Be an Asteroid Hunter in NASA’s First Asteroid Grand Challenge Contest Series

NASA’s Asteroid Data Hunter contest series will offer $35,000 in awards over the next six months to citizen scientists who develop improved algorithms that can be used to identify asteroids.

This contest series is being conducted in partnership with Planetary Resources Inc. of Bellevue, Wash. The first contest in the series will kick off on March 17. Prior to the kick off, competitors can create an account on the contest series website and learn more about the rules and different phases of the contest series by going to: http://bit.ly/AsteroidHunters

Managed by the NASA Tournament Lab, the entire contest series runs through August and is the first contest series contributing to the agency’s Asteroid Grand Challenge.

“For the past three years, NASA has been learning and advancing the ability to leverage distributed algorithm and coding skills through the NASA Tournament Lab to solve tough problems,” said Jason Crusan, NASA Tournament Lab director. “We are now applying our experience with algorithm contests to helping protect the planet from asteroid threats through image analysis.”

The Asteroid Data Hunter contest series challenges participants to develop significantly improved algorithms to identify asteroids in images captured by ground-based telescopes. The winning solution must increase the detection sensitivity, minimize the number of false positives, ignore imperfections in the data, and run effectively on all computer systems.

“Protecting the planet from the threat of asteroid impact means first knowing where they are,” said Jenn Gustetic, Prizes and Challenges Program executive. “By opening up the search for asteroids, we are harnessing the potential of innovators and makers and citizen scientists everywhere to help solve this global challenge.”

This artist's concept shows a broken-up asteroid. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist’s concept shows a broken-up asteroid. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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