NASA launches contest for apps to mine its databases

Now you can code where no one has coded before. For those interested in doing something different with the possibly of making a little money on the side, NASA is running a tournament to develop new ideas for applications to help mine the agency’s extensive databases.

Cosponsored by TopCoder and NASA’s Tournament lab, the Planetary Data System (PDS) Idea Challenge is calling on interested programmers to come up with new tools to help scientists make better and more efficient use of the space agency’s electronic archives.

The PDS is where all of the data from NASA’s planetary missions is stored, which makes it an essential resource for scientists around the world. This data includes imagery and geolocational information that is peer reviewed and documented in a system on online catalogs, organized by planetary disciplines.

The contest is open to anyone. Entries will be evaluated by NASA and Harvard University judges. The grand prize is $1,000 with a $750 prize for a community vote winner and a $500 award for the three other top ideas.

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