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NASA’s grand challenge : Crowdsourcing ideas to save the planet from asteroids

We have learned in the last 20 years about how life evolved on planet earth and how dinosaurs became extinct. The recent meteor strike in Russia was not that catastrophic but still a wake-up call on what could happen again if a large object from space struck our planet. Beyond the usual doomsday stories, there is also hope that we can use technology to overcome this – and millions have already been invested in this research.

NASA’s grand challenge Announcement:

NASA’s grand challenge announcement adds a new dimension to finding technological solutions – the use of crowdsourcing to drive innovation. NASA is going to leverage the collective intelligence from its partner organizations, companies, universities, research institutions and even individuals to come up with an innovative solution. Crowdsourcing has been used in the past to analyze large data sets in astronomy.

NASA is using the crowdsourcing approach to source technology ideas to help detect and characterize asteroids, and learning how to deal with potential threats. This will be through public engagement, open innovation, and citizen science.

The expectation is that there are new ideas, technologies, and approaches that come from the crowd and are an effective way to handle this threat. NASA can spearhead the effort and help co-create an execution plan with the various technology contributors. It is also a cultural change for the departments at the space agency working in traditional organizational structures. A learning curve and a new experience as they start to work across the agency’s departments and external partners in this new model.

Put on your thinking hats, science kits and meteorite samples, maybe moon dust and contribute to NASA’s grand challenge on how to save planet earth from asteroids!

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