NASA unbolts open source space applications challenge

NASA wants open source code-based apps that can address space, environmental challenges

NASA today said it would host an open source-based  application competition that it hopes will deliver a new  generation of software that can address space, weather and economic  issues.

NASA said it will coordinate with other interested space agencies around the world on an International Space Apps Challenge that will encourage scientists and concerned citizens from all seven continents - and in space - to create, build, and invent new applications that can address world-class issues.

More on space: What's hot in space?

From NASA: "The International Space Apps Challenge is an innovative international collaboration that accelerates the development of solutions focused on making government better and addressing critical issues on our planet, such as (but not limited to) weather impacts on the global economy and depletion of ocean resources. The unique challenges NASA faces in spaceflight often result in solutions to issues we see every day here on Earth, and development of these solutions can be expedited when leveraging the expertise and entrepreneurial spirit of those outside government institutions. NASA will work with other interested space agencies around the world to host the International Space Apps Challenge, develop problem statements, and make space data available to support the endeavor."

NASA noted a couple examples of the type of apps it expects to see:

  • Development of a collaborative platform to share early-stage Government technology-based innovations and receive feedback from citizens and commercial stakeholders. The platform will accelerate technology transfer by involving citizens during the initial phases of technology development projects through collaborative problem solving around a shared challenge. It will introduce creative and innovative concepts that could help to evolve government to be more efficient and effective in serving and empowering citizens.
  • A tool to leverage distributed crowdsourcing analysis by citizens to help process, archive, distribute, and visualize data for space exploration related missions. Already a proven method of scientific discovery, NASA and the international space agencies will expand their use and access to additional missions and create a universal platform for community data analysis. This platform will evolve current intergovernmental efforts focused on space exploration and create a vehicle for world-wide open innovation.

In the end the challenge hopes to produce what NASA said would be open source coded applications that anyone across the globe could use.

NASA said the challenge will be based on the successful Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon model which, on average, takes place twice a year in 20 cities around the world engaging more than 2000 citizens per event. Likewise, the International Space Apps Challenge will be held in cities worldwide, at simultaneous locations, to be defined based on interest. No dates were announced.

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