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Mass collaboration at NASA

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Mass collaboration at NASA

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Space agency NASA have recently completed their latest collaborative hackathon.  It marked the largest hackathon  ever held, with over 9,000 people and 484 organisations from around the world coming together both online and offline to tackle a series of challenges.

The event saw a total of 58 challenges  tackled, in areas such as 3D printing and virtual exploration of the moon and Mars.  The collective results were indeed impressive, with participants submitting over 750 solutions  to the challenges on offer.

Here are some stats from the event

  • 8200 participants (as of 17:00 GMT on Friday 19 April 2013)
  • 83 consecutive hours of hacking
  • 333 partner organizations (including 5 international space agencies and 8 US government agencies)
  • 11 locations hosted by the US State Department
  • 83 cities (16 repeats from last year) in 44 countries on all 7 continents
  • 11 “sold out” locations (Adelaide, Bangalore, Bogota, Guatemala City, London, Monterrey, Recife, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Marta, Santiago and Toronto)
  • 52 challenges (25 from NASA)
  • 5 videos produced + 1 science rap
  • 6 Google hangouts scheduled
  • 4 live Astronauts + 1 via video
  • 100+ press mentions
  • Northernmost location: Tampere, Finland 
  • Southernmost location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Highest altitude location: Kathmandu, Nepal 
  • Largest location (by participants): Santiago, Chile

Inviting outsiders into the innovation process is not a new thing, and only this month we've seen GE open up their patents to innovators around the world.  It does however represent a pleasing development to see NASA join ARPA in utilising the massive enthusiasm amongst the public to get involved in the issues under the NASA remit.


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