NASA to Host Virtual Hackathon on COVID-19 Challenges

Leonel Calara/

The space agency and its partners will host a two-day hackathon on May 30-31.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to governments the world over, and humanity’s response is itself having an impact on the planet.

While NASA and its partner space agencies—the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency—have been examining planetary observation data to determine global and local interplay of the Earth system, and now the agencies are calling on the public to assist.

NASA and its partners scheduled the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge for May 30-31 to seek input and solutions from technologists, scientists, computer programmers and a slew of other experts. The international hackathon specifically invites coders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, artists and technologists to participate, with registration set to open in mid-May.

“There’s a tremendous need for our collective ingenuity right now,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement Thursday. “I can’t imagine a more worthy focus than COVID-19 on which to direct the energy and enthusiasm from around the world with the Space Apps Challenge that always generates such amazing solutions.”

Virtual participants will team to use Earth observation data to propose solutions to challenges posed by coronavirus and the impact the disease is having on the planet.

Space Apps is a NASA-led initiative organized in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, Mindgrub and SecondMuse. The COVID-19 Challenge will be the program’s first global virtual hackathon.