6:30am

Thu April 4, 2013
Science

Upstate universities to be NASA competition sites

Two upstate universities have been chosen as host sites for the international NASA space apps challenge. The challenge, taking place this month, brings together collaborators in 41 different countries to solve some of the toughest challenges facing space exploration and society.

Syracuse University and Rochester Institute of Technology are among 18 US locations selected to participate in the international competition. Worldwide, 75 locations have been chosen as host sites.

The 48-hour event calls on citizens of all backgrounds to come together to solve real problems facing life on earth and in space, RIT’s Remy DeCausemaker says.

The competition will take place on April 20 – 21, and is open to all members of the community. During the event, participants with a broad variety of skills will work in teams to create open-source solutions for 50 software, hardware and visualization challenges. These cross over the fields of robotics, citizen science platforms and applications of remote sensing data according to organizers.

Challenges will range from working on an app to compare earth’s landscapes to neighboring planets, to creating a deployable greenhouse that could be taken to Mars.

“Designers, developers, hackers, journalists, teachers, students, children, folks from all over the world are contributing to projects and trying to solve challenges that are posted by NASA to solve real-world problems,” says DeCausemaker.

DeCausemaker says the two universities want to collaborate during the challenge to allow the Rochester and Syracuse communities to share ideas.

“We’ve been talking with those folks about how we can collaborate together on different challenges as a team, doing things like video presence between the conferences and getting our students and their communities to work together to solve real world problems.”

DeCausemaker says all solutions developed during the competition will be released under free and open licenses.