NASA awards crowdsourcing contracts

NASA awards crowdsourcing contracts

NASA is using crowdsourcing to tackle the computing challenges of space exploration through 10 new Open Innovation Service contracts, which will be worth $20 million over five years.

The challenges will be managed by the NASA Tournament Lab, which offers an on-line virtual facility for researchers to "order" an algorithm or software just like they would order laboratory tests or supplies, NASA said.

The first challenge will be to seek new algorithms to improve NASA’s dexterous humanoid robot known as Robonaut, which can perform simple repetitive tasks in dangerous environments and navigate terrain faster and with less effort than humans can.  Future challenges will seek help in developing improved textiles for planetary exploration spacesuits and other useful technologies as NASA continues its evolvable Journey to Mars strategy.

The 10 award winners are:

  • Appiro, San Francisco
  • HeroX PBC, Chicago
  • InnoCentive, Waltham, Mass.
  • Kaggle, San Francisco
  • Luminary Labs, New York
  • NineSigma, Cleveland, Ohio
  • OpenIDEO, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Patexia, Santa Monica, Calif.
  • The Common Pool, Santa Monica, Calif.
  • Tongal, Santa Monica, Calif.

“This approach is designed to enlist the public’s help in tackling some of the most pressing problems facing NASA and other government agencies,” said Jason Crusan, NASA’s director of the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation. “NASA will use these challenges and the global nature of the Internet to tap into the diverse intellects and talents available around the world.”

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.


  • business meeting (Monkey Business Images/

    Civic tech volunteers help states with legacy systems

    As COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in state and local government IT systems, the newly formed U.S. Digital Response stepped in to help. Its successes offer insight into existing barriers and the future of the civic tech movement.

  • data analytics (

    More visible data helps drive DOD decision-making

    CDOs in the Defense Department are opening up their data to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that help surface insights and improve decision-making.

Stay Connected