Our top 5 picks from The International Space Apps Challenge

Date:5 July 2013 Tags:, , , , , , ,

The International Space Apps Challenge was a mass collaboration that took place over 48-hours in cities all around the world. The focus was on space exploration, and the aim was to produce relevant open-source solutions, in the form of apps, to address global needs. NASA led this global collaboration, with the main focus being on highly engaged collaboration, and seeing what the outcome would be. The Space Apps Challenge was organised into over 50 challenges that needed to be addressed, participants then chose which challenge they would like to try and create a solution for, and started collaborating with other people. Over 9000 people participated in this global project, and we’ve chosen just a few of our favourite concepts. Here they are:

1.       Catch a Meteor 
The app was created to help solve the “Catch a Meteor” Tracker challenge.

‘Catch a Meteor ’ is a project that is in the form of an Android application which allows users to track their own observations of meteors by pointing their device in the direction they saw it. The main contribution of this app is that soon it will allow anyone to report meteor sightings to scientific organisations, thereby giving everyone the opportunity to contribute to science.

This app was developed with amateurs and experienced observers in mind, so it also provides tips and hints on how to maximise your observations. The application basically gathers the dates, times and details about the upcoming meteor showers. The main feature of the application is the interactive 3D space map. This app also received a global nomination at the event in Melbourne.

This project was developed to help solve the “Backyard Poultry Farmer” challenge.

As it says in the video, NASA is not only a program about space exploration, but is also about improving the level of life on our own planet. This team from Bulgaria has developed an app that helps people to learn to raise their own chickens. It is easy to use and shows you how to manage your own backyard mini-farm. Chicksbook has tips and guidelines for how to raise your own chickens, and how to make the most out of your backyard farm. It was voted the People’s Choice prize.

3.       Road to the Stars
This project is solving the Why We Explore” challenge.

The Road to The Stars was created by a team that set out to visually map out the pathway that humans have travelled as we have discovered more and more about our solar system. It is a tool that we can use to learn about and teach space history. It was also designed with the intention of engaging students and exciting them about space exploration. The map itself also includes a full lesson plan and a web-based learning tool.

4.    OTG York
This project addresses the “Off the Grid” challenge

This concept aims to expand on the idea of an environmental impact calculator. OTG York ultimately wants to create a global network where people can calculate, store, edit and share their environmental impact profiles. The app will also provide users with helpful tips and advice on how to reduce their own individual impact. Users can also compare their use to that of other people, or even countries.

5.       Space Cadets
This project was created to address the “3D Printing” challenge

Space Cadets utilizes the concept of crowd sourcing and 3D printing in order to help find solutions to problems  encountered in space travel. The team developed a website called Ideasphere that allows people on a global scale to contribute their own solutions to difficulties faced by people in space. The way Ideasphere works is that when people in space encounter technical or human-centred difficulties, they log the problem onto the website, and 3D printable solutions can be crowd-sourced from Earth and sent back to space from mission control. It connects people on earth and in space, and the main idea is to encourage interaction with space travel, and to reignite people’s passion for the exploration of the solar system.

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