The NASA International Space Apps Challenge – the world’s largest annual hackathon – returns this year with the theme “Make Space,” which emphasizes NASA’s commitment to inclusivity. This year’s challenge will focus on Earth and space science, technology, and exploration. Participant registration for in-person and virtual events is now open through Oct. 2.
Space Apps provides a platform where everyone across the globe with a passion for creativity and innovation can use their unique perspectives to tackle challenges created by NASA experts. The challenges range in skill level, expertise, subject matter, and objective, and span a spectrum of disciplines and interests that range from artificial intelligence and software development to art and storytelling.
“Each year, Space Apps allows thousands to engage with NASA and its partners’ open data during the hackathon,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. “It has been rewarding to see the innovative projects created by Space Apps Challenge participants and observe their potential to generate meaningful contributions toward solving some of the most difficult challenges studied by NASA on Earth and in space.”
Space Apps provides a positive and safe environment that fosters collaboration and a growth mindset. Whether participants are exploring a challenge, learning to be creative, defining team roles, learning a technical skill, or learning to cope with hiccups that arise during challenge weekend, the innovative and flexible structure of this event allows participants to walk away enriched, motivated, and excited about learning.
“Talent is everywhere, but scarcity of opportunity leaves so much talent unused and potential untapped,” said Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division. “There are so many positive stories resulting from this challenge that underscore the value of ‘making space’ for everyone.”
Since its inception in 2012, Space Apps has created and steadily grown a global community held together by the common interest of solving problems and creating impact. The success stories directly resulting from these challenges range from the creation of new products and business ventures, innovative upgrades to existing products, and has helped connect people socially and professionally, giving them access to expertise and insight they otherwise would not have. By connecting teams to challenges and experts from space agencies across the world, participants have access to new opportunities and knowledge that can impact them for a lifetime.
This year NASA is excited to announce the addition of the Indian Space Research Organization and Mexican Space Agency to the roster of space agency partners supporting Space Apps. Valued partners returning from last year include Australian Space Agency, Brazilian Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, ESA (European Space Agency), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, National Space Activities Commission of Argentina, National Space Science Agency of Bahrain, Paraguayan Space Agency, and the South African National Space Agency. Space agency partnership encourages more extensive global collaboration and provides a broader platform for participants to contribute to the fields of Earth and space science and technology through Space Apps.
Space Apps is managed by NASA’s Earth Science Division in the agency’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. It is organized in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, Mindgrub, SecondMuse, and the NASA Open Innovation Applied Sciences Program. Learn more about Space Apps and how to get involved on their website.