targets already in our database, including those for past HiRISE images.
    Where should HiRISE take a picture?

    Astronomy night at the White House
    Local middle school students learned about the solar system and the vast universe beyond during an Astronomy Night event on the White House South Lawn on October 7, 2009. The White House hosted 150 local students to star gaze and conduct hands-on experiments with astronomers from across the country.

    Lunar Impacts

    NASA needs your help to monitor the rates and sizes of large meteoroids striking the moon's dark side. This data will help engineers design lunar spacecraft, habitats, vehicles and extra-vehicular activity (EVA) suits to protect human explorers from the stresses of the lunar environment.
    Report your observations and help NASA

    Rock Around the World


    Mars Scientists are asking students from around the world to help them understand the red planet. Send in a rock collected by you or your classroom from your region of the world and we will use a special tool like the one on the Mars Exploration Rovers to tell you what it's made of.



    Planetary Protection

    Planetary protection is the term given to the practice of protecting solar system bodies (i.e., planets, moons, comets, and asteroids) from contamination by Earth life, and protecting Earth from possible life forms that may be returned from other solar system bodies.

    More about Planetary Protection


    Mentoring and inquirY using NASA Data for Atmospheric and earth science for Teachers and Amateurs (MY NASA DATA) is a project to enable K-12 teachers and students, as well as citizen scientists, to explore the large volumes of data that NASA collects about the Earth from space. Students use scientific inquiry and math skills as they access and display microsets of the Earth System.
    Discover MY NASA DATA features for Citizen Scientists

    Night Sky Network

    Whether you're just getting started or observe the skies at every opportunity, you'll find helpful this list of links from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Includes resources for amateurs, students and educators.
    Visit the Night Sky Network

    Observable Comets

    This list, maintained by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), includes observable comets, comet ephemerides, orbit data and observation dates. (The MPC is based at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and operates with support from the International Astronomical Union.)
    Find comets

    The Grey Cubicle You Want to Work In

    'Some of the employees of NASA's Science Mission Directorate may work in grey cubicles, but their jobs are anything but dull. They get to study Earth, the Sun, the Solar System, and the Universe!' - Dr. Tony Phillips

    You can read the complete article "The Grey Cubicle You Want to Work In" by Dr. Tony Phillips


    Software Tools

    JPL's Solar System Dynamics Group provides the following software tools for the sky observer:

    Solar System Simulator

    NASA imagery and computer modeling combine to produce simulated pictures of solar system objects from any other object and from any time you choose.
    Use the Solar System Simulator

    Space Calendar

    The Space Calendar covers space-related activities and anniversaries for the coming year. Included are over 1,300 links to related home pages.
    Keep tabs on the Space Calendar

    Spacecraft Sighting Opportunities

    Find out when satellites, a space shuttle or the International Space Station are appearing overhead. You can search by city—or use Skywatch 2.0 (a Java Applet) to enter your exact location and see the path each spacecraft will take across the sky. Tips for viewing spacecraft are included under "Sighting Help."
    Get viewing information for the next flyover

    J-Track 3D Satellite Tracking - What you will see is a plot in 3-dimensions showing the position of hundreds of satellites.

    Tell us what you would like to see on this site!