Competitions stories

NASA has been collecting data about the Earth, the solar system, and beyond for over half a century, but it's not always easy to see how all of this data is making our world a better place on the level of people like you and me. The Space Apps Challenge, sponsored by NASA and Innovation Endeavors (an investment firm headed by Google's Eric Schmidt), asked international teams to submit ideas for apps offering solutions to global problems. There were four types of challenges that teams could work on, including software, open hardware, citizen science, and data visualization. Within these broad categories were specific goals: for example, creating an open-source 3D printing platform that works in space or redesigning the Voyager Golden Record for 2012. Thousands of people and organizations ultimately participated in the challenge (which gave them just one single weekend to come up with a demo or pitch), and the results are in. Before you say "ugh, I don't care about apps," take a look at these short videos highlighting the winners, because we're pretty sure you'll want to care about these.