“The world needs your ideas“: this is how the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration launches its global call for entries to the NASA International Space Apps Challenge 2023, the planet’s largest annual hackathon dedicated to space and science. Italian fans of the exploration of the cosmos and the new opportunities generated by the Space Economy will be able to take up the challenge live in Turin: in early October I3P, the Innovative Companies Incubator of Politecnico di Torino, will host the 7th edition of the local event in the Piedmontese capital, in collaboration with ESA BIC Turin, the incubation program for entrepreneurial ventures in the space industry.
The international event will take place in every single global location over two days, from Saturday 7th to Sunday 8th October 2023, with free participation. The hackathon is based on collaborative solving of challenges, with the aim of producing open source solutions in response to the actual challenges mankind is currently facing on Earth and in space. The previous edition of NASA International Space Apps Challenge – Space Apps for short – was attended by more than 31,500 participants from 320 cities in over 160 countries around the world, who produced more than 3,000 projects in response to challenges set by the Washington-based space agency. The theme for 2023 will be “Explore Open Science Together”: an invitation to experience the possibilities and potential of open science, i.e. the cooperative approach aimed at access to scientific knowledge by all, without barriers.
In Turin, Space Apps 2023 will be held in presence at the I3P incubator, located in the Campus of Politecnico di Torino, starting at 14:00 CEST on Saturday 7th October, with the reception of participants and the composition or confirmation of the teams taking part in the hackathon. After the introduction and explanation of the rules, the competition will begin at 16:00 and will continue for the next 24 hours, without interruption – the incubator will also remain open during the night – and with meals offered on site to allow maximum time to work on the project, which must be delivered by 16:00 on Sunday 8th October. At that point, the pitching phase will begin for the teams, as they will have to present their work in just a few minutes to all those present, including the judging panel, thus competing for the available prizes, both at local level – the Local Awards offered by I3P’s partner sponsors – and at international level (Global Awards). The hackathon will then conclude at the end of the afternoon with the awards ceremony for the projects judged to be the brightest and most promising, which may one day go on to become start-ups.
Teamwork and complementary skills will be indispensable to tackle one’s favourite challenge. NASA has already made more than 30 challenges public on the initiative’s official website, and their topics offer a wide variety of choices: from creating apps for geological research to educational games about landing on remote planets, from the innovative use of open space data to new methods of explaining eclipse mechanics, to using databases for biological research outside the Earth’s atmosphere and devising interplanetary travel solutions in a future space tourist office. The challenges are open to contributions from everyone: engineers, programmers and technical experts as well as designers, storytellers and ordinary space enthusiasts. To participate in person in the Turin hackathon, it is necessary to register on its dedicated webpage, after logging in on the Space Apps website with a personal profile.
The Turin local event of Space Apps 2023 is organised by the I3P business incubator, which since 1999 supports the birth and development of innovative start-ups with high technological intensity and growth potential, in collaboration with the incubation program ESA BIC Turin, founded in 2021 to stimulate the development of new innovative space-based companies. The Italian Space Agency (ASI) is a partner in the initiative at a global level, as are the European Space Agency (ESA) and other of the world’s leading space agencies, while at a local level the Turin hackathon will be able to count on sponsors, mentors and jurors from the aerospace industry, innovative start-ups and SMEs, public bodies and associations that foster the growth of the Italian space sector.
“We are honoured to host a new edition of the world’s largest annual hackathon and to be part of this important international initiative,” said Giuseppe Scellato, President of I3P and Coordinator of ESA BIC Turin, “both because the event represents a unique opportunity for experimentation and potential innovation for space enthusiasts, university students and aspiring startuppers, and because the initiative is fully in line with our daily activities of supporting new technology-based entrepreneurship. Projects born out of inventiveness and the desire to create something new can evolve and go a long way, especially when they respond to the very real challenges humanity faces today on its journey into the depths, and possibilities, of space.“