Asteroid Hackathon – The Winning Team

Editorial Note: This is a guest post by friend of the ‘Lab and colleague DJ Ursal. Also be sure to check out our Hackathon entry here:

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EchoUser (@EchoUser), in partnership with SpaceGAMBIT, Maui Makers, the Minor Planet Center, NASA, the SETI Institute, and Further by Design, hosted an Asteroid Hackathon. The event was in response to the NASA Grand Challenge, “focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them.”

I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in the Asteriod Hackathon last week. MY team name was NOVA. Our team comprised for 4 team members – DJ Ursal, Kris Robison, Daniel Schwartz, Raj Krishnamurthy

We were given live data from NASA and Minor Planet site and literally just had 5 hours to put together a working prototype and solution to the Asteroid big data problem.  We created a web application (works not only on your MAC or PC but also on your iPad and your latest Nexus 7 Android devices) which would help scientists, astronomers and anyone who is interested in Asteriods discover, learn and share information in a fun and interactive way.

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Our main them was Finding Asteroids Before They Find Us. The goal was to help discover, learn and share Asteroids information to increase awareness within the community.  We created an interactive web app that allowed users to make use of chart filters to find out about the risk for possibilities of future impact with Earth. Find out about the distance of the asteroids to Earth, absolute brightness and rotation of the Asteroid. It allowed users to click and drag on any chart to filter, so that they could transform the filters in multidimensional  way in order to explorer, discover , interesting facts and share data on asteroids with riends and community. We made use of Major Tom who  is an astronaut referenced in David Bowie’s songs “Space Oddity. “Space Oddity” depicts an astronaut who casually slips the bonds of the world to journey beyond the stars. Users could post questions to Major Tom and could also play his song.

The single most important element about WINNING this hackathon  strategically was  team composition. Having a team that is effective working together. Collaboration and communication skills were the two of most critical personal skills demanded of all members as time was limited and communication and coordination of utmost importance.

Winning TEAM NOVA- DJ Ursal, Kris Robison, Daniel Schwartz, Raj Krishnamurthy

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