NASA wants you and your smartphone to help it address global problems. On Sept. 20, the agency announced the International Space Apps Competition asking scientists, engineers, and ordinary citizens to develop apps for smartphones, desktops, and websites that use publicly released scientific data to study things like weather-related hazards and other pressing issues.
As the competition’s website states: Today’s computers significantly outstrip the capabilities of computers aboard Apollo-era rockets that took man to the moon. So why not utilize those distributed resources, along with human ingenuity, to create practical applications that benefit humanity?
Developers are asked to get involved and come up with ideas that make use of NASA’s large database in novel ways. Users could take advantage of the agency’s Earth Observatory or Interactive Global Geostationary Weather Satellite Images. The challenge will culminate in a two-day event in 2012 that will showcase the best of the user-generated applications.
Already, new plans are being posted to website. One user suggests using satellite imaging data to study growth patterns around cities and plan infrastructure for future growth, while another proposes creating a public catalog of Earth science observations to assist in climate modeling and weather analysis.
Image: NASA satellite observations of Typhoon Roke nearing mainland Japan. (NASA GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz)