Technology buffs unite in Chile for International SpaceApps Challenge

Participants from the world over collaborate in an attempt to solve important issues facing the plane

This year’s SpaceApps Challenge in Santiago was an out of this world success. Photo via Space Apps_CL / Facebook
This year’s SpaceApps Challenge in Santiago was an out of this world success. Photo via Space Apps_CL / Facebook

Scientists, designers, entrepreneurs and developers from all over the world gathered in Chile for the second year running last month for the 2014 version of the International SpaceApps Challenge.

The two-day hackathon — organized by NASA — took place April 12 and 13 and enabled visitors to collaborate and engage using publicly available data to design innovative solutions for global challenges.

Each of the problems addressed was applicable to both life on Earth and in space. Chile and Santiago participated along with the other 46 countries and 93 cities around the world during the 48-hour event. Supported the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María’s Computer Science Department, the hackathon was hosted in the campus grounds.

Consisting of five themes — Earth Watch, Technology in Space, Human Spaceflight and Robotics and Asteroids — NASA leads the annual global collaboration together with a number of government partners and over 100 local organizations.

The Space Apps Challenge focuses on the exploration of space, in a unified effort, relying upon diversity of experience and perspective from all those who take part, in order to better solve problems.

Transparency and the free flow of information is an important aspect of the event, with data supplied through previous NASA missions and research. The talent and skill of passionate volunteers from around the globe is also a vital cog in the machine, striving to advance space exploration and improve the quality of life on Earth.

By acknowledging the fact that the world is facing serious challenges, all those in attendance come together on a yearly basis to unify their skills in an attempt to approach and ultimately solve these pressing issues. Prizes are handed out for impressive solutions.

The winning teams included Team 26, consisting of David Rabanus, his 13-year-old son Anton Rabanus and fellow teenager Andrés Parra, who developed the “DNA-asteroiddetectionwork project” in the Asteroids category.

Technology in Space was won by Team 5, led by Argentine Pablo Carranza. The team rose to the challenge of building a nano satellite, and focused on the development of hardware, communications and data detection.

With Chile often praised for its brilliant stargazing skies the country was a more than suitable host for the occasion. There are a range of high-tech observatories scattered throughout the Atacama Region, in Northern Chile, where scientists and astronomers are constantly making important discoveries.