NASA Space Apps Challenge

NASA Space Apps Challenge-Lausanne

NASA Space Apps Challenge-Lausanne

Directly after coming back from Doha to Zürich, I got a quick 6hrs of sleep and took the train to Lausanne where I was a co-organizer of the NASA Space Apps Challenge sponsored by the Swiss Space Center, among others. We had over 30 people at the event, and 3 distinguished guest speakers and judges (including Dr. Prasenjit Saha from my institute, on crowd sourcing gravitational lensing measurements), and an action packed weekend.

Optimal Lunar Landing Sites

Optimal Lunar Landing Sites

The EPFL is a beautiful campus situated with a backdrop of lake and alps. As I missed half the event, due to my flight connection being delayed over 9 hours in Istanbul, I didn’t get the chance to fully participate as a hacker. However, I did get to do some consulting to one team on Xcode and iOS, and help out with the Optimal Lunar Landing Site challenge, spearheaded by the incredible brothers Krusi, who were awesome to connect with (not often you meet people at the intersection of engineering and philosophy). I tested out the code on OS X, and wrote a second order slope analyser (not surprisingly, landing on flat ground is a good thing) extending their C++  code in just minutes, which speaks to their engineering ability. Fork it on github.

My pet challenge won the local award (Silver github subscription!), and three other challenges here were nominated for the national award: http://spaceappschallenge.org/location/swiss-space-center

I’ll close with a special thanks to Oleg Lavrovsky, open data champ and hacker extraordinaire, who got me involved and was the local team lead on the organization, to the other 7 co-organizers, to all the motivated participants who took part in Lausanne and around the globe, and to NASA for spearheading the well framed event. Here’s a short video Oleg took of the event. Spot me if you can!

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/40937294]

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