Amazon joins search for Steve Fossett

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Amazon joins search for Steve Fossett

Amazon has opened up its Mechanical Turk service to help search for missing aviation pioneer Steve Fossett.

Fossett was the first person to travel around the world non-stop in an air balloon and an airplane.

The record-breaker disappeared last week in the Nevada desert, flying a small airplane while scouting for salt plains where he could make a future attempt to break the land speed record.

Amazon's Mechanical Turk uses human researchers to complete tasks that cannot be automated, such as photo analysis, surveys or audio transcriptions. People submitting such tasks to the system normally pay a small sum for each task.

The service is asking volunteers to scan a series of satellite images of the area and mark any objects that might warrant closer inspection. At the time of this story's posting, there were over 53,000 locations awaiting analysis.

Volunteers are asked to load a series of recent satellite images into Google Earth and browse to a specific location by pasting longitude and latitude coordinates.

Amazon set up a similar search last year when Jim Gray, a noted researcher with Microsoft and Turing Award winner, went missing in the Pacific Ocean last year. The search yielded no results.
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