NASA Is Sponsoring One of the Biggest Hackathons the World Has Ever Seen

The International Space Apps Challenge will take place April 22-24.

Joe Raedle / Staff

NASA has always been enthusiastic about public outreach, but it’s only been during the last few years that its efforts have blossomed into much more than trotting out retired astronauts to speak at schools or televising space launches.

The space agency is making a concerted effort to get ordinary citizens to actively contribute to space exploration and research.

The latest knot in this string of citizen science initiatives is the International Space Apps Challenge — a NASA-sponsored hackathon taking place April 22-24. The main event takes place in Pasadena, California — yet there will be local events in 193 other locations across 72 different countries.

Basically, NASA is calling for people with a knack for developing mobile apps, software and hardware design, data visualization, and digital platform solutions to design, build, and present any kind of creative projects they believe could contribute to and help advance space exploration.

Over 200 data sets and tools will be available to participants, who choose to engage in a wide variety of hacker- and computer-oriented challenges. The main stage at Pasadena will host 26 different challenges in six different mission-related categories: aeronautics, Earth, International Space Station, Mars missions, the solar system and interstellar space, and space technology.

Not all of the events require you to be a tech-savvy coder. NASA will also host events and challenges designed to educate and introduce young people to the world of do-it-yourself tech, including a Data Bootcamp open to public which will teach participants new coding skills and data utilization tricks.

Check out the Space Apps Challenge’s website for more information and for a full list of challenges that will take place over the three day hackathon.

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