Spend Your Weekend Contributing To The Exploration Of Space

Earlier today we posted a link to a tournament NASA is holding. NASA is trying to crowdsource the organization of terabytes of data collected from missions all over the solar system. A few Hackaday readers wrote in (thanks [grbgout] and all the others) to tell us there is an International Space Apps Challenge going on this weekend to crowdsourse solutions to the problems of space flight.

The challenge is the product of a partnership between NASA, the National Science Foundation, the UK  and Japanese Space Agencies and a host of other organizations like GitHub, Yahoo Developer Network, and even a few hackerspaces. The idea behind the challenge is simple: spend a weekend solving software, hardware, and science challenges to improve the state of space sciences.

There are a lot of interesting projects like programming an interface to a NASA mission simulator, figure out how to print 3D objects in space, and even develop the hardware and software for an underwater ROV.

Aside from the fancy software and hardware challenges, there are also some very interesting data visualization problems, like clearly explaining the fact that space is mostly empty. If you can figure out how to tell people they aren’t the center of the Universe, take a shot at it – there’s probably a Nobel in Literature in it for you.

Right now there are dozens of locations on all seven continents and in Low Earth Orbit (McMurdo Station in Antartica and the ISS) that will have people contributing to these projects. Of course you’re free to work out of the home and help scientists, engineers, and researchers reach to the stars.

9 thoughts on “Spend Your Weekend Contributing To The Exploration Of Space

  1. Space based 3d printing.. sounds like a good bend for the MetalicaRap (3d printing with metal) project to take, since one of the major hindrances has been the vacuum chamber.

    1. Maybe a gravityless environment would let you use a completely different method?

      Something with some sort of dust and very precisely controlled static fields? [/vague idea]

      No idea how it would be “set” even if it could be shaped. Would be neat though to have a 3d version of how old photocopiers used to work.

      The other approach could be sonic sculpting in some form. Or maybe a combination and some incredible maths to get interfering waveforms that would form the approximate shape of objects.

  2. Some of those misconceptions are really weird, in fact I don’t know of anyone who believes some of them. Example: “21. The shape of the Moon always appears the same.”
    “46. We do not live on Earth; it is in the sky.”
    “47. We live on the flat middle of a sphere.” WTF does that even mean?

    On the other hand, some of them don’t seem to be misconceptions at all, at most a less-than-fully-accurate explanation. “33. The constellations form patterns clearly resembling people, animals or objects.” I always thought Orion was pretty clear, as are the Dippers. Sure, they don’t look like connect-the-dots.

    Finally, repeated entries: “43. The Sun disappears at night.” “62. Gravity increases with height.”

    It looks like whoever put the list together missed their morning coffee(s).

    1. I take small issue with this, If your meeting some other ships, it’s only polite to orientate yourself to match then. When people meet they generally face each other even though they may approach from any angle.

      There is a defined plane in space anyway, in our solar system its the plane of the ecliptic, outside that you would use the galactic plane, as for up and down, well that one is open to interpretation.

      1. I was thinking of this, but even the defined plane is a very human thing.
        Sure, we can all agree on the “discs” alignment, but I’m not sue why that would only give two possible orientation for “up”.

        I think its just human sensibilities at work there. Alien brains might see it as more logical, for example, to have their ships aligned as if the center of the galaxy was the center of their planet, and their “up” is away from the gravitational center.

        As for politeness, sure….but they even do it when at War with eachother. (ok, Klingons might see it as honorable or something, but Borg? How comes their ships are alwa….oh, wait a minute…)

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