If you're at all interested in astronomy or theoretical physics and just happen to be playing EVE Online, your universe is about to get a lot bigger.
Partnering up with Massively Multiplayer Online Science and the Universities of both Geneva and Reykjavik, EVE Online developers CCP are gearing up to bring the search for exoplanets to their long-standing virtual universe.
For those who typically neglect to follow regular scientific findings, the project is part of a deal between the establishments listed above of Michel Mayor - winner of the 2017 Wold Prize for Physics and the first person to discover a planet outside our known solar system - an exoplanet. Once the project goes live later in the year, the player community will begin relaying data back to the University of Geneva much like the last 'Project Discovery' goal that saw over 25 million classifications of human cells sent back to their data banks.
EVE's Exectutive Producer, Andie Nordgren issues a statement through the press release saying: "We were thrilled to see the successes of our first foray into citizen science, in which EVE players have been voracious contributors to the database of the Human Protein Atlas. In searching for the next dataset for our massive player community to tackle, the stars aligned for players to have the opportunity to directly contribute to the search for new planets with a world-renowned scientific team. Real people around the world collaborating in a virtual universe to explore the real universe is the stuff science fiction, and soon science fact, is made of."
Though no firm release date is planned other than a vague 2017 placeholder, Michel Major will be attended EVE Fanfest between April 6-8 in Iceland to deliver a large-scale presentation on the project.