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World UFO Day

posted Jun 28, 2017, 3:26 PM by Gary Greenberg   [ updated Jun 30, 2017, 7:16 AM ]
Did you know that July 2nd is World UFO Day? While many of the UFO celebrations will be wacky ( and not very scientific), the search for extraterrestrial intelligence did lead to one of the early uses of the internet for letting the general public help scientists do research. Called SETI@home, it sends radiotelescope recordings of space to users' computers for them to analyze for possible sounds from other intelligent life forms. Starting in 1999, the project attracted over five million users in its first decade. 
Last month, the site logged over 1, 686,000 users! Your students can try it out at

Little green men aren't he only uses of this kind of crowdsourced research. The technology is also used to report on butterfly migrations  ( and to help DNA scientists puzzle out new ways of folding protein molecules (  You and your students can find a list of some of these novel uses of computing at (