The world’s largest annual hackathon dedicated to space and science returns to Turin, Italy: at the beginning of October 2022, the Innovative Companies Incubator of Politecnico di Torino (I3P) will host the local event in Piedmont’s capital city for the sixth time, this year back in presence.

The 11th edition of the international event will take place over two days on the weekend of Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October 2022, with free participation. The hackathon is based on collaborative challenge solving with the aim of producing open-source solutions in response to some of the challenges that we currently face on Earth and in space. The last global NASA International Space Apps Challenge – Space Apps for short – was attended by more than 28,000 participants from 323 locations in over 160 countries, who produced more than 2,800 projects in response to challenges set by NASA.

How does it work

Traditionally, hackathons are technology development competitions that showcase young talent in many different fields, such as software developers, engineers, designers, students, scientists and anyone with a desire to make a positive impact on the world and on scientific innovation. The Space Apps hackathon is open to all and this year it will again focus on developing real projects in response to global challenges, to be worked on as a team over the two days and presented to the local jury by the end of the event.

For each annual edition, NASA designs new challenges and the Global Organising Team collaborates with local organisers around the world, called Local Leads, to bring the events to life in different cities and thus maximise the chances of participation by enthusiasts on the territory. I3P will therefore host the Turin hackathon, in parallel with the local events in Rome and Cagliari. Joining the event and submitting a project developed during it provides the possibility of being selected not only for the Local Awards, but also as finalists in the running for the Global Awards, whose winners will be announced in January 2023.

The challenges from NASA

This year’s theme is ‘Make Space‘, which emphasises NASA’s commitment to increasing inclusiveness and highlights the focus on science, technology and the exploration of Earth and space in the hackathon as a mass collaboration event, but also refers to the motto ‘there’s always space for one more‘ by Space Apps, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

For the 2022 edition of the hackathon, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration has launched over 20 thematic challenges: their full descriptions and resources will be published on September 15. The challenges span many different topics and are open to contributions from engineers and programmers as well as from artists, designers, storytellers and space enthusiasts. Here are some examples of this year’s challenge titles:

  • Build a space biology superhero
  • Can Artificial Intelligence preserve our science legacy?
  • Earth data analysis developers wanted!
  • How does climate change affect you?
  • On the way to the sun
  • The art in our worlds

The complete list of challenges that can be met with an innovative project can be found on the official Space Apps webpage. In the FAQ on the subject, NASA specifies: “We appreciate the enthusiasm of participants who want to start as early as possible, but we ask that participants start the actual work when the hackathon begins on October 1“.

How to join the event

Everyone can take part in the event: each skill can be useful when working on a team project, regardless of age, education or professional experience. To take part in the hackathon, it is required to register on the individual location page, with a personal profile (existing or new) on the official NASA Space Apps website. After selecting the local event of preference, you will have the opportunity to form a team (recommended size: 3 to 5 people), if you already know the other people with whom you wish to work on a project; otherwise, you will be able to join the new groups that will be formed in attendance at the start of the hackathon.

The Turin edition of NASA Space Apps 2022 will start on Saturday, October 1 at 2 PM CEST and end on Sunday, October 2 at 6 PM CEST. The venue will be I3P headquarters, located in Corso Castelfidardo 30/a within the Campus of Politecnico di Torino, and in particular its Sala Agorà, the large open space at the top of the building where many startuppers contribute every day to writing the future of innovative entrepreneurship. The complete schedule of the two-day hackathon will be published in September.