A word from planet hunter Geoff Marcy

Dear Planet Hunters,

The Planet Hunters project has found a gold mine!   I am so impressed at the planet candidates rolling out of Planet Hunters.  This project shows the human ability at pattern recognition can compete with modern, parallel-processing computers.  The human eyeball (and brain) can still give a massive computer a run for its money.

How can PH humans compete head-to-head against NASA computers?   I really don’t know.   I imagine that the subtle, unpredictable quirks and complexities in the photometry of 156,000 stars presents challenges native to our ancient brains.   Perhaps our hominid ancestors, so vulnerable to predators, had to survey the African savannah quickly and accurately, to detect the barely discernible signs of trouble.   Every sunset two million years ago, our ancestors would routinely venture out to forage.  If you missed a distant saber tooth silhouetted as it transited the setting sun, you might become that evening’s appetizer.   If so, Planet Hunters is reaching back to our roots, to our native strengths.  And in so doing, future destinations in humanity’s exploration of the cosmic savannah are being discovered.

Congratulations, Best Wishes, and Keep going!
Geoff Marcy

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4 responses to “A word from planet hunter Geoff Marcy”

  1. Alice says :

    Good to see you here Geoff – belated thanks for a great talk in Boston which I attended in May, and I’m delighted you like Planet Hunters!

  2. PC0101 says :

    Sounds strange, at first glance. But imaginable. During disasters and emergencies human capabilities surface and lead to action that you might not have thought possible. The absolutely vital need to distinguish fine and faint details working here for less vital findings.Back to the roots …. and the skills of australopithecus!

  3. Laz says :

    By that same reasoning we could accelerate discovery by holding a gun to the head of a planet hunter to get things moving?

    I jest of course! Keep up the good work, what we discover today our descendants will visit tomorrow!

  4. Andres Eloy Martinez Rojas (andsul) says :

    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Other factors besides evolution, lies in discovering the emotion implicit in the unexplored has been with us always as a human species.

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