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NASA launch new crowdsourcing hub

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NASA launch new crowdsourcing hub

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NASA have undoubtedly been one of the more enthusiastic adopters of the various means by which an organization can tap into the crowd for insights and ideas.  For instance, their CosmoQuest website sees the public join with professionals to try and spot craters on the moon from amongst photos taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

They have returned to the citizen science arena with a new project to help them with future missions to Mars.  The Mars Balance Mass Challenge is an open innovation challenge that is seeking ideas for small science and technology payloads that could also act as balance masses for any spacecraft entering the Martian atmosphere.

The objects will therefore serve both scientific roles in helping NASA learn more about Mars itself, whilst also acting as ballast for the planetary lander itself.

Entry into the competition is open until the 21st November, with the winner due to be announced in January 2015, at which time they will be awarded the $20,000 first prize.

“We want people to get involved in our journey to Mars,” NASA said. “This challenge is a creative way to bring innovative ideas into our planning process, and perhaps help NASA find another way to pack more science and technology into a mission.”

The launch of NASA Solve

Alongside the launch of the Mars Balance Mass Challenge was a new website conceived by the space agency.  The site, called NASA Solve, will act as the hub for all open innovation challenges offered by the agency.

“NASA is committed to engaging the public, and specifically the maker community through innovative activities like the Mars Balance Mass Challenge,” said NASA Chief Technologist David Miller. “And NASA Solve is a great way for members of the public, makers and other citizen scientists to see all NASA challenges and prizes in one location.”

With them being quite such an enthusiastic adopter of open innovation, the site is sure to be a regular source of fascinating projects and challenges for any science minded individual to get involved in, whether that’s an Asteroid Grand Challenge or their 3-D printer challenge.

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