Space Apps Challenge Returns to Earth

Space Apps Challenge Returns to Earth

April 29-30, 2017

On April 29 and 30, our Embassy partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) and La Sapienza University’s Department of Aerospace Studies to organize Rome’s fifth edition of the NASA International Space Apps Challenge, the world’s largest hackathon.  This NASA-led 48-hour technology marathon encourages collaboration across continents and among teams to produce open-source solutions to global challenges.  This year, the global event involved 187 locations in 69 countries with a record-breaking 25,000 participants worldwide with challenges focused on Earth.  In Italy, 500 students, technologists, and scientists participated in the three Mission-sponsored locations, Rome, Naples, and, for the first time, Vicenza, with the support of the Consulate General in Milan.

Over 250 young scientists and engineers, mixed with designers, graphic artists and communicators, participated to the Rome’s edition, where 16 teams proposed their ideas to improve life on Earth working on solutions to challenges in the five areas proposed by NASA, from improving knowledge of environmental issues, to preventing natural disasters.

Among other guests, we welcomed Blake Garcia, the overall organizer of Space Apps, and Timothy Tawney, the European NASA representative, who was the keynote speaker at the opening conference.

After two days, and one night, of coding and brainstorming, the teams presented their ideas during a 5 minutes pitch presentation. The winning team, “Desperados,” presented an insightful app that combines open-source monitoring data with social media technology to predict when and where devastating flooding might occur.