Greetings from Toronto! We’re on the eve of Space Apps 2014 in 95+ locations around the world. This is our third year, and my first. After a six-month sprint to get Space Apps off the ground with a new team, I feel privileged to be here – both representing NASA, and learning how Space Apps works at the local level. The extremely enthusiastic and seasoned organizers of Space Apps Toronto have an awesome line-up of events. Host James Costa and his team have scheduled every waking moment of my time here, and I’m eager to get started. I have much to learn from Space Apps Mission Controllers here on the ground in Toronto.
Space Apps is part of our Open Gov initiative to release NASA datasets, engage the public with our data, and, if we get this right, unlock out-of-this-world innovation. We hope to cultivate, nurture, and harvest the talented solver community to address challenges facing us collectively as global citizens of our amazing home planet Earth. Space Apps allows us to come together with friends, family, and colleagues around the world, and forge new relationships with each other collectively as solvers.
The main stage this year will be held in New York City. NASA’s Deputy Chief Information Officer Deborah Diaz and Astronaut Doug Wheelock will be kicking off the weekend in New York, along with 200+ local students and educators. Doug and Deborah will take part in our Space Apps Google+ hangout Saturday morning, joined virtually by ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli, NASA Chief Scientist Dr. Ellen Stofan, and NASA Grand Challenge Asteroid Hunter Jason Kessler from Baltimore. I’ll have the opportunity to moderate the discussions and take questions via social media from here in Toronto. If you have any questions, tweet them to @SpaceApps using the #AskAstro hashtag.
Members of our new Open Innovation team will participate at local events around the country. John Sprague is heading out to Seattle, Griffin Wholley to Atlanta and Athens, Ethan McMahon to New York and Baltimore, and Jason Duley to San Francisco. We’ll have other NASA representatives attending local events: Jenn Gustetic in Australia, Lawrence Friedl in Kansas City, Jason Kessler in Baltimore, Henry Throop in Cape Town, and Chris Gerty in Round Rock.
This year we have 40 new 2014 challenges in five mission categories: asteroids, Earth watch, human spaceflight, robotics, and space technology; in addition to 25 projects from 2013 that participants can continue to build upon. NASA will not own any of the solutions, nor will the team project owners. The crowd-sourced solutions are built upon Open Source licenses, so that you can leverage the work done this weekend for your own purposes – and become part of the solver community yourselves. If you choose to submit your solution through the Space Apps Challenge weekend, you could be a local or global winner. Members of the global winning teams will be invited to attend the launch of a Space X Space Station resupply mission in the fall.
I expect our Space Apps social media traffic to be on fire all through the weekend, so check back regularly to keep up with the action. You can also go to the news section of the website for the latest stories from all the local hosts.
If you’re in the Toronto area, come see us in person. We’d love to create space apps with you this weekend!
Open Innovation Program Manager