A A panel of judges from NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and partner organizations has selected five ‘best in class’ solutions as winners of the 2013 International Space Apps Challenge.
The challenge, in which participants developed software, hardware, data visualization, and mobile or Web applications that contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth, took place at 83 locations around the world April 20-21.
The winners are:
Best Use of Data: Sol (Kansas City) — Sol is the world’s first interplanetary weather application. Users can select a planet and view the weather there, as they might view the weather on Earth by typing a postal code. The Sol team also built the Mars Atmospheric Aggregation System (MAAS) API, used to fuel several of the Mars weather applications produced during the challenge.
Best Use of Hardware: ISS Base Station (Philadelphia) — ISS Base Station is a hardware-software co-design project both expanding the Spot The Station Web app and allowing for a physical manifestation of its data. The software side of the project consists of a Web app that tracks the position of the International Space Station (ISS) in real time over a map of the world and connects to an augmented-reality iOS app that allows the user to find the station in the sky. The hardware side consists of a physical device that receives data from the app and points at the current location of the space station, lighting up when the station is within the user’s area.
Best Mission Concept: Popeye on Mars (Athens, Greece) — Popeye on Mars is a deployable, reusable spinach greenhouse for Mars. Internally, a fully equipped aeroponic, or air garden, system operates for 45 days, having all the needed resources, sensors, and electronic systems to stabilize the internal environment and help the spinach grow. Also, there are systems for harvesting both the plants and the oxygen produced during the growth process. Photovoltaic panels provide power, while several cover layers protect the system against extreme Mars conditions.
Galactic Impact: Greener Cities (Gothenburg, Sweden) — The Greener Cities Project seeks to complement NASA satellite climate data with crowd-sourced microclimate data, providing higher resolution information for monitoring the environment. The design includes a low-cost garden monitoring sensor, aggregation and normalization of local environmental data, and scaling a global educational initiative for children to encourage interest in programming and the environment.
Most Inspiring: T-10 (London) — T-10 is a prototype mobile application for use on the International Space Station. Astronauts can program in specific points of interest they wish to photograph, and T-10 will alert them shortly before the station is set to fly over that location if the current weather permits photography. The app also can alert astronauts to interesting weather phenomena and upload photos directly to Twitter, as well as alert Earth-based users when the ISS will fly overhead.
Social media users around the world joined the judging action to vote for their favorite projects. The solution with the most public votes, receiving the People’s Choice Award, was ChicksBook. Developed in Sofia, Bulgaria, ChicksBook is a functional web, Android, and iOs application that can help the user learn how to raise chickens and manage the data for a backyard farm.
During the event 770 solutions were submitted and 133 of those were nominated for global judging.
[Image courtesy: NASA]