One of the key elements of the Random Hacks of Kindness Sustainability Project announced earlier this year was to create a featured problem set for each RHoK event going forward that provides a series of highly curated, well-defined problems that have clear sponsors and clear paths to sustained impact. Stay on top of the latest additions for RHoK 2012 at our Featured Problem Set Page. Here we detail NASA’s two focused challenges for the RHoK community, both building off of the success of the International Space Apps Challenge.
The Problem: We have an amazing amount of crew imagery coming down daily from the International Space Station – time lapse images, star trails views, and spectacular photos that give citizens of Earth an unparalleled perspective of their home planet. Astronaut photography is a vital resource that NASA is committed to making accessible and useful internally and externally.
Our goal is to build an immersive view from the ISS in any direction, nadir, limb-ward and star-ward, as the views are available. We want to create a mechanism to allow organizing/tagging/crowdsourcing of information that would improve the usability of the imagery for science and educational projects. We want to create an OpenStreetMap-type database that’s actually an “OpenStarMap.”
The Impact: The impact of this app is limited only by your imagination. You are providing everyone an opportunity to see and engage with our home planet with a perspective so far only available to a few hundred human beings. Who knows how the orbital perspective could shape life for the rest of us?
After RHoK: The Human Exploration Science Office is committed to these goals and the accessibility of these images. Apps that meet the requirements in a clean and easy-to-use way have a likelihood of adoption in NASA’s citizen science/open data efforts.
Learn more about the project specifics here.
The Problem: This challenge is a chance to be a part of kick-starting the public’s access to space – and using open source COTS technology to do so. PhoneSat is a low-cost Cubesat using a Google Nexus Smartphone running the open source Android platform as the main processor. Our challenge for you is to create an Android App that utilizes PhoneSat’s capabilities.
The App that you create should be designed to run during a dedicated mission phase lasting approximately one 90 minute orbital period; you could choose to use any portion or all of this time. During this phase you would have access to all of the phone sensors: magnetometer, gyroscope, and accelerometer in addition to the PhoneSat sensors and controls: thermometer, reaction wheels, magnetorquer boards, and solar panel current.
There are unique challenges to developing apps and receiving data in a microgravity environment. These conditions will alter the performance of PhoneSat’s sensors. Half of your testing orbit will be in eclipse, which will be responsible for a thermal cycle. Atmospheric drag will be the primary source of attitude disturbance. The Earth’s magnetic field at the orbit altitude would have a similar magnitude to that at sea level. Finally, the satellite may be tumbling with the determination of an approximate attitude.
Are you up for the challenge?
The Impact: These apps have the potential to impact the burgeoning commercial space industry and be an early influencer in approaches to citizen science in microgravity. This is relatively unexplored territory – and you get to be a part of it.
After RHoK: The PhoneSat Project team, based at the NASA Ames Research Center, is committed to engaging citizens in their efforts to test and fly these apps in space. Apps that meet the requirements in a creative and effective way are likely to have an opportunity to fly in space in the near future. More info on the plans for the project are found here: http://open.nasa.gov/plan/phonesat/
Interested in joining us for next weekend’s RHoK events? Sign up here to participate at an event near you.
Interested in interning for RHoK? Learn more here.