NASA mission priorities were explored by five winners of the 2014 International Space Apps Challenge, a worldwide “hackathon” to spark innovation with direct application to future space missions and improve life on Earth.
NASA judges have selected five challenge winners, and the global social media community selected a People’s Choice fan favorite. The competition took place at 95 locations around the world April 11 to 12. More than 8,000 participants developed software, hardware, data visualizations, and mobile or Web applications for the challenge.
This year, nearly 40 challenges represented NASA priorities in five themes: Earth Watch, Technology in Space, Human Spaceflight, Robotics and Asteroids.
The challenge categories and winners are:
— Alert-Alert challenge: SkyWatch, selected as the Best Use of Data, was created at Space Apps Toronto. The SkyWatch app is a visual representation of data collected from observatories around the world in near real time. The app provides telescope coordinates of celestial events, and plots the location through Google Sky. Users can subscribe or filter sky alerts, and share them through social media.
NASA continues to build on our nation’s record of breathtaking and compelling scientific discoveries and achievements in space, with science missions that will reach far into our solar system, reveal unknown aspects of our universe and provide critical knowledge about our home planet.
— PhoneSat challenge: Android Base Station, selected as the Best Use of Hardware, was created at Space Apps London to transform a smart phone into wifi hotspot by connecting to satellites using a 3-D printed receiver. This automated, ultra-portable, satellite tracking station can log changes in micro-satellites in orbit.
NASA’s deep space exploration program is driving the development of new technologies. PhoneSats are another way NASA is innovating new technologies to support the missions of tomorrow.
— Space Wearables challenge: Aurora Wearables, selected as the Best Mission Concept, was created at Space Apps Exeter as a collaboration between artists, fashion designers, technologists, and software developers. This internet-connected spacesuit is designed for astronauts to wear on the International Space Station and beyond.
The International Space Station demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. It is proving many of the technologies and communications systems needed for human missions to deep space, including Mars.
— Earth as Art challenge: Yorbit, selected as Most Inspiring, was created at Space Apps Kansas City as a way to search, personalize, and share the stunning photographs captured by NASA satellites orbiting high above Earth. Searching by date and image, users can choose images from unique maps and write message on the image to share using social media or email.
NASA’s innovative leadership in Earth and climate science includes a constantly expanding view of our planet from space, an exceptional team of experts, and decades of innovative scientific and technical research.
— My Sky Color challenge: SkySnapper, selected for greatest Galactic Impact, was created at Space Apps London to measure air quality by snapping photos of the sky. Crowd-sourced sky images are mapped to assess air pollution by sky color to spot polluted areas and monitor progress over time.
NASA’s existing fleet of satellites, airborne missions, and researchers, and its five new Earth science this year missions will help answer some of the critical challenges facing our planet today and in the future, including climate change.
Social media users around the world joined the contest as judges, voting for their favorite projects. People’s Choice Award winner Space Helmet, created by Space Apps Valencia, received the highest score based on a formula that took into account the number of tweets, unique users and timeline deliveries.
All award finalists were nominated at the local level from among the local winners. Submissions for global judging were required to create a 30-second video to describe the project solution.
To learn more about the International Space Apps Challenge and recent winners, visit: http://spaceappschallenge.org
For information about NASA’s programs and missions, visit: http://www.nasa.gov