NASA launches ocean research game dedicated to mapping coral reefs globally

Aiming to help preserve these environments and better understand threatened ecosystems

NASA launches ocean research game dedicated to mapping coral reefs globally

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched an ocean research mobile game to help map out coral reefs.

Developed by NASA, NeMO-Net has been created in an effort to better understand threatened ecosystems around the world.

NASA Ames principal investigator Ved Chirayath developed the neural network within the game, which utilises player input to build a global coral map. The technology, that was originally developed for analysing stars, uses "fluid-lensing" camera to complete complicated calculations to remove optical distortions that are present in water over coral reefs.

In the mobile game, players will identify and classify corals using these 3D images while virtually travelling the ocean in their own research vessel, the Nautilus.

"Most powerful force"

"NeMO-Net leverages the most powerful force on this planet: not a fancy camera or a supercomputer, but people," said Chirayath.

"Anyone, even a first grader, can play this game and sort through these data to help us map one of the most beautiful forms of life we know of."

According to the US government agency, the more people play, the better the supercomputer's mapping abilities will become and therefore preservation of these environments will increase dramatically.

NeMO-Net is available to download on iOS and Mac computers, with a release for Android devices in the pipeline. Those interested can find out more information about the project here

Game developer Mike Bithell recently launched a six-part episodic audiobook about space, a place NASA is perhaps better known for exploring.

Deputy Editor

Matthew Forde is the deputy editor at and also a member of the Pocket Gamer Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @MattForde64 talking about stats, data and everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes.