To boldy code... IBM builds 'space apps' with NASA

IBM is offering its Bluemix platform up for the NASA Space App Challenge virtual event to help developers build applications that contribute to space exploration.

Bluemix is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) — it is an implementation of IBM’s Open Cloud Architecture (OCA), based on the Cloud Foundry open PaaS project for cloud-centric software application development — it taps into an ecosystem of other services and runtime frameworks.

The NASA Space App Challenge virtual event is a two day ‘hackathon’ for scientists, educators, artists, students and software application developers.

IBM will offer mentorship, guidance and tutorials for challenge participants; the firm says it will grant free access to over a hundred cloud-based services such as Watson analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) tools through Bluemix.


The NASA Space Apps Challenge exists to build applications, software, hardware, data visualisation and platform solutions to bolster space exploration missions and improve life on Earth.

This year, more than 10,000 developers are expected to participate across 136 cities and online through the virtual challenge.

Some examples of specific challenges include:

• Visualising Asteroids in the Sky: Participants are challenged to leverage data aggregators and analytics to create a system that can help NASA tracks asteroids.

• Sensor Yourself: Participants are challenged to put together a stream of senor data to guide movement for robots.

• Crop Alert – Learning from the Growers: Participants are challenged to develop a mobile/web app/SMS capability to help growers create more creative methods of growing crops.