NASA, ESA, JAXA Host Hackathon to Study COVID-19’s Environmental Effects
The measures countries have taken in response to COVID-19, ranging from large-scale lockdowns to the mass deployment of personal protective equipment, have resulted in environmental effects. To study those, NASA, ESA (European Space Agency), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will host an Earth Observation Dashboard Hackathon from June 23-29, taking advantage of powerful Earth observation tools.
During the weeklong, virtual event, participants will create teams and solve various socioeconomic and environmental challenges using data from the dashboard gathered over the duration of the pandemic. All coders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, artists, and technologists are encouraged to participate in the hackathon. Registration is now open.
Challenge topics will include air and water quality, economic, social, and agricultural impacts, greenhouse gas effects, and interconnected Earth system impacts.
The hackathon is launching a year after the agencies introduced the Earth Observing Dashboard, an interactive data resource that provides policymakers and the public with a unique tool to probe the short- and long-term impacts of pandemic-related restrictions implemented around the world.
“NASA, ESA, JAXA represent a unique and valuable human asset: Earth-observing instruments in space that we can use every day to benefit society and advance scientific knowledge about our home planet,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science. “Our three space agencies realized that if we could combine forces, we could bring a more powerful set of analytical tools to understand the environmental, social and economic impacts of the global pandemic.”
“In the face of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the three agencies created the Earth Observing Dashboard to release the joint analysis results of satellite data last June,” said Koji Terada, vice president and director general for the Space Technology Directorate I at JAXA. “We would like to welcome many proposals to solve the challenges using this website.”
“We have created a dashboard that allows us to have a time-series of critical information over different areas, and therefore compare information,” said Toni Tolker-Nielsen, director of Earth Observation Programmes at ESA. “I am particularly glad to say that this is not only a European effort, we have joined forces with global space powers NASA and JAXA and really combined our assets.”
Hackathon participants will interact with experts from NASA, ESA, and JAXA in chat channels and offer solutions to help improve the dashboard.
The Earth Observation Dashboard Hackathon is a NASA-led initiative organized in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, Mindgrub, and SecondMuse.