Spacehack! It's more efficient (and less criminally motivated) than it actually sounds. Spacehack is a directory of ways to participate in space exploration, interact with the space community, and also serves to encourage what creator and ex-NASA-employee Ariel Waldman calls "citizen science."
The Flight Analogs Project (FAP) investigations were recently updated at the top of the page in the "Data Analysis" category, so hopefully more people will find and apply for the new space flight simulations! Exciting new programs have begun to test out new garments and equipment that will be used on the ISS.
Other listed projects include:
- "Launch Your Own Personal Satellite" from a TubeSat kit
- Image a site on the red planet from the orbiting Mars Odyssey
- Build robotic Lunar Excavation or Mars rover models
- Track solar explosions and solar storms
- Classify space images at Galaxy Zoo
- Lend your engineering ideas for the Space Elevator
For instance, a timely project for the present moment is the "Planet Hunters", where you can help discover new exoplanets (extrasolar planets orbiting other stars) by exploring telescope data from NASA's Kepler mission. This online experiment taps into the power of pattern recognition. How cool would it be to find a new habitable planet??
If you know of a space-related activity where Citizen Scientists can contribute, you can also submit a project to Spacehack. And feel free to tell me if you join one, as I'd love to hear what folks are contributing!