International Space Apps Challenge: The Space Science Hackathon!

SpaceAppsSpace Agencies across the world are working on some incredible projects be it India’s Mars Mission or ESA’s Comet Chasing Spacecraft or NASA’s Internet experiment with Lasers! Their dreams are anything but small. Their ideas are Cool but what would be even more cooler is an “Open Source Space Mission”! Imagine the entire world working on a mission to the Sun!

The International Space Apps Challenge is the closed thing to that wish coming true! A NASA Incubator Innovation Program – The International Space Apps Challenge is a two day hackathon that is scheduled for April 12-13, 2014. Last year this event was “the largest hackathon in the history” with 9000 participants in 44 countries competing against one another building awesome apps, software and hardware projects that literally put “NASA data” in the spotlight. The objective was to create applications that NASA and the world could use.

This year, the event is scheduled for the second week of April (12-13) in several locations across the world and virtually as well. Registrations are scheduled to open early March. NASA is expected to come up with problems that they would like the Hackathon participants to work on sometime later this month. If last year’s apps are anything to go by, this is going to be one “geoawesome” event! Here’s the link to the News Section of the Contest. 

Mark your calendars and set your reminders – The Space Apps Challenge is going to be an out-of-the-world experience!

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Water on Mars?

We have had this question for a while now. It is more like, someone please tell me what went on  that planet, and why are we spending billions of dollars to explore it? Simple answer is we want to know what might happen to our little blue ball in the future. And if we happen to understand Mars, may be we might find a way to better understand our own unpredictable fate! 

We have some clues now, and when they put it as “clues” they really want to stress the word there. Researchers in Georgia Institute of Technology have found some strong “clues” about the seasonal features called “recurring slope lineae” (RSL) on Mars. As Latin as it sounds, RSL are features indicating flow and a hot topic among red planet researchers. NASA’s Mars orbiter has returned these clues which might be the strongest indication of liquid water that might exist on the planet today!!

 

“We still don’t have a smoking gun for existence of water in RSL, although we’re not sure how this process would take place without water,” said Lujendra Ojha, a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The leading hypothesis for these features is the flow of near-surface water, kept liquid by salts depressing the freezing point of pure water. “The flow of water, even briny water, anywhere on Mars today would be a major discovery, impacting our understanding of present climate change on Mars and possibly indicating potential habitats for life near the surface on modern Mars,” said Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Scientist Richard Zurek.

If you are still reading this post, you might really want to check the whole news article published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Click here and get excited!

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