1. NASA's 2018 International Space Apps Challenge: October 19-21

NASA's 2018 International Space Apps Challenge: October 19-21

The world’s largest hackathon challenges teams from around the world to collaboratively use NASA data to create open-source solutions to challenges for living on Earth and in space.

NASA International Space Apps Challenge

Calling all coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, problem-solvers, and anyone enthusiastic about addressing challenges faced on Earth and in space: The world’s largest hackathon is coming soon to a location near you! NASA's 2018 International Space Apps Challenge takes place at more than 100 global locations - including virtually - October 19 through 21.

hackathon definition

Over an exciting 48 hours, teams work collaboratively developing open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and in space based on specific challenges. Last year’s hackathon brought together more than 25,000 participants at 187 event locations across six continents. This year’s event features teams at locations ranging from Abia State, Nigeria, to Zaragoza, Spain (as well as virtual participants who can be located just about anywhere on Earth).

This year’s theme is “Earth & Space,” and features challenges in six categories:

  • Can you build a . . .: Challenges in this category ask you to use NASA data to develop apps to creatively solve problems and show how you would create items ranging from buildings, to robotic helpers, to tools for citizen science.
  • Help others discover the Earth: Challenges in this category ask you to craft an app using NASA data that helps people discover how Earth works.
  • Volcanoes, icebergs, and asteroids (oh my): These challenges ask you to analyze NASA data to develop apps that help anticipate, monitor, and recover from surprise events.
  • What the world needs now is . . .: These challenges ask you to develop apps to tackle problems affecting some important aspect of life in this world (or on others), and to interpret NASA data and concepts creatively to help find solutions.
  • An icy glare: This challenge category asks you to use NASA data to develop apps to better understand, monitor, and interpret Earth’s (or another planet’s!) cryosphere.
  • A universe of beauty and wonder: Challenges in this category invite you to think hard and be creative about space science and exploration, whether your view is scientific, technologic, artistic, or all three.

Many of this year’s challenges require participating teams to use and incorporate NASA Earth science data or use services available through NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). EOSDIS provides end-to-end capabilities for managing NASA’s Earth science data collection. These data represent some of the most complex and diverse Earth science datasets on the planet, and are acquired from satellites, aircraft, field measurements, and numerous other programs. Through the EOSDIS Land, Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) system, data are even available within hours of a satellite observation—a great resource for tracking on-going events (such as volcanic eruptions or ice movement).

Participants creating apps addressing challenges in the Help Others Discover Earth, An Icy Glare, or What the World Needs Now . . . categories will want to check out the EOSDIS Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS), which provides API access to more than 700 satellite imagery products that can be interactively explored using the EOSDIS Worldview satellite imagery visualization application. Looking for a specific data product? Searching through the entire EOSDIS archive (more than 26 petabytes [PB] of data!) is fast and easy using Earthdata Search.

Since NASA's International Space Apps Challenge is a (friendly) competition, there are prizes. Judging takes place at each Challenge location (including virtual teams) and apps are evaluated based on impact, creativity, validity, relevance, and presentation. Each local event can nominate up to two projects to advance to global judging. In addition, local awards also may be available.

Space Apps dude

There is no charge to participate in NASA's International Space Apps Challenge; all that is required to join in the fun is a simple registration. Are you up to the challenge? For more information, to register, and for updates as the event approaches, check out NASA's Space Apps Challenge website (https://2018.spaceappschallenge.org), Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/spaceapps), or Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/spaceappschallenge).

Published October 5, 2018

Last Updated: Oct 28, 2019 at 1:56 PM EDT