NASA's App Challenge Takes to the Stars

NASA's new application-building challenge can boast one thing no other agency can top: participants aboard the International Space Station.

The space station is included in a list of locations where volunteer developers will be participating in the challenge. A presumably tongue-in-cheek note explains "transportation will not be provided."

The apps challenge scheduled for April 21 and 22 will also be held at 11 Earth-bound locations across all seven continents, including at the McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica.

The challenge is actually seven smaller challenges mostly structured around building software, hardware or a data visualization that makes space-generated or space-related data easier for ordinary citizens and developers to access.

One more-detailed challenge is to build an application that allows random participants to estimate the circumference of Earth by aggregating local observations, a feat first performed by the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes about 2,500 years ago, according to the challenge.