Get Your Code On – The NASA International Space Apps Challenge is coming

Space Apps ChallengeGet ready to flex your fingers and exercise your brain. Next month from April 20-21 NASA is hosting the International Space Apps Challenge – a 48-hour global hackathon. Everyone and anyone is welcome to attend.

The International Space Apps Challenge is a 2 day technology development event during which citizens from around the world will work together to solve current challenges relevant to both space exploration and social need.”

There are currently over 75 cities around the world hosting in-person events, including one extraordinary location orbiting the Earth onboard the International Space Station. These in-person events, which are independently organized by local volunteers, provide the opportunity to interact and collaborate with fellow participants. However, if there’s not a venue near you, or you think best when you’re in your own environment, you can also contribute to the event virtually from your own location, perhaps even gathering a group of friends to create your own mini-event. To participate, either in-person or virtually, simply visit the Space Apps website – spaceappschallenge.org – and register.

You don’t have to be a ‘space’ professional to contribute, nor do you need to be an expert programmer. The objective of the event is to bring together a diverse group of people with a varied range of skills and backgrounds that have “a passion for changing the world and are willing to contribute.” Last year’s event, which numbered more than 2000 participants, received contributions from an assorted array of scientists, engineers, artists, writers, entrepreneurs and many more. All that’s required is a spirit of innovation.

Participants in the App Challenge are encouraged to work as teams, but can also work alone, to “solve challenges relevant to improving life on Earth and life in space.” Top solutions from each location will be entered in the global competition, where winners will be awarded prizes and recognition for their achievements. A list of suggested challenges will be posted on the event website in the near future. In the meantime, current suggestions for this year’s event include:

  • “Help tell the ‘why’ of space exploration through the creation of compelling narratives and visualizations of the stories and data from NASA’s history.”
  • “Design a CubeSat (or constellation of CubeSats) that can utilize extra space onboard future robotic Mars missions to help us understand more about the Red Planet.”
  • “Help revitalize antiquated data by creating open source tools to transform, display, and visualize data.”

But this is just a small sample of the challenges yet to come. Perhaps you also have your own ideas and would like to develop your own unique contribution. This too is welcomed. And you can even get started in advance (but the bulk of the work should be completed the weekend of the event) so that you have a head start and hit the ground running.

So grab your favorite laptop, tablet, or other device and get comfortable. It’s time to code. Good luck everyone!

For more on the NASA Space Apps Challenge: http://spaceappschallenge.org  

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