A couple weeks ago Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Bill Kraus, Raymond Xie and I participated in the Asteroid Hackathon hosted by @EchoUser. The main focus was “to engage astronomers, other space nerds, and the general public, with information, not just data.”
As you might already know, we here at the AppsLab, are big fans of Hackathons as well as ShipIt days or FedEx days. The ability to get together, get our collective minds together and being able to create something in a short amount of time is truly amazing. It also helps to keep us on our toes, technically and creatively.
Our team built what we called “The Daily Asteroid.” The idea behind our project was to highlight the asteroid profile of the current date’s closed approach to Earth or near Earth object (NEO) data. What this means is to show which asteroid is the closest to earth today. A user could “favorite” today’s asteroid and start a conversation with other users about it, using a social network like Twitter.
We also added the ability to change the asteroid properties (size, type, velocity, angle) and play a scenario to see what damage could it cause if it hit the earth. And to finish up, we created an Asteroid Hotline using Twilio (@twilio) where you can call to get the latest NEO info using your phone!
We were lucky to be awarded 3rd place or “Best Engagement,” and we had a blast doing it. Considering the small amount time we had, we came out really proud of our results.