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Hacking with Purpose? How NASA’s harnessing the global power of hackers to solve real world problems

Last week we told you all about NASA’s new openness plan. One part of that plan revolves around “technology accelerators” — essentially, crowdsourcing.

By opening up its data troves to the world, the space agency hopes that developers across the globe will pitch in and create interesting and useful things with NASA data.

That’s where the International Space Apps Challenge comes in. It’s basically a weekend hackathon with participants from all seven continents. Nick Skytland is NASA’s open Government project manager. The event takes place this week.

Nick Skytland NASA’s open government project manager he told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program how it works.

Nick Skytland talks NASA Hackathon by cdorobek

How it works

  • The International Space Apps Challenge is a “codeathon-style” event. A codeathon is a unique event that brings together citizens interested in collaborating on the development solutions that address critical challenges. A codeathon celebrates software development in its most positive context—using minimal resources and maximum brainpower to create outside- the-box solutions in response to interesting problems.
  • At the events, individuals collaborate with others by forming teams focused on solving a particular challenge. The teams compete with other teams around the world to utilize publicly available space and data to design innovative “solutions” to a pre-determined series of global “challenges.”

How to sign up for this weekend’s hackathon.

Don’t miss our interview Nick last week where we talked about NASA’s new Openness Plan: Model or Manual — How should openness at your agency work?

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