NOVA Labs is a new digital platform where "citizen scientists" can actively participate in the scientific process. From predicting solar storms and designing renewable energy systems to tracking cloud movements and learning cybersecurity strategies, NOVA Labs participants can take part in real-world investigations by visualizing, analyzing, and sharing the same data that scientists use.

Each Lab is unique, and focuses on a different area of active research. But all of them illustrate key concepts with engaging and informative videos and guide participants as they answer scientific questions or design solutions to current problems. Experts in the field are available as well to answer users’ questions and to propose new routes of investigation.

The Energy Lab

For something we use every day, energy is a pretty mysterious concept. This Lab investigates what energy is, how it can be converted into useful forms, and why some sources are running low. In our Research Challenge, you'll use scientific data to design renewable energy systems for cities across the U.S.—and compete with others to see whose designs can produce the most power.

The Sun Lab

Despite its apparently steady glow, the Sun is a churning mass of superhot plasma that regularly produces powerful flares and storms that can knock out power and communication systems here on Earth. This Lab explores what makes the Sun so volatile and gives you access to the same data, images, and tools that scientists use to predict solar storms—so that you can predict them for yourself.

The Cloud Lab

Covering some 70 percent of Earth's surface, clouds play a key role in our planet's well-being. But how do they form, why are there so many types, and what clues can they give us about the weather and climate to come? Try your hand at classifying clouds and investigating the role they play in severe tropical storms.

The RNA Lab

Nature’s best kept secret is a wonder molecule called RNA. It is central to the origin of life, evolution, and the cellular machinery that keeps us alive. In this Lab you’ll play the role of a molecular engineer by solving RNA folding puzzles. Then take your skills to Eterna, where you can design RNAs that could be at the heart of future life-saving therapies.

The Cybersecurity Lab

Take cybersecurity into your own hands. In this Lab, you’ll defend a company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. Your task is to strengthen your cyber defenses and thwart the attackers by completing a series of cybersecurity challenges. You’ll crack passwords, craft code and defeat malicious hackers.

The Evolution Lab

Play this Lab and you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert in phylogenetics––a fancy name for the study of the evolutionary relationships among species. The information and concepts you learn along the way will provide a strong foundation for pursuing any topic in the life sciences, from astrobiology to zoology.

Learn more at pbs.org/nova/labs