space apps challenge

NASA hackathon takes off in Pasadena

The NASA Space Apps Challenge, a two-day hackathon that’s one of the largest in the world, took place earlier this month in over 20 different countries. Citizen engagement was a key goal, but at the "main stage"  hackathon in Pasadena, Calif., some notable code was produced as well.

The mobile-friendly Scintilla air quality web portal took first place in the Pasadena hackathon. It uses the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index algorithm and NASA satellite data to calculate a real time air-quality score for every location on Earth. Scintilla also uses social media to collect local, real time human sentiment on air pollution across the globe.

The second-place winner also addressed air quality, but for astronauts. The Jarvis Particle Sensor monitors and communicates particle readings in volume to the Azure Cloud, where it can be processed in near real time. “It was a great event we had," Rob Lalumondier, Intel’s federal director and one of the judges, told GCN. "More than 100 people took part locally, and there was an expectation of about 17,000 participants worldwide.” As a sponsor to the Pasadena hackathon, Intel made its Edison development boards and Grove starter kits available to participants. Other sponsors of that lcoal event included Socrata and Supplyframe.

“It’s really inspiring to see an event like this,” Lalumondier said. “Some of the challenges we face aren’t a U.S. problem, these are international issues we will face as we go forward in space exploration.”

Part of NASA’s Open Innovation Initiative, the hackathon is an effort to foster innovation across the globe encouraging coders, artists and storytellers to connect through mission-related challenges. This was NASA's fifth annual space apps challenge.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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