So this is pretty neat. There’s a Green Lantern Alternate Reality Game, which means “shitty game that people think is interesting because people pretend it isn’t a game”,
Normally these amount to people finding snippits of a story that’s some sort of prologue or side-story to whatever thing is being advertised via some sort of puzzle-solving.
For the Green Lantern movie, they’ve been taking out ads from “amateur astronomers” who have noticed something strange and want access to a telescope to figure out what it is. Then, they got access, and now you can go to this nifty little site and help Dr. Amanda Waller find green rings in space. Wiiiink. But the cool part is that apparently this is just a reskin of Galaxy Zoo, a program that’s already produced very useful data simply by asking normal people to help classify the ridiculous number of objects we’ve seen by giving an idea of their shape and any identifying marks. It turns out that a green ring in space is a sign of a recently exploding star. Other sites talking about the ARG have said it was a sign of one being born, but I can’t find anything stating that from a decent source. I think they’re just confusing the fact that star death leads reasonably directly to star birth. Anyway, by taking part in this ARG people have been actually assisting scientists studying the galaxy sift through their data.
Apparently the Spitzer telescope, the one whose data you’re poking through when you play this thing, is notable for being uniquely able to see through galactic dust clouds:
The new Spitzer picture provides a detailed snapshot of this universal phenomenon. By imaging Henize 206 in the infrared, Spitzer was able to see through blankets of dust that dominate visible light views. The resulting false-color image shows embedded young stars as bright white spots, and surrounding gas and dust in blue, green and red. Also revealed is a ring of gas, colored green, which is the wake of the ancient supernova’s explosion.
“Before Spitzer, we were only seeing tantalizing hints of the newborn stars peeking through shrouds of dust,” said Gorjian.
So this is the first ARG I can think of that actually did something beneficial. More sci-fi related films should do this sort of thing. I think it’s neat! It is a cool idea even if Amanda Waller is totally not a scientist. She’s just a badass.