NASA holds a hackathon and more than 9,000 people contribute 770 apps, pointing to a shift in acceptance of open software development practices in government.
Agencies rely on satellites more than ever, but it's getting crowded up there.
It was viewed not long ago as the violent realm of teenage activity, but agencies are embracing gamification as a powerful tool for education, training and outreach.
Scientists at NASA's JPL are using gaming to build tele-exploration platforms, letting PC and Xbox Kinect users drive the rovers that navigate the Red Planet.
The space agency has been using its Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter to map the moon's surface, which made it a perfect platform to test out laser communications across space.
The failed attempt to successfully petition the White House to build a Death Star nevertheless highlights a worthwhile way to use technology to engage the public.