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PA OPINION

Help us bring ingenuity to life through NASA’s Space Apps Challenge

Every year, teams of young technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, developers and students from across the globe come together for NASA’s Space Apps Challenge to design innovative solutions for global challenges on Earth and in space. The hackathon provides a global stage to experience innovative collaboration with 18,000 participants across 200 locations in 75 countries.

Having both participated in and hosted the event over previous years, we’re yet again set to host the challenge on 19-20 October in our Belfast office. This year’s theme is ‘exploring near and far’, with the following categories:

  • Earth’s oceans
  • our Moon
  • planets near and far
  • to the stars
  • living in our world.

At PA, we believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world. While we strive to create that future through everything we do with clients, we also volunteer our time to encourage others to innovate and make a real difference. That’s where our work with NASA’s hackathon comes in.

In 2014, we won the Galactic Impact Award for our SkySnapper air quality tool. And the winners of the PA-hosted 2017 challenge have gone on to turn their invention, a wearable that detects toxic gases, into a business. While the idea originally came from the problem of astronauts getting trapped in a bubble of exhaled CO2 when in zero gravity, the wearable has applications for mining on Earth – the 21st century equivalent of the canary in the coalmine.

In our first year of hosting in Belfast, we had two finalists. Our ideas included a blockchain interplanetary card game, Decentraverse, that utilised Hubble telescope data, and an online game, MELT!, designed to raise awareness of global warming and its impact to the planets cryosphere. And one of our teams was named as one of the top 25 entrants globally.

We hope to see more incredible ideas and inventions that’ll help build a positive human future, from the sea to the solar system, at the upcoming 2019 Challenge.

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