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York hosts international space apps challenge

Posted on 16 April 2013

The University of York is co-hosting a global NASA challenge to help explore the final frontier - space.

The international NASA Space Apps Challenge on 20 and 21 April, which is open to all, will involve designing apps to create solutions to NASA’s real-life challenges on Earth and in space. Taking place simultaneously at over 75 host locations across the world, including York’s Department of Computer Science, the aim is for teams to work together to help solve a selection of the 50 challenges set by NASA.

Challenges range from creating an app to allow observers of a meteor shower to trace the location, colour and size of the shooting star, to exploring the dark side of the moon using available images and data by creating web applications and 3D-printed objects.

The challenge is an international collaboration between government agencies, organisations, academic institutions and individuals from across the globe. Over 2,000 people participated in last year’s event, creating 101 open source solutions to challenges in space and on Earth. This year over 6,000 people have already registered, making this possibly the largest ‘hackathon’ in history.

Frank Soboczenski, a PhD student in York’s Department of Computer Science, is one of the organisers of the York student-led event.

He said: “We’re really excited about hosting Space Apps in York. It is a fantastic opportunity for students, developers, designers and creative minds - everyone who is interested in space and Earth-related sciences – to present their skills and make a difference.

It is a fantastic opportunity for students, developers, designers and creative minds to present their skills and make a difference

Frank Soboczenski

“I participated in last year’s event and it was great fun, as it’s a unique opportunity to work together with people from all over the world. NASA has not just created this event, but they are also involved in every aspect of Space Apps. This means that NASA, its supporting agencies and hundreds of collaborating companies will be watching what you are doing.

“We are also really pleased to have a number of industrial partners and companies working with us at York, both observing and judging the results.“

Between 60 and 80 people are expected to take part in the two-day challenge at York, with additional input from virtual participants from across the UK and beyond. 

The York event is sponsored by the University’s Department of Computer Science, Cybula, ARM, the Met Office, UK Space Agency, Satellite Applications Catapult, GitHub and Media Skunk Works. Several of the sponsors will host stands at the event and provide local prizes, and ARM and Media Skunk Works will act as judges. 

Winning global projects will go on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, with the winning teams receiving special attention from NASA to further develop their app.   

The NASA Space Apps Challenge will take place from 10am on Saturday, 20 April until 5pm on Sunday, 21 April. The challenge is open to anyone interested in helping humankind explore space. To join the challenge at York visit Follow on Facebook at or Twitter @SpaceAppsYork

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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