Posted: 3 years ago

NASA Space Apps Challenge to take Place at Abastumani Observatory

NASA Space Apps is the world's largest hackathon that takes place in more than 200 locations all over the world and lasts for over 48 hours.

Coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, and all who are enthusiastic and curious come together to address the challenges facing the Earth and space.

The best competitors of the NASA Space Apps Challenge will be considered for the Global Awards.

In its 2nd year, the NASA Space Apps Challenge Abastumani will take place on October 18-20, 2019, in the ISU Abastumani Astrophysical Observatory.

NASA Space Apps Challenge Abastumani is co-organized by the Tbilisi Startup Bureau and ილიას სახელმწიფო უნივერსიტეტი Iliauni (ISU), and is supported by DataFest Tbilisi, Zoomout • ზუმაუთი, and Fablab Iliauni • ფაბლაბ ილიაუნი.

Space Apps is a NASA incubator innovation program.

Who can participate?
Anyone who has an idea, knowledge, skills and passion! You just need to be 18 years old or over as of October 18, 2019.

Which are this year's challenges?
From beaches and salt marshes, to the open ocean, sea ice, and the sea floor, Earth’s oceans are dynamic. This challenge category will ask you to use NASA data to better understand and protect Earth’s oceans.

Internet on the Ocean
The internet is not easily accessible in many areas of the world, like the Earth’s oceans. Fishermen, sailors, and others have limited data connection with the rest of the world. Although satellite internet is widely available, it is very expensive for a user to implement. Your challenge is to design a low-cost method of delivering internet to people located far away on the ocean.

Rising Water
Sea levels are rising around the world, and approximately 40% of the human population lives in coastal zones. Your challenge is to help communicate the impacts of rising oceans by creating a visualization tool that illustrates the changes caused by rising sea levels in your region.

Trash Cleanup
Oceanic garbage patches are collections of marine debris that come together due to ocean currents; they have devastating effects on ocean ecosystems. Your challenge is to design a mission to help clean up garbage from the ocean!

Across human history, our moon has been a faithful beacon to observers of the Earth’s sky. Challenges in this category will ask you to think creatively about our nearest neighbor, and to interpret NASA data and concepts to find solutions.

Dust Yourself Off and Try Again!
The Apollo missions showed us that lunar dust not only clung to everything and was impossible to fully remove, but it was also dangerous to humans and damaging to spacecraft systems. Your challenge is to develop a way to detect, map, and mitigate lunar dust to reduce the effects on astronauts or spacecraft interior systems.

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Sample!
You are the astronaut/robotic mission lead tasked with bringing valuable specimens from the Moon back to Earth for further study. How will you evaluate lunar samples quickly and effectively before or while still on the mission? How will you differentiate samples of potential scientific value from less interesting material?

The Art Side of the Moon
Fifty years ago, generations were inspired when humans made a giant leap and walked on the moon. Today, NASA is committed to returning to the moon and beyond! Your challenge is to create an artistic work to communicate, inform, or inspire others about humanity’s return to the moon.

From our neighboring planets to those only visible through the most powerful telescopes, other planetary bodies have long fascinated scientists, artists, and explorers. This challenge category will ask you to use NASA data to explore the systems of other planets, near and far.

Build a Planet Workshop
Your challenge is to create a game that will allow players to customize the characteristics of a star and design planets that could reasonably exist in that star system. Ensure that this game provides an educational experience for players!

Out of This World!
Create an app to pilot an unmanned aerial system (UAS), such as a NASA space drone, utilizing the 6-axis gyro sensor within a smartphone or tablet. The piloting app can be combined with multiple sensors for flight precision and the best maneuverable flight techniques for off-Earth planetary drones.

The Memory-Maker
Traditional electronics do not work well on Venus, and memory is one of the biggest challenges. Your challenge is to develop mechanical approaches to accomplishing tasks normally done electronically within the context of space exploration.

Raiders of the Lost Data
Help find ways to improve the performance of machine learning and predictive models by filling in gaps in the datasets prior to model training. This entails finding methods to computationally recover or approximate data that is missing due to sensor issues or signal noise that compromises experimental data collection. This work is inspired by data collection during additive manufacturing (AM) processes where sensors capture build characteristics in-situ, but it has applications across many NASA domains.

Whether your interests lie in our solar system or beyond, outer space provides seemingly endless opportunity for study, exploration, and inspiration. Challenges in this category will invite you to think hard and be creative about space science and exploration, whether your viewpoint is scientific, technologic, artistic – or all three!

Beginning with the design or concept of a current aircraft or spacecraft, your challenge is to engineer the design of the first aircraft or spacecraft with no wires, connectors, or penetrations! You may choose to add functions that the original vehicle does not have. Be sure to identify future aerospace applications as specifically as possible.

Orbital Scrap Metal — The Video Game
Nuts, bolts, spent rocket stages, and broken pieces of satellites orbiting Earth are just a few of the many thousands of items known as orbital debris, or space junk. Your challenge is to create an orbital debris collection videogame web-app! You may build upon NASA’s Spacebirds and real data.

The Trans-Neptunian Spaceway
Like the Trans-Siberian Railroad linked remote parts of Asia to the West, the Trans-Neptunian Spaceway (TNS) takes tourists and entrepreneurs to the newly accessible region of our solar system beyond Neptune. Your challenge is to develop marketing materials and/or tools for the Trans-Neptunian Spaceway!

Up, Up, and Away!
Your challenge is to generate a virtual reality environment or game related to the James Webb Space Telescope’s mission. Allow the user to follow Webb on its journey from launch to its final destination in orbit a million miles away from Earth!

The Earth is composed of complicated systems – land, water, air, living things, and the planet itself. Understanding how these systems work together is important. Challenges in this category will ask you to craft solutions using NASA data – a story, a game, a video, any product of your design – that capture what it’s like to live on Earth.

1UP for NASA Earth
Your challenge is to create a new video game that uses NASA Earth data, providing players a novel way to interact and have fun with NASA Earth data. What you create can inform, educate, inspire, or simply provide an enjoyable experience for players – the Earth is your stage!

Down these Green Streets
You are a newly appointed Regional Green Engineer. Your challenge is to develop green infrastructure solutions for complex challenges in water management and risk reduction. Create a tool to assess the characteristics of an urban or rural area of your choice, and integrate green infrastructures, or nature-based solutions, into that region’s development plans to 1) reduce flood and/or drought risk, 2) establish sustainable land use practices, 3) support water management, and/or 4) produce local economic opportunities.

From Curious Minds Come Helping Hands
Your challenge is to design and build an innovative platform to integrate satellite data and information about vulnerable populations and environmental hazards in order to identify the most at-risk populations. Be creative and think outside the box. How will you identify those people that are often missed, but need aid the most?

Set Your Sights High!
NASA builds and operates numerous satellite and airborne missions that deliver critical measurements and data to the world’s science community. Your challenge is to develop a tool that enables people to identify NASA satellites and satellite instruments as they fly over their locations on Earth. Help people explore the data and applications coming from the instruments overhead!

Show Me the Data!
NASA’s open data sources hold an abundance of imagery. Mapping that imagery to a digital globe makes the data interactive and may enable people to discover relationships among ecosystem phenomena. Your challenge is to develop a digital globe web-app that visualizes Earth science data using NASA’s Web WorldWind.

🇺🇳 Smash your SDGs!
Your challenge is to develop creative solutions that use Earth observations to address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and foster sustainable development worldwide. Use NASA and other Earth observing satellites’ data as well as information generated by crowd-sourcing and in-situ measurements to create practical applications that support environmental and societal policy across water, health, food security and/or land use domains.

Spot That Fire V2.0
Your challenge is to create an application that leverages NASA's near-real-time and archival wildfire datasets along with other tools to support firefighting and fire mitigation efforts. This challenge builds on last year’s challenge of the same name by calling for innovative ideas and apps that focus on how to engage and enable citizens to assist with the entire firefighting and fire mitigation process.

Surface-to-Air (Quality) Mission
Your challenge is to integrate NASA data, ground-based air quality data, and citizen science data to create an air quality surface that displays the most accurate data for a location and time. Create algorithms that select or weight the best data from several sources for a specific time and location, and display that information.

 To Bloom or Not to Bloom
Your challenge is to solve the mystery behind algal blooms! What factors cause blooms in some water bodies but not others, and how can we better predict their occurrence to prevent harm to aquatic and human life?

Warming Planet, Cool Ideas
Your challenge is to examine existing space and Earth projects and systems and adapt them into specific technologies that help stabilize or improve the Earth’s weather, and/or eliminate processes that cause global warming. Your solution could be a technology, a movement, an idea – let your imagination have no bounds!

Where the Tall Things Are
Your challenge is to explore planetary surface types around the world and design new data products for types of the terrain beyond ice sheets, sea ice, land, ocean and inland water elevation.

Is the registration individual or by team?
Participants register as individuals, not as teams. You can start to form project teams before the event, or teams may form or add additional members on the first day of the Space Apps event. Regardless of when teams form, participants are not permitted to start working on their solutions until the Space Apps event begins.

Do I have to know English?
Yes, the working language is English, and if your project wins, it will be considered for the Global Awards.

How about logistics?
Transportation from Tbilisi to Abastumani and back, food, and accommodation will be provided by the organizers.

When can I register?
The registration is already open at

The deadline is 23:59 on October 13.

Can I attend the event as a guest?
Yes, the event is open to the public and is free to attend.