NASA to Bring Space Down to Earth

April 16, 2012 By IdeaConnection

The American space Agency NASA has a colossal 100 terabyte library of images and data collected from three decades worth of research – the Planetary Data System (PDS) archive.

To make this more accessible to the public it has announced an open call crowdsourcing competition to create some awesome new mobile and web-based apps.

NASA hopes that with this kind of data at everybody’s fingertips remarkable discoveries will be just round the corner. Copernicus didn’t even have a telescope as they hadn’t been invented in his day, so what could you do with 30 years of NASA research accessible through your iPad or smartphone?

To get ideas off the launch pad there’s an incentive of $13,000 in cash awards.  Other prizes include a visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California to watch the Mars Science Laboratory mission landing, and an opportunity to meet the astronaut-led judging panel (which includes Dr. John Grunsfeld, former astronaut and leader of Science at NASA).

The competition is part of the PDS Challenge series and is being organised by the NASA Tournament Lab in collaboration with TopCoder, and is for apps that can be used by nontechnical users such as children, teachers, parents and anyone with an interest in space.

“There is a huge untapped potential for the extraction of knowledge and insight from within the PDS archive which could be transformed by average people from different, non-scientific walks of life,” said Jason Crusan, NASA Chief Technologist for Human Exploration and Operations.

“These kinds of Challenges are being made to produce useful tools which will allow, for example, high school-level students to access, organize and make their own discoveries from this huge volume of digital data.”

A quartet of Saturn's moons, from tiny to huge, surround and are embedded within the planet's rings in this Cassini composition. NASA

Prize Money and Entry

There are a number of cash awards on offer. Five top solutions in the High School category will each earn $500.00, and the two top teaching tool solutions will earn $7,000 and $3, 000 respectively.

Competition registration is open now through 6:00 pm Eastern Friday, April 20 at

Share on      
Next Post »

Add your Comment

[LOGIN FIRST] if you're already a member.

fields are required.

Note: Your name will appear at the bottom of your comment.