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Take Action From Home in the 2020 Space Apps Hackathon

Registration is open for the Space Apps Challenge 2020 Hackathon, which will take place virtually October 2-4.

Emily Cassidy, NASA ESDS Science Writer

NASA, along with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), invite you to "Take Action" from home on October 2-4, as part of the 9th annual Space Apps Challenge.

Since its inception in 2012, NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge has become the world’s largest global hackathon. The hackathon engages thousands of citizens across the globe to use open data from NASA and partner space agencies to build innovative solutions to the real-world challenges we face on Earth and in space. The 2019 hackathon was the largest ever, bringing together more than 29,000 participants in 71 countries.

Registration is open for the 2020 Space Apps Challenge, which will take place virtually on October 2-4.

Registration is open for the 2020 Space Apps Challenge, an international hackathon that will take place virtually on October 2-4.

The theme of this year’s event is "Take Action," a reminder that you can be a part of the solution to our world's challenges. Registration is open to anyone interested in the hackathon. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be an all-virtual event. Interested participants can join the Universal Event from anywhere in the world, or you can search for a "local virtual" event near you.

Descriptions of the challenges in this year’s competition have been posted on the Space Apps website. They are divided into six categories: Observe, Inform, Sustain, Create, Confront, and Connect. Participants are also invited to invent their own challenge, but these challenges will not be eligible for global judging or awards from NASA.

Many of the challenges invite participants to explore open data from Earth-observing satellites. Some examples include:

  • Scanning for Lifeforms
    This challenge addresses a pressing global need to track change in biological diversity, which is threatened by human-driven environmental change. Use space agency data to develop innovative ways to detect biological diversity on Earth, track and predict changes over time, and communicate that information to scientists and society.
  • Home Planet at Your Fingertips
    Develop a user-friendly application or tool to discover, visualize, and analyze NASA Earth data for monitoring our home planet.
  • What is our Carbon Footprint?
    Your challenge is to identify local sources of carbon emissions and/or estimate amounts of carbon emissions for different human activities to aid scientists in mapping carbon sources and sinks. How can you inform decisions to adapt to the consequences of a changing world and aid policy makers in making plans for the future?
  • Mission to Planet Earth: A Digital History
    NASA’s activities in space have brought new knowledge of the Earth, inspiring new ways of thinking about humanity and the planet. However, many people aren’t aware that NASA studies the Earth in addition to other planets. Your challenge is to tell stories of NASA’s Earth science enterprise using interactive digital tools. This will test your technical skills and your ability to think like a historian or educator.
  • Spot That Fire V3.0
    Recent wildfires worldwide have demonstrated the importance of rapid wildfire detection, mitigation, and community impact assessment analysis. Your challenge is to develop and/or augment an existing application to detect, predict, and assess the economic impacts from actual or potential wildfires by leveraging high-frequency data from a new generation of geostationary satellites, data from polar-orbiting environmental satellites, and other open-source datasets.
  • Data Discovery for Earth Science
    Websites like NASA's Earth Observatory showcase the many uses of satellite data to highlight interesting natural events. This challenge will ask you to devise a tool or technique to guide users to relevant datasets to study specific events.

The success of the first all-virtual hackathon—the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge, which took place in May, 2020—demonstrated that a virtual event can foster the innovation and collaboration of an in-person hackathon. Over 1,400 projects were produced from 15,000+ participants joining from 150 countries. Awards and recognition for this challenge are listed on the COVID-19 Challenge site.

Check out the 2020 Space Apps Challenge website at spaceappschallenge.org for more information about registration, and to find "local virtual" locations where you can participate.

Published September 11, 2020

Page Last Updated: Sep 11, 2020 at 2:11 PM EDT