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NASA invites YOU to apply to be a NASA Datanaut. 

We are looking for a new cohort of 50 members to join our growing Datanaut community. 

The open application period starts today and we’ll accept applicants through December 28, 2016




What is a Datanaut?

NASA Datanauts is a year-round engagement for members from around the world to learn about how to access and use NASA’s open data, and practice data science skills. The idea was born out of NASA’s women in data initiative in 2015. Now, entering its third year, Datanauts is open to anyone interested in technology, data science, earth, and space. Our activities encourage collaboration between members, the merging of ideas, and skill-sharing.

NASA Datanauts:

  • Receive guidance on accessing and incorporating NASA data into projects;

  • Gain access to a community of like-minded problem solvers, creators, and people passionate about skill-building and sharing;

  • Engage in dialogue with experts on data science, technology, earth and space and other related fields such as, earth science, social science, gaming, media, arts, fashion; and

  • Have the opportunity to organize self-driven, collaborative projects and engage in NASA-created data projects, and potentially learn new or refine existing skills.

Who is a Datanaut?

Datanauts come from a wide range of life stages, career choices, and levels of technical expertise and include designers, developers, data scientists, students, storytellers, career transitioners, nonprofit managers, community organizers, and entrepreneurs. We believe that solutions to today’s problems require people from a variety of backgrounds, and problem-solvers need a supportive environment to grow ideas, learn and test new skills.

Where do I find out more?

The Open.NASA.gov website has more information.

We’ll begin reviewing applications immediately. If you previously applied, no need to apply again. You're automatically part of the candidate pool. If all goes as planned, we’ll announce the 2017 cohort in the first week of January.

Meet some Datanauts and what they’re working on:

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“At Datanauts I worked on a tool-kit that introduces web-scraping in Python via Scrapy. It was my first time sharing a tutorial in a virtual event, and I believe it went well. The remote environment that NASA Datanauts exhibits is built on a supportive community of open-minded scientists, and I'm glad to be a part of this. At the moment, I'm analyzing seeds from Black Rock Forest, New York and building an iOS application that checks the user's surrounding air quality. I'm looking forward to working more with geospatial intelligence and its impact on environmental policies, as well as national security." - Kaira Villanueva

Julia“About the time that I started as a NASA Datanaut, a collaborator and I began planning an online book about text mining based on a software package we built together. One of the first NASA Datanauts projects I worked on was using natural language processing and machine learning to understand NASA metadata, and it dawned on me that this type of analysis would be a perfect fit in our book, not to mention interesting for our readers! I am currently developing the analysis as one of the concluding chapters of our book where we show how to apply our code and methods to real-life, compelling data.” - Julia Silge

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“At Datanauts, I’ve been working on an Orbit Database, so taking orbital parameters as the input and amending the JSON-LD data so that eventually we can have a database of celestial objects that can be understood and interpreted by programs. Check out the code on a public repo  HERE


Probably not uncommon amongst us Datanauts, I love solving problems. This is what led me to coding, it’s the ultimate tool! Currently, I’m finishing off my Masters in Computer Science and undertaking an online program to polish my financial skills for my new role as CEO of the startup On a Roll 21.” - Simon Berman


"Sustainable community-building interventions are paramount to igniting interest, propagating the pipeline, and demonstrating diversity through a message of belonging and acceptance in STEM fields. I form partnerships (i.e., Founder of Strong TIES) to deliver STEAM events, with particular sensitivity to under-represented and under-served youth that include girls. This Fall, while leading 120 students through a workshop, I mentioned being a part of NASA Datanauts and explained how this nationwide offering is allowing data to be used in a plethora of untapped spaces, which sparked an instant connection with the audience. One girl, who was sporting a NASA T-shirt started to engage by asking questions. My own research explores online news sources use of news frames bias using the concept coined Double Subjectivity. This concept allows for improved computational tools (i.e., techniques, algorithms, and methods) for the automatic emergence of knowledge for handling the vast amounts of online unstructured narrative text." - Loretta Cheeks


“While attending virtual events and coding tutorials at Datanauts, I have been developing a polynomial set and a corresponding data analysis method that allows optical wavefronts or surfaces to be reconstructed from their measured gradient data. This will be especially useful for freeform and high spatial resolution surfaces, such as telescope mirrors; as this method allows for thousands of polynomial terms to be generated and used, even with limited computing resources.” - Maham Aftab


“My project plan for Datanauts is to create an explorable and realistic rendering of Mars where players can be the first to discover features on the Martian landscape and encounter the discoveries of their fellow explorers! I hope this will allow space enthusiasts to interact and contribute to a collaborative and useful dataset. Player's input will actually help to train each other in accurately tagging features as they navigate the terrain.” -Nadia Chilmonik

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“It was a great experience hosting (a Datanaut event) and sharing technology with people who mostly are not in the field of technology. Everyone had a lot of fun. The moment that the app linked up with the keyboard was one of the best, people's eyes lit up. I like that I was able to share with my community that space/technology is not as scary nor far away as they thought.” - Tina Lai

Curious to learn more? 


About Elyssa

Elyssa Dole is the NASA Datanaut Community Manager, and Space Apps Data Bootcamp Coordinator