Get Regular Updates!
Search

Space

image|

DIY Mars

To space and beyond!

To space and beyond!

Western Australia has a secret. We’re quietly becoming a space powerhouse.

To space and beyond!

Exciting things have been happening in the space sector in WA. A showcase of this talent was seen on the 2018 Perth leg of the global NASA Space Apps Challenge.

NASA Space Apps Challenge

2018’s challenge saw seven teams compete for two spots to represent Perth in the global competition, which was judged by NASA. The challenge runs hackathon-style, meaning that teams have just 48 hours to create a prototype of a brand new idea.

Each year, NASA issues specific challenges, and the teams create their prototypes around them. Despite the name NASA Space Apps Challenge, the challenges have actually grown far beyond just apps.

Last year, for example, there were 20 challenges, which ranged from building a tool to track rocket launch information to making a game from Hubble Space Telescope images to creating VR simulations of the Moon and Mars using NASA 3D models.

As Tamryn Barker, Co-Founder and CEO of CORE, shares with me, “NASA scopes and presents the Space Apps challenges—all are informed by actual missions. The breadth and complexity of the challenges makes it both tough and exciting for participants.”

Image|

DIY Mars

Teams in the NASA Space Apps Challenge have just 48 hours to create a prototype of a brand new idea

Teams in the NASA Space Apps Challenge have just 48 hours to create a prototype of a brand new idea

She adds, “I love seeing how participants work through selecting a challenge, based on areas they are interested in (protecting the environment, pushing the boundaries of engineering, connecting humans to space) and where they think they can have an impact in a weekend.”

From the CORE to space

Along with Space Hub Perth and Unearthed, the challenge was again hosted by CORE Innovation Hub, which is Australia’s first collaboration and innovation hub for the resource sector.

While not immediately obvious, WA’s resource sector has been interested and supportive in space because of its existing capacity in stuff needed for space. This includes robots, autonomous vehicles and remote asset management.

Tamryn tells me that CORE’s mission is “to support the resources and energy sector and power the enterprises of the future, [so] we see it as a natural extension to help inspire the next generation of space entrepreneurs”.

CORE has been involved with the Space Apps challenge since the first Perth event in 2016, explains Tamryn.

“Space Apps was launched by NASA in 2012 and we thought it was important for Perth to be represented in this inspiring, global community”

Now that CORE is set up with a space in the CBD, they’ve been able to be the physical host for the Space Apps challenge for the past 2 years as well.

And the winner is…

The two winners of the 2018 challenge in Perth (which I had the great honour of being a judge for) were EarthARium and DIY Mars, both of which were on trend using VR/AR solutions. EarthARium uses augmented reality to present NASA’s Earth datasets and images in an engaging way in the classroom.

Video|Supergiant Scuti
EarthARium uses AR to present NASA datasets in engaging ways in the classroom

DIY Mars uses virtual reality to allow NASA to test current and upcoming missions by engaging the public in VR Mars exploration. How do they do this? In the same way the games industry uses playtesting to get feedback from the public on games in development, DIY Mars lets real humans test simulated missions in virtual reality.

I asked DIY Mars team member Tabea Rettelbach where her team’s idea came from. Originally, they wanted to use artificial intelligence (AI) to create a model of what Mars would look like once colonised by humans. But, she told me, “[it] quickly evolved into us being excited about creating a VR environment of Mars, which incidentally was one of the proposed challenges by NASA”.

Video|DIY Mars
DIY Mars uses VR to test current and upcoming missions to the red planet

Diversity FTW

I asked Jiaranai Keatnuxsuo, also from team DIY Mars, what her biggest takeaway was. “No innovation without diversity and inclusion,” she said—a nod to the high level of diversity in the teams at this year’s challenge and the innovative solutions that came out of it. As a woman in tech, it always makes me really happy to see so many women, people of colour and people from diverse educational backgrounds at events and hackathons.

The next challenge?

For those thinking about throwing their hats in the ring for the 2019 challenge, Jiaranai had this to say. “[My experience was] super fun, stressed and emotional. Lots of coffee, lots of tears, lots of screaming. It was so indescribable in words, only experience it in person.”

Would she do it again? “Yes!”

We love science puns VIDEO

Republish

Creative Commons Logo

Republishing our content

We want our stories to be shared and seen by as many people as possible.

Therefore, unless it says otherwise, copyright on the stories on Particle belongs to Scitech and they are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This allows you to republish our articles online or in print for free. You just need to credit us and link to us, and you can’t edit our material or sell it separately.

Using the ‘republish’ button on our website is the easiest way to meet our guidelines.

Guidelines

You cannot edit the article.

When republishing, you have to credit our authors, ideally in the byline. You have to credit Particle with a link back to the original publication on Particle.

If you’re republishing online, you must use our pageview counter, link to us and include links from our story. Our page view counter is a small pixel-ping (invisible to the eye) that allows us to know when our content is republished. It’s a condition of our guidelines that you include our counter. If you use the ‘republish’ then you’ll capture our page counter.

If you’re republishing in print, please email us to let us so we know about it (we get very proud to see our work republished) and you must include the Particle logo next to the credits. Download logo here.

If you wish to republish all our stories, please contact us directly to discuss this opportunity.

Images

Most of the images used on Particle are copyright of the photographer who made them.

It is your responsibility to confirm that you’re licensed to republish images in our articles.

Video

All Particle videos can be accessed through YouTube under the Standard YouTube Licence.

The Standard YouTube licence

  1. This licence is ‘All Rights Reserved’, granting provisions for YouTube to display the content, and YouTube’s visitors to stream the content. This means that the content may be streamed from YouTube but specifically forbids downloading, adaptation, and redistribution, except where otherwise licensed. When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can check this by clicking on Advanced Settings and looking at the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’.
  2. When a user is uploading a video he has license options that he can choose from. The first option is “standard YouTube License” which means that you grant the broadcasting rights to YouTube. This essentially means that your video can only be accessed from YouTube for watching purpose and cannot be reproduced or distributed in any other form without your consent.

Contact

For more information about using our content, email us: particle@scitech.org.au

Copy this HTML into your CMS
Press Ctrl+C to copy

We've got chemistry. Want something physical?