Birmingham City University teams up with NASA for global hackathon

The Space Apps Challenge will see teams tackle some of the biggest challenges facing Earth and Space via NASA’s open data projects and platforms

Birmingham City University (BCU) is partnering with NASA and other space agencies to host hackathon event for cyber-fans worldwide.

The Space Apps Challenge will take place on 2 and 3 October, and players around the world will use data from the US space programme, as well as information from the Australian Space Agency (ASA), Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the European Space Agency (ESA), to develop solutions to some of the most pressing issues threatening Earth and Space.

This will be the event’s 10th year, having already recorded more than 150,000 participants in over 150 countries.

“Over the last 10 years,” said Kevin Murphy, chief data officer at NASA, “open data has been the cornerstone of Space Apps. Thanks to open innovation programmes like Space Apps, the public around the globe knows that NASA’s vast data archives are freely available to browse online. We are delighted to be working with BCU on this mission. A key part of our mission is to work with regions all over the world and populations that are underrepresented in the STEM fields, such as women and girls.”

“A key part of our mission is to work with regions all over the world and populations that are underrepresented in the STEM fields, such as women and girls” – Kevin Murphy, NASA

Members of BCU’s STEAMHack community will also take part this October. The STEAMHack programme, led by associate professor in computing and director of innovative pedagogy, Rehan Bhana, is designed to stimulate and advance a range of skills, including coding, science, design, storytelling, critical thinking, and more to boost satisfaction and participation in such disciplines as science, technology, arts, medicine, engineering and maths.

Umar Daraz, director of innovation and one of three NASA Space Apps Challege local leads in the UK city, commented: “I am thrilled to have been asked to join the NASA global community, off the back of our STEAMHack team, including student lead Siddharth Joshi and Rehan Bhan, successfully pitching ideas to NASA in March 2021.

“We believe passionately that Space Apps inspires local communities to come together and think creatively. There will be an opportunity to access NASA open data, interact with participants over hackathon weekend, record video tutorials, and help co-ordinate local events.”

Participants who create the winning ideas could well be invited to visit a NASA rocket launch in the US.

The virtual hackathon is free and open to all, regardless of prior experience. To register for NASA’s global Space Apps Challenge, click here.

In other news: Education sector saw highest volume of cyber-attacks in July


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