About the Project

NASA has recorded over 100 terabytes of space images, telemetry, models and just about everything one can imagine from all the planetary missions from the past 30 years. The data stored is within NASA’s planetary data system (PDS).  And it’s all available free at http://pds.nasa.gov

But, while rich in depth and breath, the PDS databases have developed in a disparate fashion over the years with different architectures and formats for different scientific needs; thereby making acquisition of data problematic!

So, NASA is holding a series of Challenges to generate some simply awesome ideas for mobile or web based applications that will appeal to general users, to search and display compelling facts about the data.  Instead of just scientists, our audience will be the millions of school age students, their teachers and parents, game designers and general civilians of the world.  We want to deliver this incredible data to users in a way that excites them – and thus, to help them understand the value and potential of this data.

To select winning submissions, NASA has organized a top-notch review board of educators, scientists, administrators and an astronaut!

First place prizes are up to $10,000, plus the added bonus of being crowned Space Coder of the Galaxy 2012!  And one talented high school winner will receive a special VIP invitation from NASA – see below!

PDS Challenge Contests

Idea Generation – Mashup Challenge

Date: March 2, 2012 - March 25, 2012
First Prize: $500

Propose ideas for great mobile and web based applications that will attract new users to this valuable data!  We think ideas should leverage the capability to compare one space body to another, but you are not required to agree. Your idea should be more visual than text, and should be a joy to use. See the contest for more detail.

Idea Generation – NoNameSite High School Challenge

Date: April 6, 2012 - April 30, 2012
First Prize: $500

This contest is hosted on NoNameSite.com and is offered to our 13 to 18 year old NNS members!  In this contest our NoNameSite.com community is presented with the challenge of figuring out and suggesting ideas for how to take Space data to the masses in interesting, compelling, and cool ways.  Click here to read more on the NoNameSite.com website.

PDS Development Mashup #1 – Visualizing Comparisons

Date: April 16 2012
First Prize: $5,000

We provide an API.  We provide a bunch of winning ideas.  You provide the application.  In this contest, competitors can either interpret, elaborate on and implement one of the ideas “fed” into the contest – or, synthesize something entirely new.  Everything is on the table so bring great ideas and great skill!  As with all contests in this series, “joy of use” is the leading review metric!

PDS High School Development Mashup!

Date: May 17, 2012
First Prize: $7,000... and a VIP trip to JPL!

Hosted on NoNameSite.com, this contest is offered to our 13 to 18 year old members of NNS.  As with the Mashup challenge on TopCoder, the winning ideas from the NNS HS Idea Challenge are provided to competitors who wish to try their hand at developing the ultimate app.  Once again competitors can select ideas from the field or develop their own, and the application that both showcases the power of the data and brings the most joy to the users wins.  And one more thing: the winner of this contest will be invited to witness the Mars Science Laboratory rocket itself to the Mars surface.  In person, at the Jet Propulsion Lab, with a friend.  And will still win cash.


For more detail, please view the contest page at NoNameSite.com!

PDS Development Mashup #2 – Teacher Teacher

Date: May 17, 2012
First Prize: $7,000

This contest is an open challenge to Teachers (though any TopCoder member can participate).  This contest asks competitors to develop and submit fabulous apps for leveraging the PDS data in an educational setting.  Applications should explore one or more concepts aligned with the Common Core standards.  Winning applications should teach teachers, students, or both.


For more detail, please see the contest listing!